Toki Ponglish

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Caution: The subject of this article is nonstandard and will not be understood by most speakers.
If you are a learner, this information will not help you speak the language. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the standard style, and to be informed and selective about which nonstandard styles you adopt.

Toki Ponglish (/ˈpo(ʊ)ŋɡlɪʃ/, /pɔŋ-/) is a form of code-switching used between speakers who are proficient in and comfortable with both Toki Pona and English. It is generally used somewhat humorously, to build rapport, or to preserve the flow of a conversation between languages. It occurs in English-speaking Toki Pona communities like ma pona pi toki pona.

Features[edit | edit source]

This is not an exhaustive or prescriptive list of features; it is purely meant to describe common patterns. Different speakers may exhibit or prefer different traits in Toki Ponglish speech. Do not use this section as a guide or rulebook.

Toki Ponglish is often written in all lowercase like sitelen Lasina, for consistency between the languages.

Grammatical particles and structures tend to be loaned from Toki Pona. la is very often used as a topic marker, even within otherwise fully English text. The presence of other particles may relate to the language of the word that the particle would directly mark. That is, if the main verb is an English word, li might not accompany it, for example.

Toki Ponglish frequently mixes and calques common phrases from each language, such as tawa mi, and or what from anu seme.

The vocative particle o is often used after English names, prefixing them to sentences.

English words may be uninflected, for consistency with Toki Pona morphology.

The limited class of modifiers and semiparticles that are extended to follow Toki Pona preverbs and prepositions, like a, kin, taso, ala, lili, and mute, are more often applied to English words as well.

In adept Toki Ponglish, borrowing lexemes from the other language may happen frequently in both directions.

Concerns[edit | edit source]

Some tokiponists[who?] have expressed concern about dropping words from other languages into predominantly Toki Pona speech, as it could become an unhelpful dependency for learners, or contribute to the misconception that Toki Pona is not a "real" or "complete" language.