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n in sitelen pona
n in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /n/
Usage 2023: Common4, Widespread6 (70% ↗︎ )2022: Common (68%)
Book and era nimi ku suli (post-pu)
Part of speech Particle
Codepoint 󱦆 U+F1986

n is an interjection and nimi ku suli used to represent any filler word or humming sound, such as "um", "mmm", or "hmm".

It is often used to indicate being absorbed in thoughts, recognition, or agreement. n is frequently written with multiple letters (e.g. "nnn...") to indicate a drawn out sound.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word n was coined by kala kala.[1][better source needed][when?]

Pronunciation[edit | edit source]

The word n violates Toki Pona's strict phonotactics. Speakers still accept this because they may consider it easy to pronounce or technically not a word in the first place but an onomatopoeia. n does not have to be pronounced /n/ but can stand in for any hum or nasal sound, regardless of phonotactics. Some compare the word n to the coda nasal.

Definitions[edit | edit source]

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as n:[2]

um3, mmm2, hmm2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for n (󱦆)[by whom? when?] is composed of the punctuation stem and the lowercase Latin letter n. The glyph is sometimes drawn without the letter's left stem (n), making the lower part look just like the glyph for nena. The punctuation stem can be drawn upright (n) or at a diagonal (n). Compare the glyphs for a, kin, and o.

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

An alternative method to write a drawn out nnn, shown here on top of a comma.

The sitelen sitelen word glyph for n is composed of a "n" syllable container (N) with an uta radical that is also used in the glyph for the word a (a).

The unmodified word glyph can be used for both a short n and a drawn out nnn. To explicitly make the word drawn out, it is also possible to tuck multiple "n" syllable containers behind the word glyph.

The glyph was designed by jan Josan in 2021 with input from lon Mona and jan Pensa.[3] Right after the current design was first proposed, jan Pensa and Skymandr simultaneously proposed the same method for writing a drawn out nnn.[4]

Like with any monosyllabic word, the word n may also optionally be written with the syllable glyph it was inspired by (N).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 24.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 292.
  3. jan Josan. (26 July 2021). [Message posted in the sitelen sitelen group on Telegram]. Telegram. Archived from the original on 17 May 2024.
  4. jan Pensa and Skymandr. (26 July 2021). [Proposal by jan Pensa] and [Proposal by Skymandr], both posted at 17:51 UTC in the sitelen sitelen group on Telegram. Archived from the original here and here on 17 May 2024.

Further reading[edit | edit source]