The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Friday, November 01, 2019

The 5,000 translations of “mama pi me mute”

I found a much better dictionary for Toki Pona than the one I was using. This dictionary even includes the parts of speech, which could prove useful if I decide to generate a grammatically correct novel of 50,000 Toki Pona words for National Novel Generation Month.

As I was wrangling the new dictionary into a machine-usable format, it struck me that I could just generate a series of translations of the Lord's Prayer (since I have a copy of it in Toki Pona) by using the different meanings of each word. For example, the first word in the prayer, mama, has the following meanings:

Since my initial translation was quite limited. I set about just translating the opening line, “mama pi mi mute o, sina lon sewi kon” using the new dictionary, and got the following:

mama
NOUN parent, ancestor; creator, originator; caretaker, sustainer
pi
PARTICLE of
mi
NOUN I, me, we, us
mute
ADJECTIVE many, a lot, more, much, several, very
NOUN quantity
o
PARTICLE hey! O! (vocative or imperative)
sina
NOUN you
lon
PREPOSITION located at, present at, real, true, existing
sewi
NOUN area above, highest part, something elevated
ADJECTIVE awe-inspiring, divine, sacred, supernatural
kon
NOUN air, breath; essence, spirit; hidden reality, unseen agent

A more “literary” literal translation would probably be “Creator of we many, O! You existing divine air.” Or as a form of poetic English, ”Creator of us, residing in the divine air.” Pretty cool stuff. And as it turns out, there're enough variations in just the opening line to create enough translations to fulfill the 50,000 word requirement. I could certainly stop here and claim success, but I may just end up playing around with this a bit more.

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