Lesson 5: Modifiers

ike
ike
jaki
jaki
lawa
lawa
len
len
lili
lili
mute
mute
nasa
nasa
seli
seli
sewi
sewi
tomo
tomo
uta
uta

Compound nouns

If you feel you are starting to understand how to stack your glyph blocks, adding modifiers shouldn’t be too hard. Let’s look at jan Pije’s example, building up to this good soldier.

jan
jan
jan utala
jan utala
jan utala pona
jan utala pona
jan utala pona ni
jan utala pona ni

This compound noun block is equally at home as the subject, or direct object.

jan utala pona ni li lawa.
jan utala pona ni li lawa.
mi lawa e jan utala pona ni.
mi lawa e jan utala pona ni.

In chapter 2 we talked about tucking glyphs behind others. Look how well this works for the combination jan utala in these examples.

Short blocks: lili and mute

jan lili
jan lili
tomo mute
tomo mute
jan nasa mute
jan nasa mute

Lili and mute are wider and shorter than some of the more square glyphs.

As modifiers this can work to your advantage, as they don’t take up too much space. Often they can tuck right underneath the noun they are modifying.

Thin blocks: ni

telo nasa ni
telo nasa ni
ilo seli ni
ilo seli ni

Remember in lesson 1 we said syllable glyphs can be used instead of glyph blocks? As a glyph block, ni is pretty square, but as a syllable it is tall and thin.

len ni
len ni

This can be useful when ni is used as a modifier. Take a look at how ni works here as a syllable block and above as a glyph block. This can offer you a variety of ways to fill the given space in any situation.

Stretching and squishing blocks

ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni

Maybe you have started to notice, glyph blocks have a little bit of give to them.

ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni

They can stretch or squish in order to maintain a square shape in a multi-block structure.

ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni

If you understand how to tuck one glyph behind another, to stretch or squish glyphs, and use short and thin blocks, you will see just how many different arrangements there are for compound blocks.

ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni
ma ike jaki ni

Here are seven different ways to arrange ma ike jaki ni. Which one you would want to choose would depend on the how well it fits in the rest of the sentence.