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Toki Pona/Morphological typology

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Morphological TypologyEdit

toki pona is an isolation language. The morphological processes are limited to possible clitics. No content words inflect.

"A bound morpheme is a morpheme that must be attached to some other morpheme to be integrated naturally into a discourse." 1997 Payne

Bound MorphemesEdit

The following words cannot stand alone. pi - a variety of meanings, including "of", "has", or a logical grouping operator. e - accusative clitic li - verb phrase marker lon, sama, kepeken, tan, tawa, poka -- These are the prepositions.

"A clitic is bound morpheme that functions at a phrasal or clausal level, but which binds phonologically to some other word, known as the host." 1997 Payne

More bound cliticsEdit

The particles pi, e and the prepositions are clitics that consistently have the same host. The pi always precedes a noun and no other word can go between the pi and the noun without changing the sense of the phrase. This is also true for prepositions. The pi and propositions apply to the entire following phrase.

How bound is pi? One test is to examine how pi reacts to conjunctions.

mi lukin e soweli pi ma Sonka

I saw the Chinese animals.

? mi lukin e soweli pi telo en ma. ? mi lukin e soweli pi ma en telo. I saw the animal of the land and sea.

The specs to date do not make it clear if conjuncted modifiers or pi-complements are legal.

How bound is e? en doesn't move e from its head noun, but anu does. mi lukin e soweli anu waso. mi lukin e waso anu soweli.

Less bound clitics- Grammatical ParticlesEdit

Auxiliary or serial verbs may go between li and the head verb. li marks the beginning of a verb phrase that continues until the e or first preposition.

Depending on how you parse the phrases with compound prepositions (lon + geographic word), lon can be split from its head noun.

soweli li lape anpa supa. The dog sleeps under the bed.

Periphrasal PatternsEdit

Because toki pona is strongly isolating, the equivalent of derivational operations do not involve binding morphemes. This doesn't mean that these processes don't exist, but instead they are clausal or discourse level operations.

There isn't any bound infixation, but at the phrasal level, plural markers can be inserted in the middle of the phrase.

tomo pi telo nasa tomo mute pi telo nasa bar/bars

jan pona jan pona mute ? jan mute pona friend/friends

Stems or base words are never modified. Reduplication has no special meaning.

Head/Dependent MarkingEdit

It isn't clear if the head or the dependents are being marked.

lipu jan The man's book.

lipu mute jan The man's book.

lipu mute pi jan mute The people's book.