Common lexicalizations

    From sona pona

    An important part of toki pona philosophy is that the speaker must think about what something is at its core before they can talk about it. Fixed phrases for specific things (also known as lexicalizations) are frowned upon, as they sidestep that aspect, while also forcing other speakers to memorize such combinations and making it difficult to use them to refer to other things. Nonetheless, some lexicalizations do creep into common usage. This page aims to catalog them and provide ideas for alternatives (which doesn't mean you shouldn't try to think of your own).

    Featured in pu[edit | edit source]

    toki pona[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: the language of good by Sonja Lang

    Alternatives: toki ni, toki pi jan Sonja, toki lili, toki pi nimi lili

    Notes: Same goes for sitelen pona and such.

    tomo tawa[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: car

    Alternatives: ilo tawa, poki tawa, soweli ilo

    Notes: Funnily enough, pu uses this as part of a call not to lexicalize, proposing ilo tawa from the perspective of a driver and kiwen tawa for a near-hit pedestrian.

    telo nasa[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: alcoholic drink

    Alternatives: telo pan, telo ike, telo pona

    jan pona[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: friend

    Alternatives: jan poka, jan olin (for close friends), jan mi

    jan lili[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: child

    Alternatives: jan kili (if as in offspring), jan sin (if as in young)

    Time phrases[edit | edit source]

    tenpo [suno/esun/mun/sike][edit | edit source]

    Meaning: day/week/month/year

    Alternatives: sike [], []

    tenpo pini[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: past

    Alternatives: tenpo majuna, tenpo tan, tenpo weka

    tenpo ni[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: present

    Alternatives: tenpo lon, tenpo mi

    tenpo kama[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: future

    Alternatives: tenpo sin, tenpo tawa, tenpo pi sona ala

    Other[edit | edit source]

    ma pona[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: the Discord server ma pona pi toki pona

    Alternatives: ma ni, ma pi suli nanpa wan, ma pi akesi Jan

    jan sin[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: newbie, especially in a toki pona context

    Alternatives: jan pi kama sona, jan pi sona lili

    nimi sin[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: word created after pu/ku, or worse: any word not in a given official set (including ones created before it)

    Alternatives: nimi namako, nimi pi [pu/ku] ala, nimi nasa

    kasi nasa[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: marijuana and its derivatives such as edibles, vapes

    Alternatives: moku nasa, moku pi lawa weka, kasi pi pilin nasa, kasi pi wile moku

    pana sona[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: to teach, teaching, education

    Alternatives: "mi pana e sona," "sina kama sona tan mi"

    soweli tomo[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: pet

    Alternatives: soweli pona, soweli poka, soweli mi, soweli jan

    ken la[edit | edit source]

    Meaning: maybe

    Alternatives: ni li ken