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monsutatesu is an analysis of Toki Pona, which posits that some content words when used as verbs are auto-antonyms, that is, they have two different meanings of which one is the reverse of another. The word is derived from the Toki Pona word monsuta, as it was the first to be analysed as such, and the English word "test". The sentence "sina monsuta e mi" can be interpreted both as "you scare me" or "you fear me".

Causes[edit | edit source]

Some cases of monsutatesu are from using a word in a different part of speech, then adapting that meaning back into the original part of speech. For example, pu defines moku as a verb meaning "to eat". When used as a noun, it is interpreted as something that is eaten: "food". If this noun sense is used as a verb, it means "to be food", with the inverse relation of its definition. Compare mi moku e ona ("I eat it") and mi moku ona ("I am its food").

Words analyzed under monsutatesu[edit | edit source]

The following table shows a list of words analyzed under monsutatesu. The letter X stands for the direct object of a transitive verb. Senses without it are intransitive.

Word Meaning Noted by
Subject as agent Subject as patient or other
kalama to play; to make X make sound to sound; to make the sound X ike Pike[1]
lawa to be a head; to control X to put in charge; to make X a head ike Pike[1]
mama to be a parent; to nurture X to make X a parent jan Likipi[2][1]
moku to consume (X) to give fuel; to feed X ike Pike[1]
to be fuel[a] jan Misali[3]
monsuta to be scary; to scare X to be afraid; to fear X jan Kipo[4][1]
musi to be fun; to entertain X to have fun; to enjoy X jan Kekan San[5]
nasa to be confusing; to confuse X to make X confusing jan Juwan[6]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Fails monsutatesu as a transitive verb.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 kala pona Tonyu (29 January 2021). "monsutatesu". lipu kule.
  2. jan Likipi [@lilscribby]. (28 July 2020). [Messages posted in the #sona-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.

    re: what's monsutatesu
    mi mama e ona means what?
    usually "I created it" or "I parent/nurture it"
    but that's backwards from the normal transitivity rules which would say "I make it into a parent"

    which doesnt make much sense

  3. jan Misali (13 December 2015). "Day One: Reading and Whatnot" (2:28–2:42). 12 Days of sona pi toki pona. YouTube.
  4. janKipo (4 October 2010). Re: monsuta moli. Toki Pona Forums.

    Does 'monsuta' as vt mean "be afraid of", as here, or "frighten"? The latter seems more reasonable somehow.

  5. jan Kekan San. Monsutatesu isn’t special (scrap).
  6. jan Juwan [jnpoJuwan] (29 September 2023). nasa #38. GitHub. Retrieved 16 November 2023.