Toki Pona Check List, Public Draft 1

Toki Pona Check List

  1. - Does it have a “li” somewhere? If not, is the subject mi or sina?
  2. - Does mi or sina have modifiers?  Check if the modifiers could be intelligble confused with verbs.
  3. - Is a question, does it have “li” (verb) anu (verb)  or an “anu seme” tag?
  4. - Do all the “pi” phrases have 2 words after it?
  5. - If you have 3 or more words in a noun phrase, does it need a “pi” to reduce ambiguity?
  6. - Do you have an “e” before the object?  (Droping accusative markers is an Anglicism)
  7. - Do you have a “tawa” before indirect objects? (Droping dative markers is an Anglicism)
  8. Are nouns first and modifiers second?
  9. Did you put a tan phrase in the la phrase? If so try to move the tan phrase to the end.

if a then b  —> a la b

wrong* because of a then b  –> tan a la b

b because a  –> b tan a

  1. - Do proper modifiers have something to modify?
  2. - Are prepositional phrases at the end?
  3. - Can you move anything to the “la” phrase to simplify the main sentence?
  4. - Do you have two direct objects? Use the e (noun) e (noun) instead of e (noun) en (noun)
  5. - Do you have two verbs? Use the li (verb) li (verb) instead of li (verb) en (verb)
  6. - Are you talking to somone? Did you forget the vocative exists? (Dropping vocatives is an Anglicism)

Sticklers Check List

  1. - Are prepositions officially propositions in the canon?
  2. - Is that verb officially transitive (i.e. can take an “e” phrase)
  3. - Is that officially a verb, noun or modifier?

Spelling Check List

  1. - Did you confuse any of the minimal pairs? ale/ali, ilo/ijo, ko/kon, meli/moli, pini/pipi, kin/ken
  2. - Did you confuse the “e” and “i”  (in naive English pronunciation, many i and e’s in toki pona are pronounced as e.  E.g. kin, “next of kin”.  Ken, mans name, “beyond my ken”)
  3. - Did you confuse any final vowels? You brain knows that the final and internal vowels are superflous in most words, so expect mispellings there.
  4. - Are antecedants obvious? If not consider repeating the head of the noun phrase.

jan Mato en soweli pi linja uta li lon ni.  mi lukin e ona.   –>  jan Mato en soweli pi linja uta li lon ni.  mi lukin e soweli.

Style Check List

  1. - Are scales intellible (phoneme -> syllable -> word –> phrase –> sentence –> paragraph) is often expressed by larger and larger “kulupu nimi” and “kulupu kalama”
  2. - It can be parsed more than one way. Are there too many plausible ways to parse the sentence? Test by translating back into English after a day.
  3. - Is the sentence long? Can you break it into with “e ni” or “la” or a new sentence?
  4. - Does the preposition require a metaphor? If a less metaphorical preposition exists, use that. E.g. prefer a phrase with “pilin” over a metaphor for “EMOTION IS A PLACE”, e.g. “mi lon pilin ike”  (I’m *in* a bad mood)
  5. - Is a noun pair using synecdoche (part means whole) or metonymy (whole means part)?   Can you be less clever and refer to what you mean?
  6. - Is a noun phrase a convention or adapted to the current context?  a “friend list” on facebook can be translated with “jan pona” (good folk) or more descriptively “lipu mute pi jan mute” (pages of people)
  7. - Are you using eponyms? Can you use root words instead. Favor “telo pi lape ala” over “telo Sutobaku”
  8. - Would pronoun modifiers clarify anything?  If you do use pronoun modifiers are you introducing PIE-isms? (i.e. “mi li kute e sina mute” to mean, “I hear you, Sir” is a PIE-ism)
  9. - Would adverbs clarify anything?  Adverbs will make the verb phrase longer or end up in the “la” phrase.  Adverbs in the verb phrase can be confused with auxillary verbs.

One thought on “Toki Pona Check List, Public Draft 1

  1. Excellent TP checklist. This will come in very handy for me to use before I post my TP translations. I find your TP posting on your blog, to be very helpful. Hopefully jan Sonja will deliver the TP text book in 2010 !