jan Kekan San

jan Kekan San

Tricks with la

This is a bunch of focused mini lessons, helpful ways to use and think about la! Check out the main la lesson too!

Table of Contents

Comparisons with la

Back in the prepositions lesson, we learned several ways to make comparisons using tawa and sama! la, especially with a phrase, gives us a few more useful comparisons!

tomo la tomo ni li lili

This house is small compared to other houses.

In the context of buildings, this building is tiny.

To other rooms, this room is too little!

Here's a restatement that uses tawa:

tomo ni li lili tawa tomo ante

With this restatement, it helps to include the modifier ante for clarity. That modifier can help the original too!

This works very similarly to tawa, too. Check under the spoiler!

Many comparisons with la boil down to working like tawa. You can find more examples of that here!

I also have a video lesson dedicated to comparisons! It's on the older side, before I fancied up my process, editing, and avatar, but the knowledge is just as good!

Breaking up your sentences

Remember this long example from the main lesson?

jan li alasa e kiwen wawa lon tenpo suno ale la ona li pakala e ilo mute li kama wile pali ala

You can restate this long sentence as two shorter ones, too:

jan li alasa e kiwen wawa lon tenpo suno ale. ni la ona li pakala e ilo mute li kama wile pali ala

The trick here is that it's almost the same- the sentence that was originally before la now ends where la was. Then the second sentence begins with "ni la", connecting the previous sentence to this new one! This makes the same relationship between the two sentences.

Avoiding a 2nd pi

Remember way back in the modifiers lesson when we learned about pi and using only one at a time? If you've been practicing since then, you might have noticed that two pi phrases can be hard to avoid sometimes. But la can help!

Take the following sentence for example:

pali lipu pi jan pi pana sona li wawa

The work of the teacher's book is amazing!

This is grammatical, but it's a bit messy with two pi phrases! What if we put jan pi pana sona into context, instead of the main sentence?

jan pi pana sona la pali pi lipu ona li wawa

The work of the teacher's book is amazing.

In the context of the teacher, the work of their book is amazing.

In general, you can put statements in the context and refer back to them with ona and ni. This can help your sentences flow differently, fix your grammar, or just be a fun way to speak!

Implying an object

We noted through the main la lesson that la phrases can stand in for other prepositions and grammatical functions. What if it stood in for an even more important word- e?

One of the coolest ways to use la is to imply a specific object- a specific word or phrase being interacted with.

o la kasi li pana

This isn't guaranteed to be understood, but it is possible for this statement to mean the same as the following:

kasi li pana e ko

You can even use this to imply multiple objects for a single part of speech, such as for e:

kiwen mani en ko pi kon pona la mi pana tawa ona

I gave silver and incense to them.

Restatements such as these aren't strictly necessary- in this case, you can just use e twice:

mi pana e kiwen mani e ko pi kon pona tawa ona

But this multiple object trick can also work for prepositions, where it's much more useful! Here is is for lon:

ma tomo en telo suli la mi lon poka

I am near the city and the ocean!

The closest restatements are a bit more clumsy, grammatically:

mi lon poka pi ma tomo pi telo suli

mi lon poka pi ijo tu: ma tomo en telo suli

These are still valid though!