|Usage||2023: Not notable (1% ↗ )|
2022: Obscure (0%)
|Book and era||No book|
|Part of speech||Particle|
Preverb marking is an experimental nasin for toki pona that allows speakers to explicitly separate the preverbs of a sentence from the main predicate, often using a nimi sin. This makes preverbs a grammatical position rather than a lexical class, allowing for the usage of all content words as descriptors for a main state or process.
ta and ni are established options for a preverb-marking particle. Both work the same in practice, but one might be preferred to another in a given nasin based off of disambiguation or intuitiveness. Similarly to e, the meaning resulting from use of ta and ni varies depending on the type of word included in the preverb phrase.
For transitive words (such as alasa, where the object is the patient of the predicate), preverb phrases affect the main predicate by treating a preverb as a layer over the main predicate:
mi utala ta toki e ni. → mi utala e ni: mi toki e ni. → I resist saying that.
For intransitive words (such as ken, where the object is made to be or do the predicate), the preverb phrase affects the main predicate by specifying the preverb word:
jan mute li nasin ni tawa tomo pali. → jan mute li nasin ni: [jan mute li] tawa tomo pali. → Many people have a habit/duty of going to work.
Similarly to traditional preverbs, the order of words in a preverb phrase can greatly impact the meaning of the final message by changing the ordering of levels. Additionally, ala retains its usage of negating preverbs in a preverb phrase.
Only one ta or ni is necessary in a sentence, and repeating it is redundant. Similarly to mi and sina for li, the "canonical" lexical class of preverbs (alasa, awen, ken, kama, lukin/oko, sona, wile) do not need ta or ni to be interpreted as preverbs.