Benefits and applications

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Toki Pona has many alleged benefits and applications. These are often cited as reasons to learn the language.

Managing thoughts[edit | edit source]

Toki Pona was created to help manage thoughts during depression, and its therapeutic applications have been studied in professional contexts. In 2007, Pekka Roponen, working as a psychiatrist in Finland, had patients track their thoughts in Toki Pona and claimed that "negative thought patterns and cognitions can be transferred and eliminated by simply using the language."[1]

According to jan Sonja, the lack of superfluity in Toki Pona can make it useful for problem-solving: "It helps you see patterns, and how things are connected in different ways".[1]

Simplifying speech[edit | edit source]

Toki Pona can often simplify manners of speech, requiring that the speaker provide a clear explanation of nontrivial concepts. This may have applications in literary and communication fields.

On the wiki formerly hosted at tokipona.org, jan Sonja suggested that this lack of "jargon or fluff" could even be used to reveal the honest meaning of "the doublespeak that large organizations use to manipulate and dehumanize people".[2]

Conveying thoughts[edit | edit source]

Language strategies[edit | edit source]

According to an experiment by Paolo Coluzzi while teaching Italian at the University of Malaya, Toki Pona can improve speakers' circumlocution and other communication strategies when learning additional languages. Use of these strategies makes up for unknown or forgotten words and expressions in the unfamiliar language.[3]

Toki Pona has also been proposed as a microcosm of the language learning experience that is easier to accomplish than learning a full natural language.

Teaching strategies[edit | edit source]

According to jan Kekan San, Toki Pona can improve teaching skill, because the context-building structure of its discourse reflects the teaching process.[4]

Computer science[edit | edit source]

Toki Pona has been studied in computer science. The Robot Interaction Language was initially based on Toki Pona; according to tests in 2010, the modified Toki Pona vocabulary outperformed English in speech recognition accuracy.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

Original text related to this article:
  1. 1.0 1.1 Roberts, Siobhan. (9 July 2007). "Canadian has people talking about lingo she created". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 28 December 2023.
  2. "What is Toki Pona?". Toki Pona. Archived from the original on 4 December 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2024.

    A classic example of this can be seen when translating to plain English the doublespeak that large organizations use to manipulate and dehumanize people:

    "downsizing" mass firing of employees
    "collateral damage" killing of civilians
    "pre-emptive war" invasion of a foreign country

    Toki Pona eliminates this excess jargon or fluff and instead points to the centre and nature of things. It can become a sort of "yoga for the mind". Instead of getting caught in negative thoughts and anxiety, you learn to relax, meditate and explore your relationship to life itself. Many of these principles were inspired by Taoism, which values a simple, honest life and non-interference with the natural flow of things, as well as other spiritual paths.

  3. Coluzzi, Paolo. (3 June 2022). "How learning Toki Pona may help improving communication strategies in a foreign or second language". Language Problems and Language Planning. 46 (1): pp. 78–98. doi:10.1075/lplp.00086.col.
  4. (27 March 2024). "From ‘The Lord of the Rings’ to ‘Dune,’ a look at the world of constructed languages". The Colin McEnroe Show. Connecticut Public. Retrieved 29 March 2024.

    jan Kekan San: My perspective is that Toki Pona makes you a better teacher in that way, because the process of teaching is, we have a complex idea, we break it down into its parts, and we communicate those parts and then help whoever we're teaching to rebuild that idea. Toki Pona works the same way, except the language doesn't hide that fact from you. Just, the only pieces in the language are the pieces of the idea that you need to reassemble. All conversation in Toki Pona is a bit of teaching, in that way.

  5. Mubin, Omar; Bartneck, Christoph; Feijs, Loe (2010). "Towards the Design and Evaluation of ROILA: A Speech Recognition Friendly Artificial Language". Advances in Natural Language Processing. Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Vol. LNCS 6233/2010. pp. 250–256. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-14770-8_28.