Follow

A couple of weeks ago, I gave some water kefir grains to an old friend, and also introduced them to . Since a few days we’re talking about water kefir culture in Toki Pona. I’m far from mastering the language, but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. It’s absolutely crazy and surprisingly effective despite the rather specific conversation topic.

@ice I just started out with making water kefir four days ago, with grains I bought online. It's still taking some time for the grains to recover from the shipping process.

@gendor Yeah, it can take a few batches for the result to become all fizzy and nice. I've experimented a lot and so far, it seems it's better to use only crystal sugar and a pinch of of baking soda for the first few times, so the grains can reproduce easily. Then you can start several batches and try other other ingredients in parallel, for example using brown sugar or adding a lemon slice, to get a more acidic environment, more bubbles and a more powerful taste.

@ice

One of the things I enjoy about toki pona is that it is context dependent. Forces me to get on the same page as my conversation partner/reader of I want to be understood.

@RussSharek Yeah, I find interesting how strange yet natural it feels. It requires some effort, but at the same time it's kind of intuitive, I'm not sure how to define the feeling. And it's a lot of fun to assemble a couple of words that look odd at first, but reveal to be meaningful to the other person. It's a very rewarding process.

@ice

I once had it pointed out to me that there is a difference between sophistication and complexity, and people often confuse the latter for the former.

@RussSharek Yes, I'd say Toki Pona is sophisticated but simple, and that's a rare achievement. It looks almost childish at first, but the more I learn it, the more elegant it feels.

@ice

It's ended up seeing a lot of use in my clown theater teaching, and work.

@RussSharek Do non-speakers understand it a bit when they watch you performing? I imagine it must go pretty well with the expressiveness of your art.

@ice

So far, we've only included the language where we intentionally wanted gibberish, or writing on props. I think we've also taught a few kids a few phrases of "clown language" along the way too,

@ice

I've also used toki pona as an intro to a workshop on body language, where I needed a language that no one in the class knew so I could draw attention to how much they were picking up on non-verbal cues without realizing it.

Teaching is where it really comes in handy: The idea of each word is actually a larger "semantic prime" which covers many layers of poetic and conceptual meaning was an incredibly useful tool for building mental models of the altered mindspace that is clown thought.

@RussSharek I'm not really familiar with clown thought, but think I see what you mean (and I enjoyed reading your webpage on this topic.) It sure puts an interesting perspective on Toki Pona as a "mental simplification device" that allows for easier communication between people with seemingly different mindsets and cultures. A bit like expanding the central part in a Venn diagram where every set match, and where actual communication and understanding can occur.

@ice

Humans are amazing at out-smarting ourselves for all kinds of valid reasons. Having tools to dial that talent down has utility when you are trying to get at people's internal workings.

Sign in to participate in the conversation
Merveilles

Merveilles is a community project aimed at the establishment of new ways of speaking, seeing and organizing information — A culture that seeks augmentation through the arts of engineering and design. A warm welcome to any like-minded people who feel these ideals resonate with them.