tonsi

lipu pona: This is a good article.
lipu pona: This is a good article.
From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
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tonsi in sitelen pona
tonsi in sitelen sitelen
Person at a pride march, wearing a nonbinary flag as a cape. In the background, another person holds a transgender flag.
Person at a pride march, wearing a nonbinary flag as a cape. In the background, another person holds a transgender flag.
Pronunciation /ˈton.si/ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Widespread (83% ↘︎ )2022: Widespread (86%)
Book and era nimi ku suli (post-pu, "honorary nimi pu")
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥾 U+F197E

tonsi is a widespread content word and nimi ku suli mainly relating to non-binary gender. It is coordinate with meli for femininity and mije for masculinity.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word tonsi is derived from Mandarin Chinese 同志 (tóngzhì, lit. "same will"), meaning "kindred spirit" or "comrade", with neologistic senses of "gay" and "queer (person)". tonsi was coined in 2019 by jan inwin as a proposal for a nimi sin for non-binary identity.[1] It was informally voted on in a series of polls in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server.[2]

The semantic space of tonsi originally proposed was broader than the currently accepted version. It meant "to break normative boundaries", and with jan would refer to nonbinary folks. tonsi was also not the original form of the word, as there were several other proposals.[3][4]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of tonsi includes non-binary gender identity and gender non-conformity.

tonsi is also sometimes used with the broader, alternative meaning of transgender. This is contentious as some non-binary people do not identify with the trans label, and they and binary trans people may not want their specific experiences to be conflated. Due to the core definition of tonsi, describing binary trans people as meli tonsi or mije tonsi might be construed to imply that they are not fully women or men, especially as there is no coordinate term to specify cisgender meli and mije.

According to the data in the Toki Pona Dictionary, tonsi has also been used to describe intersexuality.[5]

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as tonsi:[5]

non-binary person3, transgender person3, gender non-conforming person3, intersex person2

Adoption[edit | edit source]

The speaking community widely considers tonsi to be a crucial addition to Toki Pona, referring to it as an honorary nimi pu to give it equal consideration to meli and mije in spite of pu-rism. In the "Notes on lipu pu" section of the Toki Pona Dictionary, jan Sonja endorses the effort:[6]

At this point, meli and mije have been taught. A third word, tonsi, has been created by the community of Toki Pona speakers in a grassroots project, and I support it. See the dictionary part of this book for definitions.

This does not mean that all non-binary and gender non-conforming people identify with tonsi. Beyond personal opinions about self-description with the word, some speakers also reject using tonsi by virtue of avoiding gender words altogether.

The Esperanto and German editions of the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good mention tonsi alongside the other nimi ku suli. As of the the 2023 Linku survey, tonsi is used by 1%pt. more speakers (83% of respondents) than meli or mije (each 82%).

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for tonsi in the colors of the non-binary flag

The sitelen pona glyph for tonsi (󱥾) is derived from the transgender symbol (⚧). The glyph was chosen by a poll on Reddit, decided from a total of 13 proposals.[7][8] The original creator of the glyph is unknown. According to kala Asi at the time of making the poll, she encountered it and made a stylized version herself.[9][10]

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

Glpyh depicting a
The sitelen sitelen glyph for tonsi in the colors of the non-binary flag, featured in lipu tenpo nanpa akesi
jan Josan's prototype sketches for the tonsi glyph in sitelen sitelen

The sitelen sitelen glyph for tonsi was added in 2020.[11][12] It is derived from the glyph for kule and the syllable glyph for "to", with the bottom part being the same as in the glyphs for meli, mije, and the newer variant of mama.[13]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. jan inwin [@orsetto]. (17 July 2019). [Message posted in the #sona-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.
  2. jan inwin [@orsetto]. (18 July 2019). [Message posted in the #sona-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.

    let's redo the vote between the 2
    1️⃣ mapu ← Hawaiʻian māhū
    2️⃣ tonsi ← Mandarin tóngzhì 同志

    Option Votes
    mapu 1
    tonsi 5
  3. jan inwin [@orsetto]. (17 July 2019). [Message posted in the #sona-pona channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 31 January 2024.

    we were thinking the word could generally mean “break normative boundaries” or the like, but w words like jan it would mean nonbinary, & with meli/mije could specify trans women/men
    like
    pali mapu/soka(/whatever word we ultimately choise) could mean radical activism or smthg
    utala soka/mapu - r e v o l u t i o n

  4. jan inwin [@orsetto]. (17 July 2019). [Message posted in the #sona-pona channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 31 January 2024.

    on it's own [tonsi] will mean "nonbinary/gender-non-conforming" (or even more generally, "breaking normative boundaries")
    when applied to other gender words it can mean different flavors of "trans"

  5. 5.0 5.1 Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 381.
  6. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 6.
  7. kala Asi [u/AcipenserSturio]. (10 May 2020). "Survey: how would you rank these glyphs for "tonsi"?". Reddit. Retrieved 31 January 2024.
  8. kala Asi [u/AcipenserSturio]. (19 May 2020). "Survey results: how much people liked/disliked these glyph ideas for "tonsi" (n = 49)". Reddit. Retrieved 31 January 2024.
  9. kala Asi [@kala_asi]. (10 May 2020). [Message posted in the #toki-pona channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.
  10. kala Asi [@kala_asi]. (10 May 2020). [Message posted in the #toki-pona channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.
  11. Jonathan Gabel. (5 September 2021). "Designing glyphs - sitelen suwi pi nimi ku suli". jonathangabel.com. Retrieved 20 November 2023. "And tonsi was added last year".
  12. Jonathan Gabel. "Gender and Identity". jonathangabel.com. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  13. Jonathan Gabel [@janjosan]. (10 August 2020). [Message posted in the #tpt-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 8 February 2024. "mi pali e sitelen tawa nimi tonsi. ona mute li lon lipu ni. seme lon anpa li pona tawa sina? [image]".

Further reading[edit | edit source]