26 votes

A tildes thread for toki pona, the minimalist conlang

Toki Pona is a minimalist conlang famous for having a vocabulary of under 130 words. There are communities of speakers on all major social media platforms. This is an introduction thread for speakers, learners or the toki-curious to introduce themselves. I'll advise on learning resources, or just answer general questions if anyone is interested.

I'm a toki pona speaker and creator of the YouTube channel 'seme li sin?' which translated news stories into toki pona.

mi wile e ni: kulupu wawa pi toki pona lon lipu Tetesu. jan ale pi toki pona li jan pona mi. sina ken la o kepeken e toki pona lon lipu ni!

25 comments

  1. [4]
    grungegun
    Link
    Is there an anki deck for Toki Pona? I learned the words once, but it's been a while.

    Is there an anki deck for Toki Pona?

    I learned the words once, but it's been a while.

    5 votes
    1. [3]
      Fiachra
      Link Parent
      There are at least three: https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/937032604 (words) https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/2020887836 (phrases) https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1548566798 (words + heiroglyphs)...

      There are at least three:

      https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/937032604 (words)

      https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/2020887836 (phrases)

      https://ankiweb.net/shared/info/1548566798 (words + heiroglyphs) (toki pona uses an optional heiroglyph writing system as an alternative to the latin alphabet)

      (I have not personally used these so I can't vouch for their quality)

      4 votes
      1. [2]
        grungegun
        Link Parent
        Sweet. Thanks. I'll look into them. Also, about the heiroglyphs, what are your opinions on them? They seem complex to write, and rather impractical to me. Does anyone use them?

        Sweet. Thanks. I'll look into them.

        Also, about the heiroglyphs, what are your opinions on them? They seem complex to write, and rather impractical to me. Does anyone use them?

        2 votes
        1. Fiachra
          Link Parent
          The small vocabulary of toki pona make a heiroglyph system more practical than it otherwise would be, especially since some words are much more commonly used than others. A large majority of...

          The small vocabulary of toki pona make a heiroglyph system more practical than it otherwise would be, especially since some words are much more commonly used than others. A large majority of speakers only use the latin alphabet, but people do use the heiroglyphs (they're called sitelen pona) including me. I actually used to keep a daily journal using the sitelen pona writing system as a way of practicing, and it's rare that I had to look up a glyph. Definitely not for everyone though.

          2 votes
  2. [2]
    Tygrak
    Link
    toki! mi ken toki pi toki pona kin! ni li pona tawa mi: mi lukin e toki pona lon lipu ni! mi wile e kulupu pi toki pona lon lipu ni kin. sina li pona tan ni: sina li pali toki ni pi toki pona lon...

    toki! mi ken toki pi toki pona kin! ni li pona tawa mi: mi lukin e toki pona lon lipu ni! mi wile e kulupu pi toki pona lon lipu ni kin. sina li pona tan ni: sina li pali toki ni pi toki pona lon lipu Tetesu :).

    mi li jan Tygrak. mi li sin tawa toki pona, taso toki pona li pona en namako! toki namako li musi. mi pali e lipu pi toki pona: https://tygrak.github.io/NimiTokiPona/ (for non toki pona speakers (and for toki pona speakers): this is a toki pona dictionary and phrasebook I made, wouldn't recommend opening it on mobiles, it loads about 8 mb of data when opened! also it's pretty slow because of that! but I think it's pretty cool, I would love anyones thoughts on it). ni li lipu Github tawa mi lipu: https://github.com/Tygrak/NimiTokiPona .

    tenpo ni la mi wile lape, taso mi pali e sitelen toki lili. lape pona!

    I'd love to see if you can translate what I wrote, I don't use toki pona as much as I would like to and I started learning it just about 4 months ago :).

    4 votes
    1. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      toki, jan Tygrak o! I understand you perfectly, although one small mistake jumps out at me that I feel I have to mention: "toki pona li pona en namako!" should be: "toki pona li pona li namako!"...

      toki, jan Tygrak o! I understand you perfectly, although one small mistake jumps out at me that I feel I have to mention:

      "toki pona li pona en namako!" should be: "toki pona li pona li namako!"

      Sorry, that infamous rule of multiple li's...

      lipu sina li pona mute tawa mi, li pona lukin! sina pali pona.

      4 votes
  3. [3]
    Brock_Knifemann
    Link
    I learned about Toki Pona a few years ago, and I've been wanting to learn it. I'm not super-motivated these days, and it's been an on-and-off again level of desire. I think it would be really cool...

    I learned about Toki Pona a few years ago, and I've been wanting to learn it. I'm not super-motivated these days, and it's been an on-and-off again level of desire. I think it would be really cool to have 3 languages under my belt.

    This could be a lot of fun! I'll check out your youtube channel!
    Do you have any suggestions for good learning material? I found the "official" site not particularly great.

    3 votes
    1. [2]
      Fiachra
      Link Parent
      It depends on what style of language learner you are, and toki pona is a great way to find out, since you can go through the entire process in miniature. The method that worked best for me was...

      It depends on what style of language learner you are, and toki pona is a great way to find out, since you can go through the entire process in miniature.

      The method that worked best for me was flashcard apps. Toki pona has two good courses on Memrise I can recommend:

      https://www.memrise.com/course/39856/toki-pona-complete/ (which teaches the vocabulary)

      and

      https://www.memrise.com/course/352694/speak-toki-pona-with-audio/ (which teaches phrases)


      If you want to read the explicit grammar rules, this book gives a good idea of how it works, even if some nuances are no longer considered official grammar in 2020. The official toki pona book (available on Amazon) spells out the grammar more simply than this

      http://aiki.pbworks.com/f/toki-pona-lessons.pdf


      If you are a visual learner, you might prefer these pictorial grammar lessons instead:

      https://aiki.pbworks.com/f/tp+in+76+lessons+English.pdf


      If you want to request resources to suit a particular learning style, ask and I'll provide more, but these are the most popular ones I know of.

      2 votes
      1. Brock_Knifemann
        Link Parent
        Thanks, Fiachara! I'm definitely more of a grammar type person - I learned French that way, and I'm an English/writing tutor. Grammar rules = ❤️ I'll check out your suggestions, thanks again!

        Thanks, Fiachara!

        I'm definitely more of a grammar type person - I learned French that way, and I'm an English/writing tutor. Grammar rules = ❤️

        I'll check out your suggestions, thanks again!

        1 vote
  4. [2]
    reifyresonance
    Link
    toki! toki mi li pona ala, taso mi wile e ni: sina sona e ni: mi li lon li toki!

    toki! toki mi li pona ala, taso mi wile e ni: sina sona e ni: mi li lon li toki!

    2 votes
    1. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      pona mute a! kulupu pi toki pona li lon ni!

      pona mute a! kulupu pi toki pona li lon ni!

      1 vote
  5. [2]
    Sand
    Link
    Is the official book recommended for learning toki pona?

    Is the official book recommended for learning toki pona?

    2 votes
    1. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      Yep! It's the most authoritative source.

      Yep! It's the most authoritative source.

      3 votes
  6. [3]
    Apos
    Link
    I didn't know about toki pona before. Looks like there's a nice intro (?) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLn6LC1RpAo.

    I didn't know about toki pona before. Looks like there's a nice intro (?) here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLn6LC1RpAo.

    2 votes
  7. [2]
    CavesUnderscore
    Link
    doubleplusluv bb. plusgood oceania unpaxmakers unlive plusungood eurasia unpaxmakers. (I love Big Brother. Our great soldiers demolish the evil Eurasian soldiers.) In all seriousness, Toki Pona...

    doubleplusluv bb. plusgood oceania unpaxmakers unlive plusungood eurasia unpaxmakers. (I love Big Brother. Our great soldiers demolish the evil Eurasian soldiers.)

    In all seriousness, Toki Pona sounds like an interesting project. While I am a big proponent of minimalism, why would a limitation on words be a good thing? Reading through the wikipedia page it seems that the pronunciation of the words is designed to be such that it promotes positive mental health.

    2 votes
    1. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      The pronunciation AFAIK was chosen so that speakers of many world languages can easily pronounce toki pona words. It's more the minimalist structure that promotes positive mental health....

      The pronunciation AFAIK was chosen so that speakers of many world languages can easily pronounce toki pona words. It's more the minimalist structure that promotes positive mental health.

      Basically, describing a thing to the same level of detail as a normal language is still possible, but it would take a very large compound word and be very time consuming. So it causes you to simplify it down to only the most important attributes of the thing, keeps irrelevent information out of the equation and makes contradictory ideas easier to spot. "jan pona ike" is the classic example of this, as in theory it means "bad friend" but in toki pona it's an obvious contradiction: it directly translates as "bad good person".

      The idea is that your thoughts will be less cluttered, less troubled with distracting irrelevent details, and better able to parse events from different points of view (as all speakers of toki pona are obviously bilingual at a minimum)

      3 votes
  8. petrichor
    (edited )
    Link
    This is pretty interesting, and sent me down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia articles on constructed languages. Toki Pona's limited vocabulary really makes me inclined to give it a try - rote...

    This is pretty interesting, and sent me down a rabbit hole of Wikipedia articles on constructed languages. Toki Pona's limited vocabulary really makes me inclined to give it a try - rote memorization of words has always been a personal barrier in learning languages.

    Ithkuil is a nice contrast to Toki Pona as a constructed language that is pretty much the philosophical opposite to Toki Pona, with a massive lexicon and complicated grammatical system.

    2 votes
  9. [4]
    paranoid_transdroid
    Link
    Never heard 0f this bef0re, w0w, this is really c00l. I w0uld really like t0 kn0w h0w it feels t0 create c0ncepts under this paradigm. H0w hard it is t0 learn it c0mpared t0 a language like German...

    Never heard 0f this bef0re, w0w, this is really c00l. I w0uld really like t0 kn0w h0w it feels t0 create c0ncepts under this paradigm. H0w hard it is t0 learn it c0mpared t0 a language like German f0r example?

    2 votes
    1. [2]
      Comment deleted by author
      Link Parent
      1. Fiachra
        Link Parent
        I never knew about this one! Good find.

        I never knew about this one! Good find.

        1 vote
    2. [2]
      Fiachra
      Link Parent
      (Do you know all your letter o's are appearing as number 0's?) I wouldn't say I 'create' concepts in my head in any particular language, but it is different expressing myself in different...

      (Do you know all your letter o's are appearing as number 0's?)

      I wouldn't say I 'create' concepts in my head in any particular language, but it is different expressing myself in different languages. When I'm communicating something in toki pona it leans more heavily on "how do I phrase this?" instead of "what's the best word to use here?". Basically, expressing yourself is no longer a memory exercise; you have a finite number of tools to communicate and its all about how you use them. It's a different experience, but I found it easier once I got the hang of it.

      It's much easier to learn than a real world language. Not only is the grammar simpler, but you don't have to invest time memorising tens of thousands of words of vocab. You can learn all the grammar and vocab in a few weeks, but I caution you: knowing these things does not automatically make you fluent. It takes further practice before you really "get" how to communicate fluently.

      1 vote
      1. Kuromantis
        Link Parent
        offtopic Yes
        offtopic

        (Do you know all your letter o's are appearing as number 0's?)

        Yes

        my "o" key is br0ken

  10. [2]
    Turtle
    (edited )
    Link
    mi kama wile sona e toki pona tan lipu ni. tenpo pini lili la mi pini e pu! toki pona li pona tawa mi. mi wile sona e mute, taso nasin li musi. mi wile toki e ni: mi pana e pona mute tawa sina!

    mi kama wile sona e toki pona tan lipu ni. tenpo pini lili la mi pini e pu! toki pona li pona tawa mi. mi wile sona e mute, taso nasin li musi. mi wile toki e ni: mi pana e pona mute tawa sina!

    1 vote
    1. Fiachra
      Link Parent
      mi pana e pona tawa sina kin!

      mi pana e pona tawa sina kin!

      1 vote