Toki Pona: Double subjects, verbs and objects and preps

If you double all the parts of a sentence, you get something like this:

C1 la C2 la S1 en S2 li V1 li  V2 e O1 e O2 Prep NP1 Prep NP2.

With great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, we lack  co-ordinating machinery to co-ordinate this interleaved sentence except in a few cases.  Worse, by the time you realize that your interleaved sentence looks wrong, it’s too late.

C1 la C2 la is roughly additive adverbs that apply to all verbs.

S1 en S2 are subjects that did both action.

e O1 e O2 were the target of both actions.

NP1 Prep NP2 modifies the entire sentence.

If V1 is instansitive and V2 is transitive, both objects go with the transitive verbs.

If both verbs are transitive, check to see if co-ordination can be done semantically.  If not, you’ll need to split the sentence.

mi en sina li jo li moku e ilo moku e moku linja pan.  You and held a fork and ate spaghetti.

Like most toki pona sentences, the above has many nonsense readings, which can be safely ignored.

Some prepositions don’t make sense with certain verbs.  Preps resolve to the verbs they go with, and no the others.  If a prepositional phrase could go with either, consider using multiple sentences.

Sequential Interleaving.

mi li pali li moku li lape e pali mi e moku mi.  I did my work, ate my dinner and slept.

Again, this has a nonsense alternative of “I worked and ate and slept my work and food.”, which we can safely ignore.

Mixing predicates and SVO sentences

Predicative sentences and SVO sentences probably shouldn’t be mixed unless you double check for plausible ambiguities.

mi li suli.

mi li suli li pali e sijelo sama.  ? I am big and I work out./I increase the size of and work out my body.

? mi lon tomo mi li lape.
? I’m in my room, sleeping.

Mixing predicate and SVO sentences is outside of what wikipedia says we can do with toki pona, but I suspect people will do it anyhow.

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