From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
(Redirected from Secular sewi)
sewi in sitelen pona
sewi in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈse.wi/
Usage 2023: Core (99% ↘︎ )2022: Core (100%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥚 U+F195A

sewi is a core content word, used as a spatial word, relating to something physically elevated, and figuratively, to the sacred and divine.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word sewi is derived from Georgian ზევით (zevit), meaning "upwards".[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of sewi, when used as a direction word, includes upwards and things physically elevated.

telo li kama tan sewi2

telo li kama tan sewi.

The water is coming from the sky.
It is raining.

When used figuratively, its semantic space includes divinity and sacredness. It is used as a headnoun for gods, such as sewi Ila[a] for Allah, as well as jan sewi for anthropomorphic gods, however, this can also mean "devoted person", such as a practitioner or a religious leader.[2]

mama pi (mi mute) o   sina lon sewi kon

mama pi mi mute o, sina lon sewi kon.

Our Father, who art in heaven. (Lord's Prayer)

It is sometimes used to refer to north[citation needed] as upwards is the conventional direction as shown in most maps. However, this is often proscribed as it leads to ambiguity, and other words, such as lete, are more commonly used.

pu[edit | edit source]

In the "Official Toki Pona Dictionary" section, the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good defines sewi as:

NOUN  area above, highest part, something elevated
ADJECTIVE  awe-inspiring, divine, sacred, supernatural

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as sewi:[3]

divine5, upper5, sacred4, top4, holy4, sky4, elevated4, high3, spiritual3, raise3, supreme3, highly3, peak3, God2, rise2, above2, superior2, magical2, summit2, weather2, upstairs2, religious2, arise2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

Arabic word for "Allah"

The main sitelen pona glyph for sewi (󱥚), as featured in the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good is derived from Arabic الله (Allāh), meaning "God". This variant is sometimes referred to as pu-style sewi or Arabic sewi.

Some Muslims reject the original glyph in pu in favor of the following secular form,[4] as Allah is considered a sacred name, to which Muslims are supposed to show reverence. Several alternate glyphs for sewi have been proposed, both religious (derived from other religious symbols) and secular.[5]

Secular sewi[edit | edit source]

Secular version of sewi as shown in the Esperanto translation of pu

An alternative glyph (sewi2), often called secular sewi, is derived from an upside-down open box radical with a location dot placed above it, by analogy with other spatial word glyphs—anpa, insa, monsi, sinpin, poka. This version was first proposed by ilo Enke in 2021.[6] According to lipamanka, it is a multiple invention that was since proposed several times independently.[7]

Secular sewi was first published in the 2022 Esperanto translation of the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good. In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Toki Pona edition), jan Sonja used it specifically for the nonreligious senses of sewi ("upper, top, high, sky, above"), using the original glyph for spiritual senses ("divine, sacred, God").[8]

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

The sitelen sitelen glyph for sewi (sewi) depicts a one-eyed figure looking upwards.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. In section "Proper Names" in the original publication of the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good, the preferred tokiponization given by Sonja Lang for Allah was jan sewi Ila, using the Arabic word إله (ʾilāh), meaning "[a] god", to avoid confusion with jan ala. Lang has since retracted this part and requested it to be removed from mirrors of the book, such as in lipu pi jan Ne.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Word Origins". Archived from the original on 8 August 2002.
  2. lipamanka. "toki pona dictionary".
  3. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 339.
  4. jan Juwan [@juwan.]. (21 October 2023). [Informal poll posted in the #sona-kulupu channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Data retrieved 27 October 2023.
    Are you Muslim and do you prefer the secular or pu form of sewi?
    Options Votes
    I am Muslim and prefer the secular version 3
    I am Muslim and prefer the pu version 1
    I am not Muslim and prefer the secular version 15
    I am not Muslim and prefer the pu version 46
  5. jan Salinsen [@starlingmelody]. (20 April 2023). [Message posted in the #99 glyphs for sewi thread in the #toki-suli channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  6. ilo Enke [@the_whatevers]. (20 February 2021). [Message posted in the #pali-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. "sewi is anpa but the other way and ete is like a closed box with a dot on top (see linja-suwi)".
  7. lipamanka [@lipamanka]. (21 June 2024). [Message posted in the #unicode channel in the ma pi nasin sitelen Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 25 June 2024. "sewi (secular) - this one was also coined separately several times".
  8. Sonja Lang. (6 January 2024). "Pre-Release Notes on the su Style of sitelen pona". Archived from the original on 17 January 2024. (Mirrored on 10 February 2024.)

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Wikipesija has a Toki Pona article on