Toki Pona was invented by Sonja Lang (née Elen Kisa) and first published online
in 2001. It is a simple pidgin-like language based on universal human
experience designed to express as much as possible with relatively few
sounds and words. The name toki pona means "good language" or "simple
Toki Pona has only 14 basic sounds chosen to be easy to pronounce for
anybody, regardless of their linguistic background. The 120 basic words can,
in theory, be combined together to make over 470,000 compound words. Most
of the words have several meanings and context helps to determine which
particular meaning is intended.
Toki Pona words come from various languages, including English, Esperanto,
Finnish, Acadian French, Croatian, Japanese, Georgian, Lojban, Dutch, Tongan,
Tok Pisin, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese and Welsh.
A number of alternative ways have been devised to write Toki Pona, such as
the Sitelen, a script devised by Jonathan Gabel
based on the Mayan script
which can be used as a syllabary or as a mixed syllabic/logographic script;
and the Toki Pona Script (✎⟄☺ᑈ), which uses dingbats,
mathematical symbols, and other symbols found in some fonts.
A hundred or so people apparently speak Toki Pona fluently, and several
hundred others have some knowledge of the language. It is used mainly online
in forums and other groups, and on social media.
Toki Pona pronunciation (kalama)
n = [ŋ] at the end of a syllable, [n] elsewhere
The first syllable of a word is stressed
Capital letters are only used for proper names of people and places
Sample texts in Toki Pona
alone - a poem
ijo li moku e mi.
mi wile pakala.
pimeja li tawa insa kon mi.
jan ala li ken sona e pilin ike mi.
toki musi o, sina jan pona mi wan taso.
telo pimeja ni li telo loje mi, li ale mi.
tenpo ale la pimeja li lon. wan taso
I am devoured.
I must destroy.
Darkness fills my soul.
No one can understand my suffering.
O poetry! My only friend.
This ink is my blood, is my life.
And Darkness shall reign forevermore.
Article 1 of the UDHR in Toki Pona, by Shawn Kilpatrick
jan ali li kama lon ala nasin ni: ona li kan tawa li kan pali.
jan ali li kama lon sama. jan ali li jo e kan pi pilin suli.
jan ali li kan pali e wile pona ona. jan ali li jo e kan pi
sona pona e kan pi pali pona. jan ali li wile pali nasin ni:
ona li jan pona pi ante.
person all (verb) come is no way this: they (verb) ability
move (verb) ability do. people all (verb) come is same. people
all (verb) have (object) ability of feel grand. people all
(verb) ability do (object) desire good they. people all (verb)
have (object) ability of know good (object) ability of do good.
people all (verb) desire do way this: they (verb) person good
[this is an accepted idiom meaning 'friend'] of other.
Everyone comes to exist like this: they can move and do (as
in their will.) Everyone comes to exist as equals. Everyone
has the ability to feel worthy. Everyone can do what they want
(so long as it is good.) Everyone has the ability of proper
knowledge and proper action. Everyone should act in this manner:
they are each other's friends.
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with
reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.