From sona pona, the English–Toki Pona wiki
Caution: This subject is nonstandard and may not be understood by most speakers.

Reduplication is repeating a word exactly or almost exactly to form a new word or phrase. In English, it occurs in words like "bye-bye" and "zigzag", in contrastive focus reduplication, and with "schm-".

Reduplication has often been suggested for Toki Pona, generally as an intensifier (for example, suwi suwi for "really cute"). However, it is not widely used, with a, mute, and suli being used for emphasis instead. It is occasionally not clear whether a repeated modifier is being used as an intensifier or as simply an ordinary word.

len ona li pimeja pimeja 

len ona li pimeja pimeja.[1]

Their clothes were blackest black/black-on-black/very black (literally, "black black")

Other times, simply interpreting the second word as an ordinary modifier is adequate to understand the sentence.

jan ilo mute mute li pali lon ona!

jan ilo mute mute li pali lon ona![2]

Many many programmers worked on it!

A potential ambiguity of this feature would be the phrase lili lili. This is reported as being used by 1-10% of respondents in ku to mean "minimum."[3] Under current standard grammar, it means "a little small". If read as reduplicated, it would also mean "very small", becoming an auto-antonym.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. jan Kepe. (8 December 2023). "Nasi". Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  2. jan Kepe. (15 July 2023). "Nasi". Retrieved 10 November 2023.
  3. Lang, Sonja (2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 123, 266.