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ala in sitelen pona
ala in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Core (100% → )2022: Core (100%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Semiparticle, number, content word
Codepoint 󱤂 U+F1902

ala is a core semiparticle used for negation and a content word relating to nothingness, as well as the number zero.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word ala is derived from Georgian არა (ara), meaning "no, not".[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of ala includes nothingness or the absence of anything. Modifying another word, it "reverses the semantic space" of it, that is, whatever the head word contains, the semantic space with ala contains the inverse of it.[2]

ala li lon poki ni

ala li lon poki ni.

There is nothing in the cup.
The cup is empty.

As a transitive verb, it may refer to causing to become nothing, such as removing or erasing.

o ala e toki ni

o ala e toki ni.

Delete this comment.

When used as a number, ala refers to the number zero.

pu[edit | edit source]

In the "Official Toki Pona Dictionary" section, the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good defines ala as:

ADJECTIVE  no, not, zero

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as ala:[3]

not5, none5, zero5, no5, nothing5, neither3, nor2, hardly2

Function[edit | edit source]

The word ala as a particle is used to negate a word, phrase, or sentence.

soweli li wile ala e kili

soweli li wile ala e kili.

The monkey does not want fruit.

Tag questions[edit | edit source]

The word ala is used to form a yes–no question, by repeating the main word in the predicate, with the it between the repetitions.

sina moku ala moku

sina moku ala moku?

Do you eat? (literally, "you eat not/eat?")

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for ala (󱤂) is a diagonal cross similar to the letter "X", a crosslinguistic symbol for negation and, in sports, failure. The glyph is sometimes used as an extended glyph {ijo}ala(ijo) that continues below the repeated word.

ona li {pona}ala(pona) tawa sina

ona li pona ala pona tawa sina?

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

The sitelen sitelen glyph for ala represents an X cross inside a square.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Word Origins. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Toki Pona.
  2. lipamanka. "toki pona dictionary".
  3. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 199.

Further reading[edit | edit source]