Parts of speech

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki

A part of speech is a category of words that have shared grammatical properties.

While the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good defined words according to English-like parts of speech, they have always been interchangeable between the roles of nouns, verbs, and adjectives. That is, English-style parts of speech mostly only affect words' semantic spaces rather than their grammatical properties, and may be thought of as classes within a single "content word" part of speech.

The following classification for Toki Pona was first proposed on r/tokipona subreddit by user u/pisceyo (kala kala),[1] and recommended by the Toki Pona Dictionary.[2] It is more widely accepted than the previous classification.

Classification[edit | edit source]

content word
A type of word with semantic value (meaning). It may act as the head or modifier of a content phrase and be used in the predicate.
A type of word which performs grammatical or syntactic functions and lacks semantic value or capacity to take on another part of speech.

Word classes[edit | edit source]

A content word that can introduce a prepositional phrase when other content words follow it. Its preposition sense may have a different meaning from its general content word sense. In standard Toki Pona, prepositional phrases are not marked with any particle.
A content word that can be placed before the main verb of a sentence (or before another preverb). Its preverb sense may have a different meaning from its general content word sense. Preverbs generally make distinctions in grammatical mood or aspect. In standard Toki Pona, preverbs are not marked with any particle (see Preverb marking).
name or proper adjective
A content word that represents a name or loanword. In standard Toki Pona, a name is a modifier that requires a common content word before it, instead of being a proper noun. It is specially marked depending on the writing system: capitalized in sitelen Lasina, written in a cartouche in sitelen pona, and written as syllable glyphs in a cartouche in sitelen sitelen.
A content word that expresses a numeric value. Its number sense may have a different meaning from its general content word sense. In a well-known number system, adjacent numbers are added up instead of acting as modifiers.
A type of word that acts like a particle, but has semantic value (meaning) or can also be used as a content word.
A type of word or phrase that is used outside of a full sentence, as an exclamation or phatic expression.

See also[edit | edit source]

English Wikipedia has an article on
parts of speech.
  • Glossary, a dictionary of terms that describe English and Toki Pona grammar

References[edit | edit source]

  1. kala kala [u/pisceyo]. (8 October 2019). "Toki Pona Analysis: Parts of Speech". Reddit.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. pp. 4–5.