Toki Pona Check List
- - Does it have a “li” somewhere? If not, is the subject mi or sina?
- - Does mi or sina have modifiers? Check if the modifiers could be intelligble confused with verbs.
- - Is a question, does it have “li” (verb) anu (verb) or an “anu seme” tag?
- - Do all the “pi” phrases have 2 words after it?
- - If you have 3 or more words in a noun phrase, does it need a “pi” to reduce ambiguity?
- - Do you have an “e” before the object? (Droping accusative markers is an Anglicism)
- - Do you have a “tawa” before indirect objects? (Droping dative markers is an Anglicism)
- Are nouns first and modifiers second?
- 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
- - Do proper modifiers have something to modify?
- - Are prepositional phrases at the end?
- - Can you move anything to the “la” phrase to simplify the main sentence?
- - Do you have two direct objects? Use the e (noun) e (noun) instead of e (noun) en (noun)
- - Do you have two verbs? Use the li (verb) li (verb) instead of li (verb) en (verb)
- - Are you talking to somone? Did you forget the vocative exists? (Dropping vocatives is an Anglicism)
Sticklers Check List
- - Are prepositions officially propositions in the canon?
- - Is that verb officially transitive (i.e. can take an “e” phrase)
- - Is that officially a verb, noun or modifier?
Spelling Check List
- - Did you confuse any of the minimal pairs? ale/ali, ilo/ijo, ko/kon, meli/moli, pini/pipi, kin/ken
- - 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”)
- - Did you confuse any final vowels? You brain knows that the final and internal vowels are superflous in most words, so expect mispellings there.
- - 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
- - Are scales intellible (phoneme -> syllable -> word –> phrase –> sentence –> paragraph) is often expressed by larger and larger “kulupu nimi” and “kulupu kalama”
- - 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.
- - Is the sentence long? Can you break it into with “e ni” or “la” or a new sentence?
- - 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)
- - 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?
- - 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)
- - Are you using eponyms? Can you use root words instead. Favor “telo pi lape ala” over “telo Sutobaku”
- - 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)
- - 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.