General Information[edit | edit source]

Toki Pata
/toki pätä/
Type Oligo-Analytic
Alignment Nominative-accusative
Head direction Initial
Tonal No
Declensions No
Conjugations No
Genders No
Nouns decline according to...
Case Number
Definiteness Gender
Verbs conjugate according to...
Voice Mood
Person Number
Tense Aspect
Meta-information
Progress 4%
Statistics
Nouns 0%
Verbs 0%
Adjectives 0%
Syntax 0%
Words 91 of 91
Creator Jan kapesi Pake

As famed French poet, author, and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said:

"In anything at all, perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away..."

The creator of The Little Prince is referring above to airplane design, but let us never allow the context of quotations to reduce the feelings that such quotations create within us! Anyways, such was the guiding philosophy behind this project of mine. I call it the "minimized minimalist language" in that it is a smaller and more versatile version of another conlang: toki pona. If you haven't heard of toki pona before, I highly recommend you read more about it here and here. Much of what I reference and refer to may be confusing without this context. Plus, toki pona is simply an elegant and beautiful language worth learning.

Classification[edit | edit source]

toki pata is a tokiponido, which is to say that it is a child or offspring language of the artlang toki pona, created by linguist Sonja Lang (née Sonja Elen Kisa) in 2001 and finalized in 2014. In toki pona, the words 'toki pata' mean "sibling language."

It is very much like a dialect of the original mother tongue, reflecting my own usage of words and grammar, yet enough changes to toki pona (hereafter referred to as 'TP Classic') are present that it may justly be called a language in its own right. And while it is largely mutually intelligible for speakers and readers of TP Classic (with a lexicon consisting entirely of TP Classic words, two extinct TP Classic words, and just two new ones), it allows for new possibilities in minimalism by reducing the total word count (from 123 to a mere 91) and by permitting clearer negation and free word order. Just four words are added, and thirty-six words are taken away.

Phonology[edit | edit source]

Consonants[edit | edit source]

Labial Coronal Dorsal
Nasal m n
Stop p t k
Fricative s
Approximant w l j

Vowels[edit | edit source]

Front Back
Close i u
Mid
Open ä

Allophones and Free Variation[edit | edit source]

  • /m/ and /n/ may be pronounced as /n/ when preceding /n/, /t/, /s/, or /l/; as /m/ when preceding /m/, /p/, or /w/; as /ŋ/ when preceding /k/; and as /ɲ/ when preceding /j/ or any vowel
  • /p/, /t/, /k/ may be pronounced as the voiced consonants /b/, /d/, /g/, respectively
  • /s/ may be pronounced as the voiced consonant /z/ or as the post-alveolar consonants /ʃ/ and /ʒ/
  • /w/ may be pronounced as /v/, /β/, or /ʋ/
  • /l/ may be pronounced as /ɹ/, /ɾ/, or /r/
  • /j/ may be pronounced as /ʎ/
  • /ä/ may be pronounced as any open or near-open vowel
  • /e̞/ may be pronounced as /e/ or /ɛ/
  • /i/ may be pronounced as /ɪ/
  • /o̞/ may be pronounced as /o/ or /ɔ/
  • /u/ may be pronounced as /ʊ/, /ɯ/, or /ʉ/

Phonotactics[edit | edit source]

toki pata's syllable structure is (C)V(N), with the sequences /ji, jin, ti, tin, wo, won, wu, wun/ being prohibited phonotactically. The are zero diphthongs, consonant clusters, or phonemic vowels lengths.

Prosody[edit | edit source]

Stress always falls on the initial syllable of a word, without exception. There are no phonemic distinctions between intonations or tones.

Writing System[edit | edit source]

Letter A E I J K L M
Sound /ä/ /e̞/ /i/ /j/ /k/ /l/ /m/
Letter N O P S T U W
Sound /n/ /o̞/ /p/ /s/ /t/ /u/ /w/

Grammar[edit | edit source]

Morphology[edit | edit source]

The only type of morphological modification present in toki pata is the agglutination "-(a)la" that may added to the end of words to indicate negation. Whereas the word ala means not/zero, the "-(a)la" suffix means "un" or "anti." Thus, pimeja (black, dark) can be made into white by writing/saying pimejala.

Syntax[edit | edit source]

Normal word order is SVO (Subject, Verb, Object) but can also be in any order that a writer or speaker desires. To accomplish this, four particles are used for marking the sentence components. The word u will come before the subject or subjects, li will come before the predicate, e will come before the direct object or objects, and i will come before the indirect object or objects. Note that u may be omitted in SVO sentences, if desired. 

Adverbs come after their modified verbs, and adjectives come after their modified nouns or pronouns. Like in TP Classic, the word la is used at the start of sentences to offset adverbial phrases or context phrases from the remainder of the sentence. Also as in TP Classic, the word pi is used for establishing complex adjective phrases by dividing a second adjective group that describes a first adjective group.

Grammatical Differences with Toki Pona[edit | edit source]

All grammar from TP Classic is maintained, with the following exceptions:

  • The first-person pronoun mi can also be realized as mina in both writing and spoken communication, to be more consistent with the visual aesthetics of sina and ona. Its meaning stays the same, regardless of whether mina is used as a simple pronoun or as a possessive one. Example sentence—jan Misali li utala e mama mina. (Mitch challenges my parents.)
  • The particle li is placed before all verb phrases without exception, even if the first-person or second-person pronouns precede it, to make predicate marking more regular. Example sentence—sina li lukin e akesi kon. (You look at the bird.)
  • The new particle i can be placed before words to indicate that they are indirect objects, as with direct objects and the particle e. Example sentence—mina li pana e moku ko i jan pona mina. (I give bread to my friend.) i also takes on the more prepositional functions of the word tawa such that tawa now only refers to physical movement.
  • The new particle u can be placed before the sentence subject to clearly identify it. This is unnecessary in SVO sentences but enables free-word-order when u is employed. Example sentence—i jan Lisa li pana e lipu lili u ona. (He gives the little book to Lisa.)
  • The particle en is also used between multiple verbs and multiple objects, in addition to multiple subjects. Example sentence—jan San en jan Jun li lukin en kute e jan lawa en jan moli. (John and June look at and listen to leaders and dead people.)
  • In the first significant break with TP Classic’s core fundamentals, toki pata uses mild agglutination by permitting the addition of the bound morpheme -(a)la to the end of words. As the word ala by itself means “not” or “zero,” the agglutinative affix -(a)la means “anti” or “un.” Words like pimeja can be rendered as pimejala (meaning un-black, or white.) Example sentence—akesi lili pona mina li kama jo e moku samala. (My good little animal comes to have [gets] different food.)

Due to the high prevalence of s-initial words in TP Classic (even after toki pata removes six s-words, there are still 11 remaining), a conscious effort was made to prioritize the removal of these words when possible, especially when a similar or opposite word began with a different letter. This is why akesi and lete remain in toki pata, while soweli and suli were removed.  

Lexical Differences with toki pona[edit | edit source]

Words Removed[edit | edit source]

  • alasa (hunting and foraging are covered by the “to look for” definition of lukin)
  • ante (can be indicated as samala)
  • awen (can be indicated as wekala)
  • ike (can be indicated as ponala)
  • jelo (can be indicated as kule suno [sun-colored])
  • kala (as “animal” in the general is indicated by akesi, any sea creature can be indicated by akesi telo)
  • kalama (can be indicated as toki; while there is a distinction difference between uttering/producing a noise and talking, this difference is not so great as to warrant two different words in a minimalist language)
  • kepeken (its prepositional meaning can be indicated with kan; its verbal meaning can be indicated by ilo)
  • kili (can be indicated as kasi moku)
  • kin (in TP Classic a synonym for a, toki pata also gives kin's meaning of “indeed” to a)
  • kiwen (can be indicated as kola [or, as a noun, it may alternatively be indicated as wawa ma])
  • laso (can be indicated as kule kasi [green/blue])
  • loje (can be indicated as kule uta [mouth-colored])
  • oko (the word for “eye(s)” can be indicated as lukin)
  • meli (toki pata removes gender words)
  • mije (toki pata removes gender words)
  • mu (this animal noise onomatopoeia can be indicated by akesi toki [until such time as animals gain the ability to speak to humans or humans gain the ability to decipher animal noises, these noises will justly be tantamount to animal speech])
  • mun (this word is problematic, in that it refers both to Earth’s celestial satellite and to every other object in the cosmos that is not the Sun; to resolve this, toki pata recommends using either suno pimeja [dark Sun] or suno lape [sleeping Sun] to indicate “the Moon” and using suno samala [different Sun] to indicate “star”)
  • musi (its meanings are merged with the word nasa)
  • mute (can be indicated as lilila [for its meaning of "many/several"] or as a [for its meaning of "very"])
  • namako (if namako ever had a meaning distinct from sin, it was the definition “spice”; this definition is simply added to sin)
  • noka (this word was almost eliminated back in 2010, when it was on the chopping block to be replaced with anpa; this is just as well, because I have a[n unfortunate] penchant for the so-called “extinct” words, and it allows me to replace it with anpa now)
  • olin (as this is a type of/stronger variant of emotion [already covered by the word pilin], an appropriate approximate can be indicated by pilin lilila, pilin anpala, or pilin sewi)
  • pan (can be indicated as moku ko)
  • pini (can be indicated as openala)
  • pipi (as “animal” in the general is indicated by akesi, any insectoid and similar creature can be indicated as akesi lili [lili])
  • poki (can be indicated as tomo lili)
  • pu (perhaps the most unnecessary and most misused word in TP Classic [after pi, of course], pu has no place in toki pata)
  • seli (can be indicated as letela)
  • selo (can be indicated as insala)
  • sinpin (can be indicated as monsila)
  • soweli (as “animal” in the general is indicated by akesi, any land mammal can be indicated by akesi ma, or simply akesi)
  • suli (can be indicated as lilila)
  • suwi (can be indicated as pona)
  • walo (as TP Classic and toki pata both use subtractive colors and the color wheel model, “white” can be indicated as either kule ala [no color] or pimejala)
  • waso (as “animal” in the general is indicated by akesi, any creature of the skies can be indicated by akesi kon [air animal])

Words Added[edit | edit source]

  • i (PARTICLE: before the indirect object); (PREPOSITION: going to, toward; for; from the perspective of)
  • kan (PREPOSITION: with, among, in the company of; with the help of, with use of)
  • pata (NOUN: brother, sister, sibling)
  • u (PARTICLE: before the sentence subject [in non-SVO sentences])

Words with Additional/Modified Meanings[edit | edit source]

  • a (ADJECTIVE: also, too, even, indeed, additionally; very)
  • akesi (NOUN: animal)
  • anpa (NOUN: foot, leg, organ of locomotion; bottom, lower part)
  • en (PARTICLE: [between multiple subjects, verbs, and/or objects])
  • ilo (VERB: to use; to tinker with)
  • kon (VERB: to breathe, to inhale gaseous material)
  • moku (VERB: to eat, to consume food, to swallow food, to ingest solid material)
  • nasa (MODIFIER: artistic, frivolous, funny)
  • open (NOUN: beginning, birth, inception, initial point)
  • sin (NOUN: spice)
  • sitelen (VERB: to draw, to write)
  • sona (ADJECTIVE: knowledgable, wise)
  • tawa (VERB: to go, to move, to travel); (ADJECTIVE; going to, moving)
  • telo (VERB: to drink, to swallow liquids, to ingest liquid material)
  • tomo (NOUN: indoor space; building, home, house, room; vessel, container)

Lexicon[edit | edit source]

a

  • PARTICLE: (emphasis, emotion or confirmation)
  • MODIFIER: also, too, even, indeed, additionally; very

akesi

  • NOUN: animal

ala

  • MODIFIER: no, not, none
  • NUMERAL: zero

ali

  • NOUN: abundance, everything, life, universe
  • MODIFIER: all; abundant, countless, bountiful, every, plentiful
  • NUMERAL: 100

anpa

  • NOUN: foot, leg, organ of locomotion; bottom, lower part
  • MODIFIER: bowing down, downward, humble, lowly, dependent

anu

  • PARTICLE: or

e

  • PARTICLE: (before the direct object)

en

  • PARTICLE: (between multiple subjects, verbs, and/or objects)

esun

  • NOUN: market, shop, fair, bazaar, business transaction

i

  • PARTICLE: (before the indirect object)
  • PREPOSITION: going to, toward; for; from the perspective of

ijo

  • NOUN: thing, phenomenon, object, matter

ilo

  • NOUN: tool, implement, machine, device
  • VERB: to use; to tinker with

insa

  • NOUN: center, content, inside, between; internal organ, stomach

jaki

  • NOUN: trash, filth
  • MODIFIER: disgusting, obscene, sickly, toxic, unclean, unsanitary

jan

  • NOUN: human being, person, somebody

jo

  • VERB: to have, carry, contain, hold

kama

  • VERB: to arrive, summon
  • PRE-VERB: to become, manage to, succeed in
  • MODIFIER: arriving, coming, future, summoned

kan

  • PREPOSITION: with, among, in the company of; with the help of, with use of

kasi

  • NOUN: plant, vegetation; herb, leaf

ken

  • VERB: to allow, to permit
  • PRE-VERB: to be able to, be allowed to, can, may
  • MODIFIER: possible

ko

  • NOUN: clay, clinging form, dough, semi-solid, paste, powder

kon

  • NOUN: air, breath; essence, spirit; hidden reality, unseen agent
  • VERB: to breathe, to inhale gaseous material

kule

  • NOUN: color
  • MODIFIER: colorful, pigmented, painted

kulupu

  • NOUN: community, company, group, nation, society, tribe

kute

  • NOUN: ear
  • VERB: to hear, listen; pay attention to, obey

la

  • PARTICLE: (between the context phrase and the main sentence)

lape

  • VERB: to sleep, rest
  • MODIFIER: sleeping, resting

lawa

  • NOUN: head, mind
  • VERB: to control, direct, guide, lead, own, plan, regulate, rule

len

  • NOUN: cloth, clothing, fabric, textile; cover, layer of privacy

lete

  • MODIFIER: cold, cool; uncooked, raw

li

  • PARTICLE: (before the sentence predicate)

lili

  • MODIFIER: little, small, short; few; a bit; young

linja

  • NOUN: long and flexible thing; cord, hair, rope, thread, yarn

lipu

  • NOUN: flat object; book, document, card, paper, record, website

lon

  • PREPOSITION: located at, present at, real, true, existing

luka

  • NOUN: arm, hand, tactile organ
  • NUMERAL: five

lukin

  • NOUN: eye
  • VERB: to look at, look for, see, examine, observe, read, watch
  • PRE-VERB: to seek, to look for; to try to

lupa

  • NOUN: door, hole, orifice, window

ma

  • NOUN: earth, land; outdoors, world; country, territory; soil

mama

  • NOUN: parent, ancestor; creator, originator; caretaker, sustainer

mani

  • NOUN: money, cash, savings, wealth; large domesticated animal

mi/mina

  • PRONOUN: I, me, my, we, us, our

moku

  • NOUN: food
  • VERB: to eat, to consume food, to swallow food, to ingest solid material

moli

  • NOUN: death
  • VERB: to die, kill
  • MODIFIER: dead, dying

monsi

  • NOUN: back, behind, rear

nanpa

  • NOUN: number
  • PARTICLE: -th (ordinal number)

nasa

  • MODIFIER: unusual, strange; foolish, crazy; drunk, intoxicated; artistic, frivolous, funny

nasin

  • NOUN: way, custom, doctrine, method, path, road

nena

  • NOUN: bump, button, hill, mountain, nose, protuberance

ni

  • MODIFIER: that, those; this, these

nimi

  • NOUN: name, word

o

  • PARTICLE: hey! O! (vocative or imperative mood)

ona

  • PRONOUN: he, him, his; she, her, hers; they, their

open

  • NOUN: beginning, birth, inception, initial point
  • VERB: to begin, start; open; turn on

pakala

  • MODIFIER: botched, broken, damaged, harmed, messed up

pali

  • VERB: to do, try to, take action on, work on; build, make, prepare

palisa

  • NOUN: long hard thing; branch, rod, stick

pana

  • VERB: to give, send, emit, provide, put, release

pata

  • NOUN: brother, sister, sibling

pi

  • PARTICLE: of (used to divide a second adjective group that describes a first adjective group)

pilin

  • NOUN: heart (physical or emotional)
  • MODIFIER: feeling (an emotion, a direct experience)

pimeja

  • MODIFIER: black, dark, unlit

poka

  • NOUN: hip, side; next to, nearby, vicinity

pona

  • VERB: to improve, to fix, to repair, to make good
  • MODIFIER: good, positive, useful; friendly, peaceful; simple

sama

  • MODIFIER: same, similar; each other
  • PREPOSITION: as, like

seme

  • PARTICLE: what? which?

sewi

  • NOUN: area above, highest part, something elevated
  • MODIFIER: awe-inspiring, divine, sacred, supernatural

sijelo

  • NOUN: body (of person or animal), physical state, torso

sike

  • NOUN: round or circular thing; ball, circle, cycle, sphere, wheel
  • MODIFIER: of one year

sin

  • NOUN: spice
  • MODIFIER: new, fresh; additional, another, extra, more

sina

  • PRONOUN: you, your

sitelen

  • NOUN: image, picture, representation, symbol, mark, writing
  • VERB: to draw, to write

sona

  • VERB: to know, be skilled in, be wise about, have information on
  • PRE-VERB: to know how to
  • MODIFIER: knowledgable, wise

suno

  • NOUN: sun; light, brightness, glow, radiance, shine; light source

supa

  • NOUN: horizontal surface, thing to put or rest something on

tan

  • PREPOSITION: by, from, because of

taso

  • PARTICLE: but, however
  • MODIFIER: only

tawa

  • VERB: to go, to move, to travel
  • MODIFIER: going to, moving

telo

  • NOUN: water, liquid, fluid, wet substance; beverage
  • VERB: to drink, ingest liquid material

tenpo

  • NOUN: time, duration, moment, occasion, period, situation

toki

  • VERB: to communicate, say, speak, say, talk, use language, think

tomo

  • NOUN: indoor space; building, home, house, room; vessel, container

tu

  • NUMERAL: two

u

  • PARTICLE: (before the sentence subject [in non-SVO sentences])

unpa

  • VERB: to have sexual or marital relations with

uta

  • NOUN: mouth, lips, oral cavity, jaw
  • VERB: to kiss, taste

utala

  • VERB: to battle, challenge, compete against, struggle against

wan

  • MODIFIER: unique, united
  • NUMERAL: one

wawa

  • MODIFIER: strong, powerful; confident, sure; energetic, intense

weka

  • VERB: to leave, to be absent; to ignore
  • MODIFIER: absent, away, ignored

wile

  • NOUN: desire, will
  • PRE-VERB: must, to need to, to require to, should, to want to, to wish to

Example Texts[edit | edit source]

(Beautiful Woman) ~jan pona~[edit | edit source]

jan pona o a!

sina li lape lon poka mina.

linja pi kule suno sina li lon luka mina.

mina li pilin e sijelo sina.

mina li pilin e letela sina.

mina li lukin e lukin pi kule kasi sina.

mina li lukin e insa sina.

ponala! ponala!

li kama u suno.

sina li wile tawa.

jan mina o, mina li pilin lilila e sina!

sina li pona lilila!

jan mina o tawa pona.

o tawa pona.

(Psalm 23)[edit | edit source]

jan sewi Jawe li lawa e mina sama akesi. 

mina li wile e ala.

ona li kama e ni: mina li lape lon ma pi kule kasi. 

ona li lawa e mina lon poka pi telo pi toki ala. ona li sin e kon mina. 

ona li lawa e mina lon nasin pona; ona li pona a.

mina li lon ma anpa moli pimeja la mina li pilin ala ponala tan ni: li lon poka mina u sina. palisa sina li kama e ni: ala li ken pakala e mina.

li pali e moku lilila i mina u sina. 

mina li moku la jan ponala mina ali li ken lukin e mina. 

taso mina li jan pona sina. 

telo lilila li lon tomo lili mina.

tenpo suno mina ali la pona sina en pilin lilila sina li lukin e mina. tenpo ali la mina li lon tomo pi jan sewi Jawe.

(Alone) ~wan taso~[edit | edit source]

li moku e mina u ijo.

mina li wile pakala.

pimeja li tawa insa kon mina.

jan ala li ken sona e pilin ponala mina.

toki nasa o, sina li jan pona mina wan taso.

telo pimeja ni li telo pi kule uta mina, li ali mina.

tenpo ali la li lon u pimeja.

(Universal Declaration of Human Rights)[edit | edit source]

jan ali li kama lon nasin ni: ona li ken tawa li ken pali. jan ali li kama lon sama. jan ali li jo e ken pi pilin lilila. jan ali li ken pali e wile pona ona. 

jan ali li jo e ken pi sona pona e ken pi pali pona. jan ali li wile pali nasin ni: ona li jan pona pi samala

(Kiss Me!) ~o uta e mi!~[edit | edit source]

o pilin e uta mina kan uta sina.

o uta e mina!

taso jan li ken toki e ni: “o uta e mina” li sona e ni: “o pilin e luka mi kan uta sina.”

li wile uta u mina e uta sina.

(The Small Fruit) ~kasi moku lili~[edit | edit source]

mina li jo e kasi moku.

ona li pona li lili.

mina li moku lili e kasi moku lili.

(The Chewbacca Defense)[edit | edit source]

jan pi kulupu sona o, jan toki pi jan Chef li wile a e ni: sina li sona e ni: tenpo openala la jan Chef li pali e toki nasa “Stinky Britches.”

toki ona li wawa.

a! mina li pilin ponala i jan Chef! 

taso jan pi kulupu sona ni o, mina li wile e ni: sina li sona e ijo wan pi nanpa openala. 

jan pi kulupu sona o, ni li jan Supaka. 

jan Supaka li pi kulupu Waki lon ma Kese. 

taso tomo pi jan Supaka li lon ma Ento. 

o pilin e ni. ni li nasa! 

jan Waki li lilila a. tomo ona li lon ma Ento tan seme? jan Iwa li lili lilila. 

ni li nasa!  

taso o sona e ni: ni li lilila ala lilila i toki utala ni? lilila ala! jan pona o, ona li lili i toki utala ni! 

ona li nasa! 

o lukin e mina. 

mina li jan toki. mina li pali i kulupu esun pi toki nasa. taso mina li pana e sona pi jan Supaka. 

ni li nasa, anu seme? 

jan pona o, toki mina li nasa. 

ali li nasa! 

o sona e ni: sina li lon tomo sona li toki li samala e toki Emancipation Proclamation... ona li pona ala pona? 

pona ala! jan pi kulupu sona o, ona li nasa!

tomo pi jan Supaka li lon ma Ento la kulupu esun mi li pona! 

mi openala toki. 

(Biblical Creation) ~tenpo open~[edit | edit source]

tenpo open la jan sewi li pilin e kon sewi e ma i lon. ma ali li jo e ijo ala. pimeja lilila li lon. taso jan sewi li lon li wile pali. ona li toki e ni: suno o li lon! tenpo ala la suno li suno lon ma ali. jan sewi li nimi e ni i suno: tenpo suno. ona li nimi a e ni i pimeja: tenpo pimeja.

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu li kama. jan sewi li toki e ni: ijo sewi lilila o li lon! ijo sewi lilila li kama. jan sewi li nimi e ni i ona: ijo sewi lilila. 

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu wan la jan sewi li pali e telo lilila a. ona li pali a e ma sewi en ma supa en ma lon telo lilila en ma lon poka telo. ona li pali e kasi lilila pi pona lukin. 

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu tu la jan sewi li pali e suno sewi lilila en suno pimeja en suno sewi lili samala. 

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu tu wan la jan sewi li pali e akesi telo ali. ona li pali a e akesi kon ali. 

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu tu tu la jan sewi li pali e akesi lilila. ona li pali e akesi pi pona lukin en akesi pi ponala lukin. ona li pali e akesi wawa en akesi wawa ala. tenpo suno ni la jan sewi li pali a e jan. jan sewi li pali openala. ona li toki e ni: ali li pona. 

tenpo suno pi nanpa tu tu tu wan la jan sewi li lape.

Acknowledgements[edit | edit source]

Many people were indispensable in the creation of this conlang, whom I would like to take the opportunity to thank.

jan Tumo—For numerous suggestions and feedback in the planning stages.

jan Pitelo—For first coming up with the color system that toki pata uses.

jan Sewi—For first inspiring this project.

(jan) apeja Akesi—For helping extensively with grammar improvements and typos in the later stages.

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.