Number systems

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This is a list of number systems used in or proposed for Toki Pona. In large part because the main number systems are intentionally limited, constructing alternative systems is a common project for tinkerers with the language.

Additive number systems[edit | edit source]

Additive number systems or sign-value notation represents numbers using a sequence of numerals which each represent a distinct, usually smaller, quantity. For example, the numeral "10" may be said as "five five". Examples in natural languages include the Roman and Egyptian numerals.

Pre-pu number systems[edit | edit source]

A system created before the publication consists only of the words wan ("one") and tu ("two"). Larger numbers consist of adding these two numbers. This is similar to counting in Gumulgal, an Australian Aboriginal language.[1]

tu tu tu wan

tu tu tu wan

seven (2 + 2 + 2 + 1)

pu number systems[edit | edit source]

There are two standard number systems shown in the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good, both of which are additive.[2] jan Sonja provides the words ala (zero), wan (one), tu (two), mute (three or more, "many"), and ale (infinity, "countless").

Another system provided by jan Sonja, used for complex and precise counting, consists of the words wan (1), tu (2), luka (5), mute (20), and ale (100). This system however, can be ambiguous. For example, the phrase len luka tu may mean "seven pieces of clothing" or "two gloves".

luka tu

luka tu

seven (5 + 2)

mute mute mute luka luka luka tu wan

mute mute mute luka luka luka tu wan

78 (20 + 20 + 20 + 20 + 5 + 5 + 5 + 2 + 1)

It was proposed for ali, a variant of ale, to chiefly stand for the number 100.[citation needed]

Positional number systems[edit | edit source]

Seximal[edit | edit source]

A seximal (base 6) positional system uses these digit words. The words for 3 and 4 are generally considered nonstandard; this system is a notable place where they may occur.

Digit Word
0 ala
1 wan
2 tu
3 tuli or san
4 po or neja
5 luka

The word kulupu or a dedicated shortening, kulu, is used for six, which is not a digit as it takes the role of 106 by definition.

nasin nanpa kijetesantakalu[edit | edit source]

nasin nanpa kijetesantakalu is a joke seximal number system created by soweli nata in 2020, where each digit is kijetesantakalu with a different stressed syllable.

Hybrid number systems[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Harris, John (1987). Australian Aboriginal and Islander mathematics (PDF). Australian Aboriginal Studies.
  2. Lang, Sonja (2014). Toki Pona: The Language of Good. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292300. OCLC 921253340.
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