sitelen pona radicals

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In sitelen pona, a radical is a recurring graphical component across multiple glyphs.

The radical-based analysis was invented[where? by whom?] after the initial set of glyphs was published in Toki Pona: The Language of Good. Some of these elements were clearly intended, such as the emitters initially representing pana-like concepts, the triangle shape representing colors, and the incorporation of luka (the hand radical) representing manual actions. Other proposed radicals may be coincidental or questionably meaningful, such as acknowledgments of shared glyph "etymologies". For example, markers of non-declarative sentences have been analyzed as having a punctuation stem radical, but perhaps it is more direct to say that these glyphs are each based on Latin punctuation.

The term is taken from radicals of Chinese characters, which dictionaries use to sort words. This comparison has been disputed. While there have been attempts to group sitelen pona glyphs by common features, there is no standard collation, and glyphs are most often sorted alphabetically by the words' sitelen Lasina spellings. Radicals are more often used for shape-based input methods, comparable to Cangjie. In addition, not every sitelen pona glyph is considered to contain a radical, and some have multiple that are considered with equal or unclear priority.


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In 2020, radicals were used as the basis of the Wakalito input method.

Table of radicals

Description Shape Examples
pu glyphs Other
Arrow ni ni nasin tan
Arrowhead li li e lili suli
Box (closed) lipu lipu sitelen sona pakala pu len ku ju lu nu su u
Box (open) poki poki anpa insa monsi open poka sinpin sewi2
Circle (thing) ijo ijo kulupu toki pali kokosila1
Circle (head) jan jo lape lawa mama mani meli mijemoli mu wawa lanpan1
Cross ala ala en ma moli nanpa pimeja utala kalamARR kapesi kapesi2
Dot (location) 󱦜 anpa insa lon monsi poka sinpin meso2 sewi2 kipisi lanpan
Dot (disambiguator) seli uta
Dot (o-mouth) mu suwi olala
Dots (eyes) akesi lukin pipi soweli waso kala2 kijetesantakalu oko misa misa2 misa3 misa4 misa5 misa6 wasoweli jonke kikolo lokon matula opasan owe pipo poni silapa sisi sipije snoweli sowoli sutopatikuna waken
kalamapanaselisinsonatoki kokosila namako1 mu2 olin2 isipin kulijo kuntu linluwi2 usawi jonke omekapo peta tona yutu
Hammer ilo ilo kepeken
Hand (flat) luka luka kepeken moku pali pana
Hand (pointing) sina mi sina ona
Heart pilin pilin olin wile2 melome mijomi
Mouth (closed) pona ponaike epiku2
Mouth (open) uta2 kalama moku uta uta2 kuntu
Legs tawa kama tawa awen
Punctuation stem ! a o seme kin n wa je
Tally mark | wan tu mute nanpa
Triangle (color) jelo kule laso loje pimeja walo unu nalanja kapesi kapesi2 peta tona
Wavy line linja linja kon telo jasima linluwi linluwi2