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:
- NOUN parent, ancestor; creator, originator; caretaker, sustainer
- PARTICLE of
- NOUN I, me, we, us
- ADJECTIVE many, a lot, more, much, several, very
- PARTICLE hey! O! (vocative or imperative)
- NOUN you
- PREPOSITION located at, present at, real, true, existing
- NOUN area above, highest part, something elevated
ADJECTIVE awe-inspiring, divine, sacred, supernatural
- 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.