my experience of toki pona is that there is an assumption of reasonability to a given statement which context can alter Toki Pona doesn’t fix number, but when somebody says “mi pana e kili”, without more information you’d assume some reasonable volume/quantity of kili that they could hand you. To my experience, it’s more likely that somebody will offer me a whole apple than either slices or multiple apples when they say “Want some fruit?” This assumption of reasonability is critical to making toki pona usable- it’s an argument about averages, rather than a statement about possibility (which is also why I noted in my original statement that I wasn’t arguing against the essay’s premise, just observing. It’s also not a disagreement, more a note about how the presense/absence of information shapes understanding)
That said, I don’t disagree. The above has been my tested experience for the entire time I’ve spoken Toki Pona- I don’t see value in undermining this thought process just because something different is possible :sweat_smile: If something different from my assumptions/experiences occurs, context will inform that. The rest of the time, my assumptions are practical and effective- and while I haven’t much examined English in this same lens, I imagine I do the same there without thought?
Otherwise, the “lili kili” example is good as a counterpoint- I hadn’t used lili in that way before [like kipisi], so I’ll probably adopt that
Here’s a short version of this: Toki Pona words do not mark time or number, but this does not mean their use is arbitrarily large/complex. It means their use can be arbitrarily large/complex. Far more often than not, their uses aren’t in these extremes. They’re average cases with reasonably sized meanings/outcomes, because that’s the majority of what we deal with day to day.