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toki pona

Phonology

ConsonantsLabialCoronalDorsalVowelsFrontBack
Nasalmn Closeiu
PlosiveptkMideo
Fricative s Opena
Approximantwlj
  • Stress is on the first syllable
  • It is written with the IPA

Dictionary

a/kin

[emphasis]

kule

color

mute

many, very

sewi

top, high, holy

akesi

reptile, amphibian

kulupu

group

nanpa

number

sijelo

body

ala

no, nothing

kute

listen, ear

nasa

strange, weird

sike

circle

alasa

hunt, search

la

[context]

nasin

way, path

sin

new, again

ale

all, everything

lape

sleep

nena

bump, nose

sina

you

anpa

low

laso

blue, green

ni

this, that

sinpin

face, wall

ante

different

lawa

head, rule

nimi

name, word

sitelen

picture, write

anu

or

len

clothing, cover

noka

leg, foot

sona

know

awen

keep, stay

lete

cold

o

[wish/command]

soweli

animal

e

[direct object]

li

[predicate]

olin

love

suli

big, important

en

[and]

lili

small

ona

he/she/it/they

suno

sun, light

esun

shop, trade

linja

line

open

start, open

supa

surface, table

ijo

thing

lipu

flat, page, book

pakala

broken

suwi

sweet, cute

ike

bad

loje

red

pali

do, make, work

tan

from, because

ilo

tool

lon

in/at; true

palisa

stick, rod

taso

but; only

insa

inside

luka

hand, arm

pan

bread, grain

tawa

go, move; to

jaki

gross, trash

lukin

see, eye; try to

pana

give

telo

water, liquid

jan

person

lupa

hole

pi

[regrouper]

tenpo

time

jelo

yellow

ma

land

pilin

heart, feel

toki

talk, language

jo

have

mama

parent

pimeja

dark, black

tomo

house, room

kala

fish

mani

money

pini

end, finish

tu

two

kalama

sound

meli

female

pipi

bug, insect

unpa

sex

kama

come

mi

I, me, we, us

poka

side, vicinity

uta

mouth

kasi

plant

mije

male

poki

box, container

utala

fight, battle

ken

can; possible

moku

eat, food

pona

good, simple

walo

white

kepeken

using, with (tool)

moli

dead, kill

pu

(toki pona book)

wan

one

kili

fruit

monsi

back

sama

same; like

waso

bird

kiwen

hard, rock

mu

[animal noise]

seli

hot, fire

wawa

strong, energy

ko

paste, powder

mun

moon, star

selo

layer, skin

weka

away

kon

air, spirit, essence

musi

entertaining

seme

[what]

wile

want, need

* words may have more possible meanings or parts of speech than listed


Grammar

toki pona does not mark tense, gender, or number.

Basic Particles

li introduces the predicate(s) (except after a subject that is just mi or sina):

ona li pona = It's good.

mi tawa. = I’m going.

soweli li moku li lape. = Animals eat and sleep.

e marks direct objects:

mi moku e telo. = I’m drinking water.

ona li lukin e mi e sina. = They’re looking at me and you.

en introduces new subjects:

mi en sina li toki. = You and I are talking.

soweli en kala en waso li pona. = Animals, fish, and birds are good.

taso is used at the beginning of a sentence to mean “But, ...”:

mi wile e moku. taso sina jo e ona. = I want the food, but you have it.

Prepositions come before their objects

mi lon tomo. = I am in the room/I’m at the house.

mi toki kepeken ilo. = I talk using the tool.

ona li pana e moku tawa soweli. = She gave food to the animal.

sina sama mama sina. = You’re like your parents.

mi pilin pona tan ni. = I feel good because of that.

Clauses do not fit into each other

ni: can be used instead to connect clauses:

mi wile e ni: sina pana e sona tawa mi. = I want you to teach me. (I want this: you teach me.)

ona li kute tan ni: sina toki. = They listen, because you’re talking. (They listen because of this: you’re talking.)

All modifiers come after what they describe

soweli lili = small animal

ona li sitelen pona. = She writes well.

ma tomo = land of houses (city)

tomo jan = a person’s house

nimi mi = my name

pi regroups modifiers

[tomo telo] nasa = crazy [water room] (crazy bathroom)

tomo pi [telo nasa] = [crazy water] (alcohol) room (bar)

Pre-verbs (auxiliary verbs) come before the verb

mi ken toki. = I can speak.

mi wile lape. = I want/need to sleep.

ona li awen tawa. = It keeps going.

mi kama sona toki pona. = I’m learning to speak well/simply. (I’m learning to speak toki pona.)

ona li lukin kama jo e ona. = He’s trying to get it.

ala can be used to negate

ona li suli ala. = It’s not big/important.

mi sona ala. = I don’t know/understand.

seme replaces unknown information in a question

ni li seme? = What is this?

toki! sina pilin seme? = Hello! How do you feel? (How are you?)

jan seme li lon? = Who is here?

sina tan ma seme? = Where are you from?

sina kama sona kepeken nasin seme? = How did you learn? (lit. ...with what method?)

Yes-No questions are formed using “...[verb] ala [verb]?”

sina sona ala sona e toki pona? = Do you know toki pona?

or “...anu seme?”

sina sona e toki Inli anu seme? = Do you know English?

Repeat the verb for yes or say ala for no:

sona = yes (I know it); ala = no

o is for vocative, wishes, and commands

Vocative:

jan Sonja o, sina pona. = Sonja, you’re good.

Commands:

o kama sona e toki pona. = Learn toki pona.

mi o tawa. = Let’s go.

jan ale o kute! = Everyone, listen!

Wishes:

sijelo sina o kama pona. = May your body get better.

ale o pona. = May everything be good.

la phrases add context

Time or location:

tenpo suno ni la mi pali. = Today, I am working.

tomo mi la mi lape. = In my room, I sleep.

If clauses:

sina pali la sina kama jo e mani. = If you work, you get money.

telo li kama tan sewi la mi tawa ala. = If water comes from the sky (it’s raining), I’m not going.