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ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) is a character encoding standard updated from 1963 to 1986, and a precursor to Unicode.

ASCII features only 128 codepoints, many of which are control characters, and its 94 printable characters are limited to the basic Latin alphabet (the 26 letters also comprising the English alphabet) and symbols on the United States keyboard layout. This character set is the basis of several Toki Pona projects, due to its availability compared to specialized keyboards and input methods.

Printable ASCII characters
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
2x SP ! " # $ % & ' ( ) * + , - . /
3x 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 : ; < = > ?
4x @ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O
5x P Q R S T U V W X Y Z [ \ ] ^ _
6x ` a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o
7x p q r s t u v w x y z { | } ~ DEL

In writing systems[edit | edit source]

Multiple Toki Pona writing systems have been based on ASCII.

sitelen akesi

is an ASCII-compatible adaptation of sitelen pona. Glyphs may be represented as one or more characters.

jan Misali 's toki pona ASCII syllabary assigns each phonotactically allowed syllable in Toki Pona to a single ASCII character.

In fonts[edit | edit source]

ASCII transcription[edit | edit source]

Sample output of a sitelen pona font with ASCII transcription
Rich text Plain text
m m
mu mu
mut mut
mute mute

Many fonts for original Toki Pona writing systems include a feature called ASCII transcription,[1] where a run of characters typed in sitelen Lasina is visually substituted with a single glyph. This simulates the effects of an IME without the need to install software beyond the font, but unlike these, it does not actually replace the underlying text. Other ASCII characters are commonly used for additional features in the writing system or font, such as the hyphen (-) being used for sitelen pona combined glyphs.

ASCII transcription works like automatic Latin ligatures, where multiple glyphs are visually substituted with one.

This feature uses OpenType ligatures. It works in the same way that some Latin-script fonts convert the letters ffi into a ligature that looks like the single glyph , but is actually still 3 underlying characters.

As a result, when ASCII transcription is used, the underlying characters are still ASCII-compatible instead of being converted to other codepoints. This may or may not be desired. You can confirm the difference by copying the rich text below, and pasting it into a plain text environment such as Windows Notepad or a search bar.

Rich text Plain text Comparison
ASCII transcription toki-pona toki-pona
  • Falls back to legible sitelen Lasina
  • Writing system not specified
  • Less standardization for font features
UCSUR encoding 󱥬‍󱥔 󱥬‍󱥔
  • Falls back to illegible small rectangles (colloquially "tofu")
  • Writing system specified as sitelen pona
  • More standardization for font features

Fonts with ASCII transcription may help with memorizing words, as the substitution will only occur when the word is spelled correctly, and in logographies (such as sitelen pona) the resulting glyph often relates to the word's meaning.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "nimi Linku". Google Sheets. Retrieved 17 January 2024.