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I would like to say something like

These are the same as my house.

I'm not sure if this should be:

ni li sama e tomo mi.

or

ni li sama pi tomo mi.

My understanding is that you only use e for verbs acting on an object, and don't otherwise. sama does not seem like a verb that is acting on tomo mi. But I'm more used to this with ken and wile. For example

mi ken kepeken e ilo tu.

mi wile moku.

I'm not sure if it is natural to use it with sama especially when I would need pi to indicate that mi modifies tomo not sama.

What would be the "correct" option here?

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  • An alternative way to phrase this which sidesteps this question is "ni en tomo mi li sama", which translates more directly as "These and my house are the same".
    – jan Emon
    Oct 25, 2022 at 15:48

3 Answers 3

2

I would use

ni li sama tomo mi

Technically, according to Toki Pona: The Language of Good, sama is an adjective. So the overall structure of the sentence would be NOUN + li + ADJECTIVE (p.20). The adjective in this case would have a complement tomo mi, to be "like my house"

As you correctly say, e is only used with verbs, and pi only connects noun phrases, so perhaps sama pi tomo mi could be interpreted as a literal translation of "the likeness of my house", but it would be rather weird (and probably ungrammatical)

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  • I agree with this assessment -- 'sama pi tomo mi' lexes fine in that I understand what the intended meaning is, but it's definitely not idiomatic in comparison to 'sama tomo mi.'
    – Slate
    Jan 30, 2023 at 23:15
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You could also phrase it as "ni li tomo sama tawa tomo mi", kind of like "these are the same house from the perspective of (/ compared to) my house".

I feel like I should mention too that toki pona doesn't really have a true correct or wrong way to say things. If I remember correctly (don't have my ku with me right now), Sonja herself said that any toki pona that makes sense to the speaker is correct toki pona. Think about which phrasing best reflects how you intuitively think about what you're describing, and pick that one.

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toki a! mi jan Kasikusa

sina sona ala sona e ni: sama is also a preposition, at least in common use. You can use it as such. It thus might be said, as a translation of the English phrase "These are the same as my house", "tomo ni li sama tomo mi".

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