Ring B: 3/22: toki pona

Philip Newton
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[ toki pona | Smooth English | From Þrjótrunn | Grammar | Vocabulary | Abbrevs. ]

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toki pona

wan toki pi kama wan

wan pi nanpa wan

jan sewi o pana e wawa pona lon linja sike pi anpa lawa pi kiwen jelo. jan sewi o pana e linja sike ni tawa mije. mije o pana e linja sike tawa anpa lawa pi meli sina. mije o toki e ni:

mi jan Mako. sina jan Malija. tenpo suno ni la, mi wan poka sina. mi pilin pona la, mi tu li wan. mi pilin ike la, mi tu li wan. suno li seli la, mi tu li wan. telo li kama anpa la, mi tu li wan. sijelo mi li pona la, mi tu li wan. sijelo mi li pakala la, mi tu li wan. mi jo e mani mute la, mi tu li wan. mi jo e mani lili la, mi tu li wan. mi tawa poka sina. mi tu li jo e kon wan taso. mi tu li jo e sijelo wan taso. mi toki awen e ni: mi olin e sina li pali pona tawa sina. tenpo ni la, ni li lon. tenpo ale la, ni li lon.

meli o toki sama tawa mije sina. meli kin o toki e ni:

mi jan Malija. sina jan Mako. tenpo suno ni la, mi wan poka sina. mi pilin pona la, mi tu li wan. mi pilin ike la, mi tu li wan. suno li seli la, mi tu li wan. telo li kama anpa la, mi tu li wan. sijelo mi li pona la, mi tu li wan. sijelo mi li pakala la, mi tu li wan. mi jo e mani mute la, mi tu li wan. mi jo e mani lili la, mi tu li wan. mi tawa poka sina. mi tu li jo e kon wan taso. mi tu li jo e sijelo wan taso. mi toki awen e ni: mi olin e sina li pali pona tawa sina. tenpo ni la, ni li lon. tenpo ale la, ni li lon.

wan pi nanpa tu

tenpo ni la jan sewi o toki e ni:

mi mute o toki sewi!

jan ale o toki sewi anu kalama musi. o toki e ni:

tenpo ale la, jan sewi lawa o lawa e ona tu.
jan sewi suno o suno lon lon pi ona tu.
jan sewi seli o pakala ala e nasin pi ona tu.
jan sewi kili o pana e pona tawa ona tu tan ni: ona tu li kama suli.
tenpo pimeja la, jan sewi mun o suno.
ona tu li tawa lon supa telo la, jan sewi telo o wawa ala.
jan sewi kon o pana e kon tawa sinpin len pi ona tu.
o lete e sinpin lawa pi ona tu.
jan sewi kasi o pana e pimeja e pona tawa ona tu.
jan sewi pi tenpo pona o pona tawa ona tu.
jan sewi pi pona lukin o,
sina lon insa pi linja sike pi anpa lawa pi kiwen jelo ni.
o wan e ona tu.
jan pi insa kiwen o lawa e ona tu.
ona tu li kama tawa poka la,
mije li kama olin e meli la,
meli li kama olin e mije la,
o pana e pona tawa ona tu.
tenpo ni la, ni o kama. tenpo ale la, ni o kama.

Smooth Translation

Text part of a marriage

Part one

Priest, put positive power into a golden neck chain. Priest, give this chain to the man. Man, put the chain on the neck of your woman. Man, say this:

I am Mako; you are Malija. This day, I unite with you. When I feel good, we two shall be united. When I feel bad, we two shall be united. When the sun shines, we two shall be united. When the rain falls, we two shall be united. When my body is healthy, we two shall be united. When my body is ill, we two shall be united. When I have much money, we two shall be united. When I have little money, we two shall be united. I will walk next to you. We two will have only one spirit. We two will have only one body. I promise this: I love you and will act well towards you. This is true now; this is true always.

Woman, talk similarly to your man. Woman, too, say this:

I am Malija; you are Mako. This day, I unite with you. When I feel good, we two shall be united. When I feel bad, we two shall be united. When the sun shines, we two shall be united. When the rain falls, we two shall be united. When my body is healthy, we two shall be united. When my body is ill, we two shall be united. When I have much money, we two shall be united. When I have little money, we two shall be united. I will walk next to you. We two will have only one spirit. We two will have only one body. I promise this: I love you and will act well towards you. This is true now; this is true always.

Part two

Now, priest, say this:

Let us pray!

Everyone, pray or sing! Say this:

Leader god, always lead these two.
Sun god, shine on the life of these two.
Fire god, do not damage the way of these two.
Fruit god, help these two, so that they can grow.
Moon god, shine during the night.
Water god, be not fierce when these two travel upon the water surface.
Air god, send wind towards the sail of these two.
Cool the face of these two.
Plant god, send shadow and help towards these two.
Fortune god, be good towards these two.
Beauty god, you are inside this golden neck chain.
Unite these two.
People on the inside of the rocks, lead these two.
When these two begin to travel together,
when the man begins to love the woman,
when the woman begins to love the man,
help these two.
This, happen now! This, happen always!

Translation from Þrjótrunn

A section of a marriage rite

(Part one)

Now the priest shall give the bridegroom the golden necklace which was blessed just now, and the bridegroom shall put it on his bride, and he shall recite thusly:

I, Markus, do bind myself to thee, Maria, from this day on, in happy and in sad times, in sun and rain, healthy and sick, rich and poor, and I shall walk together with one sole spirit and one sole body. I swear to give thee my love and my honour, now and forever.

And the bride shall say the same thing to him:

I, Maria, to bind myself to thee, Markus, from this day on, in happy and in sad times, in sun and rain, healthy and sick, rich and poor, and I shall walk together with one sole spirit and one sole body. I swear to give thee my love and my honour, now and forever.

(Part two)

Now the priest shall say:

Let us pray!

And all present shall pray or sing thusly:

Jupiter, be always clear.
Phoebus, shine in life.
Vulcanus, hinder not their path.
Ceres, help them grow.
Diana, shine during the night.
Neptune, be calm when they sail upon thy surface.
Aeolus, blow into the sails and cool their faces.
Faunus, give them shade and protection.
Fortuna, be good to them.
Venus in the golden necklace, binde them together.
Elves and hidden folk, lead them to be blessed, when they begin to walk together in love and trust.
So be it now and forever.

Grammar

First off, Toki Pona is pretty simplistic. It has no inflectional or derivational morphology, no definite or indefinite articles, and not much syntax. It doesn't even have relative clauses! This means that sometimes things can be a bit long-winded or repetitive; do not feel compelled to match the style of this text when you translate into a language with a bit more syntax.

Toki Pona has a base vocabulary of 118 words. With such a small number, each word tends to have a range of loosely-related meanings rather than one precise meaning, so the same word may have to be translated differently in different parts of the text. I'll sometimes include all the translations given in the official word list, to give you an idea of the vague area each word indicates; pick what seems appropriate.

Also, most words fall into several of what we'd call "parts of speech"; this concept is, perhaps, not entirely appropriate to Toki Pona as the boundary between noun, adjective, adverb, verb, preposition, and conjunction is often fuzzy. There are a few categories that one can assign words or meanings, to, such as {tawa} meaning "towards" or "for" when used as a "preposition", "motion, transportation" when used as a "noun", "moving, mobile" when used as a "modifier", and "go, walk, travel" when used as an "intransitive verb". Unfortunately, it's not always easy to tell at a glance which function a word fulfils in a given sentence, so a sentence can have multiple interpretations -- for example, {mi pana e tomo tawa sina} could be either

    mi    pana e     tomo tawa  sina
    pron. v.   part. n.   prep. pron.
    "I give the house to you"
or
    mi    pana e     tomo tawa sina
    pron. v.   part. n.   mod. mod.
    "I give your car"

with the first interpretation treating {tomo tawa sina} as noun, preposition, pronoun ("structure", "towards, for", "you") and the second treating it as noun plus two modifiers ("structure", "moving", "your"). You may have to try several interpretations, especially for sentences containing words such as {kama, lon, tawa}, and see which one fits best.

Copula

There is no copula. Adjectives or nouns are simply used as predicates. For example, {mi pona} is "I am good", and {mi moku} could mean "I am food" (though the more likely meaning is "I eat").

Compounds

Because of the small vocabulary, Toki Pona makes quite a bit of use of multi-word compounds or phrases.

These typically fall into the following uses:

Noun-noun compounds

Two nouns standing side by side: the second noun modifies the first. It may be helpful to insert an "of" mentally, or to switch the two around. For example, {tomo mani} (tomo = structure/"house", mani = money) is a "house of money" or a "money house" -- that is, a bank.

Noun-modifier compounds

The second component might be what the official word list classes as a "modifier"; this is most often something adjective-like.

For example, {jan pona} (jan = person, pona = good) means "a good person" or, idiomatically, "a friend". (Or, since Toki Pona has no articles or plural markers, it could also be "the friend", "friends", or "the friends".)

The use of "pi"

If I've got my terminology straight, Toki Pona is left-branching; this means that a phrase "A B C D" would group as "((A B) C) D".

If you want to change this grouping, you can use {pi}. Roughly speaking, it applies not just the next word as modifier to what came before, but several following words (often all following words).

For example, compare {tomo telo nasa} with {tomo pi telo nasa} (tomo = structure/"house", telo = water, nasa = crazy).

The first is "(house of water) crazy" or "crazy water-house" or, since "water-house" is used to mean "toilet", "crazy toilet".

The second is "house of (water crazy)" or, since "crazy water" is used to mean "alcohol", "house of alcohol" or "bar" or "pub".

The meaning of phrases containing multiple occurrences of {pi} is not defined, as far as I know; I've used it in this text in a sequence of "A B pi C D pi E F" to mean "((A B) of (C D)) of (E F)". (Rather than, say, "(A B) of ((C D) of (E F))".)

Verb-modifier compounds

In phrases where the first component is verb-like, the second and any subsequent components tend to be adverb-like.

Unofficial words

All official Toki Pona words are lower-case, even at the beginning of a sentence.

Unofficial words have an upper-case first letter, and cannot stand alone, but act like adjectives or modifiers to an official word.

In this text, this occurs only with {jan} "person" as the official word, to designate someone's name. The name has to be mangled into Toki Pona phonotactics, though (basically CV, with a fairly small set of possible C, though a word-initial V syllable is allowed and syllables can also end in "n"). For example, {jan Susan} would be "(the person named) Susan".

The use of {e} and {li}

These two grammatical particles help to figure out the syntax of sentences.

Transitive verbs take {e} before their direct object; this serves to separate the verb-like portion of such a sentence from the following noun-like portion.

The particle {li} occurs before the predicate of a sentence; it serves to separate the verb-like portion of such a sentence from a preceding noun-like portion.

As an exception, {li} is not used when the subject of a sentence is {mi} "I" or {sina} "you". Anything else, including other "pronouns" such as {ona} "he/she/it/they" or {mi mute} "we", must have {li} between it and the predicate.

Both {e} and {li} can occur multiple times in a sentence.

If there are multiple {e}, then this means that the verb has two or more objects. For example, {mi moku e kili e soweli} means "I eat fruit and meat" (moku = eat, kili = fruit or pulpy vegetable, soweli = animal or meat).

If there are multiple {li}, then this means that the subject performs two or more actions. For example, {jan li toki li utala} means "The person talks and fights" (jan = person, toki = talk, utala = fight).

Again, {li} is omitted immediately after a subject of {mi} or {sina}, so "I talk and fight" would be {mi toki li utala}.

The use of {la}

The particle {la} is about as close as Toki Pona gets to multi-clause sentences.

It has two basic uses in this text.

Temporal {la}

When the phrase before {la} is a time expression, it says when the action expressed in the main clause takes place. For example, {tenpo suno ni la, mi toki} means "I talk today" (more literally: "this sun-time la, I talk").

Conditional {la}

When the phrase before {la} is *not* a time expression, it expresses a kind of condition under which the action in the main clause takes place -- if/when in English. For example, {mi lape la, ale li pona} "When I sleep, everything is good" (lape = sleep, ale = everything, pona = good; more literally, "I sleep la, everything is good").

The use of {kama} as an "auxiliary verb"

When {kama} is used before another predicate, it means something like "start to (do/be X), begin to (do/be X), become (X)".

The use of {o}: imperatives and vocatives

Both imperatives and vocatives (addressing someone directly) use the particle {o}.

There are three cases:

Vocative

The name, or other designation, is followed by {o}, a comma, and the main sentence you want the person to hear. For example, {jan Ken o, mi pali} would mean "Ken, I'm working."

Imperative

The sentence starts off with {o} and the verb. For example, {o pali} would mean "Work!"

Vocative and imperative

If a sentence is a command addressed to a specific person, then there is only one {o} (not one for the vocative and one for the imperative), and there is *no* comma. For example, {jan Ken o pali} would mean "Ken, work!".

Numbers

Numbers are treated as modifiers, and therefore follow the noun or pronoun they modify. For example, {mi tu} "the two of us"; {sijelo wan} "one body, a body".

Similarly with {nanpa}, which forms ordinal expressions; for example, {tomo pi nanpa tu} is "house of number-two", or "the second house". (Note that this needs {pi} since {nanpa tu} is more than one word, and the entire phrase is supposed to modify {tomo}.)

Vocabulary

ala (mod) no, not, none
ale (mod) all, every, complete
anpa (n) bottom, lower part; (mod) low, lower, bottom, down
anpa lawa (n) "bottom of head": neck
kama anpa (vi) "come to be low/bottom": fall, come down
anu (conj) or
awen (mod) stationary, permanent, firm
e (part) [introduces a direct object; see Grammar]
ike (mod) bad, negative, wrong
insa (n) inside
jan (n) person, people
jan Mako (proper n) Marco [arbitrary male name; replace as appropriate]
jan Malija (proper n) Maria [arbitrary female name; replace as appropriate]
jan sewi (n) "religious person": god; priest; Note: several "jan sewi X" are mentioned in the text; feel free to replace those descriptions "god/priest of X" with appropriate proper names, if you have corresponding figures in your conworld/mythology.
jelo (mod) yellow
jo (vt) have, possess
kalama (vi) make noise
kalama musi (vi) "make artful noise": sing
kama (aux) begin to (do/be X), start to (do/be X), become (X) [see also Grammar]; (vi) come, occur, happen
kama anpa (see "anpa")
kasi (n) plant, leaf, herb, tree, wood
kili (n) fruit, pulpy vegetable
kin (mod) also, too
kiwen (n) hard thing, rock, stone, metal, mineral
kon (n) air, wind, soul
la (part) [used for temporal or conditional phrases; see Grammar]
lawa (n) head; (mod) main, leading, in charge; (vt) lead, control, guide, rule, steer
len (n) clothing, cloth, fabric
lete (vt) cool, cool down, chill
li (part) [separates subject from predicate; see Grammar]
lili (mod) small, little, short, few
linja (n) long, very thin, floppy thing, e.g. string, rope, hair, thread, cord, chain
lon (prep) be (located) in/at/on [generic locative preposition]; (vi) be real/true, exist; (n) life, existence
lukin (mod) visual(ly); see also "pona"
mani (n) money
meli (n) woman, female, girl, wife, girlfriend
mi (pron) I, me; we, us; (mod) my, our
mi mute (pron) we, us; (mod) our
mi tu (pron) we (two), the two of us; (mod) our, belonging to us two
mije (n) man, male, boy, husband, boyfriend
mun (n) moon
musi (mod) artful, fun, recreational; see also "kalama"
mute (mod) many, very, much, several; see also "mi"
nanpa (mod) -th [ordinal numbers]
nanpa wan (mod) "1-th": first
nanpa tu (mod) "2-th": second
nasin (n) way, road, path
ni (mod) this, that
o (part) [used for vocatives and imperatives; see Grammar]
olin (vt) love (a person)
ona (pron) she, he, it, they
ona tu (pron) they, these two, those two
pakala (vt) mess up, break, ruin, hurt, injure, damage, spoil; (vi) be messed up, broken, sick
pali (vi) act, work
pana (vt) give, put, place, send
pana e X tawa Y (often translatable as) give X to Y
pana e kon (vi) "send air": blow, breathe (out)
pana e pona (idiom) "give goodness": help, bless
pi (part) [used for grouping of multi-word phrases; see Grammar]
pilin (vi) feel
pilin ike (vi) "feel bad-ly": feel bad, feel unhappy
pilin pona (vi) "feel good-ly": feel good, feel happy
pimeja (mod) dark, black (see also "tenpo"); (n) darkness, shadow, shade
poka (prep) (together) with, in the accompaniment of
pona (n) good, goodness; (mod) good, well, positive(ly); (vi) be good
pona lukin (n) "visual goodness": beauty; (mod) "good visually": beautiful
sama (mod) same, similar(ly)
seli (n) fire; (vi) be hot, warm
sewi (n) high, up, top; (mod) superior, religious, formal; see also "jan" and "toki"
sijelo (n) body
sike (n) circle, wheel, sphere, ball; (mod) round
sina (pron) you; (mod) your
sinpin (n) front, face, wall
sinpin len (n) "wall of cloth": sail
suli (vi) be big, tall, long, adult, important
suno (n) sun, light; see also "tenpo"; (vi) shine
supa (n) horizontal surface
tan (prep) because of
taso (mod) only, sole
tawa (vi) go, walk, travel, move; (prep) to, towards, for, on behalf of; see also "pana"
telo (n) water
tenpo (n) time, period of time
tenpo ni (n) "this time": now
tenpo suno (n) "sun-time": day
tenpo suno ni (n) "this sun-time": today
toki (vt) say
toki awen (vt) "say permanently": promise, swear, vow
toki sewi (vi) "say religiously": pray
tu (mod) two; see also "mi", "nanpa"
wan (mod) one; (n) unit, element, part; (vi) unite, be united, be one, marry; (vt) unite, make one, marry
wawa (n) energy, strength, power; (vi) be energetic, strong, fierce, intense

Abbreviations

conj conjunction
mod modifier (often adverb-y or adjective-y)
n noun
part grammatical particle
prep preposition
vi intransitive verb
vt transitive verb (usually takes a direct object with {e})

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February 19th, 2007
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