Videos by non-Tokiponists

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This is a list of videos about Toki Pona by non-Tokiponists (people outside of the community who do not speak the language). Most of these videos consist of introducing the basics of the language. They may be problematic as they may contain factually incorrect or outdated information, contributing to common misconceptions. Many also exaggerate how quickly Toki Pona can be learned.

List of videos by non-Tokiponists[edit | edit source]

Corrections[edit | edit source]

Half as Interesting[edit | edit source]

On 15 December 2022, Sam Denby from the YouTube channel Half as Interesting uploaded the video "Toki Pona: The Language You Can Learn in a Day", [1] which contains many factual errors, as acknowledged by the creator.[2]

  • "nimi mi li Sam."
This structure for names is in pu, but it's still somewhat controversial. A more common way of saying it would be mi jan Sam. Additionally, as the name "Sam" does not fit into Toki Pona's phonotactics, it would be usually tokiponized as "San".
  • "sina sona ala sona?"
This sentence is incomplete without context. Correctly it would be sina sona ala sona e (toki) mi?
  • "Comprised of 120 words…"
See "How many words does Toki Pona have?"
  • "The consonants are based off of the English letters…"
The letter j makes the same sound as English's Y (/j/), not its J (/dʒ/). loje is later mispronounced as [ˈlohe] as if using Spanish J (/x/).
  • [on-screen] "ala: negates subject"
The word ala may negate any part of the sentence.
  • "…because Toki Pona doesn't have tenses, genders, or numbers included…"
This is grammatically true, but there are separate words that specify genders and numbers.
  • [on-screen] "Mi moku", etc.
The first letter of a sentence should not be capitalized.
  • [on-screen] "a: general motive"
Possible typo, meant to be "general emotive": a is a word used to express emotion.
  • [on-screen] "pakola: f*ck! damn!"
pakola is a typo of pakala. It has since become a joke word mocking this example.
  • "How are you doing ?: Sini pilin seme ?"
Should be sina pilin seme? or, simply, sina seme?
  • "…only the basics can be communicated."
By using circumlocution and referring back to the established context of a conversation, Toki Pona can be used to communicate anything, given that the speaker understands it well.
  • "There's also no room for polite speech. If you want to say thank you, you're stuck with pona, which is a generally positive affirmation more than an expression of graditude."
  • [on-screen] "laso: blue"
The word laso can range from a number of colors, from lime green to dark blues and violets. It is most often translated as "blue and green".
  • "…these are the three words that describe numbers. …any number between three and infinity is the same."
See "Numbers § Advanced system".
  • "…mute [mut] for many…"
The letter e is not silent in Toki Pona.
  • "This means talking in Toki Pona relies heavily on noun phrases, which always come after the words they describe."
Communication is clearer if the speaker uses multiple sentences, as this lets more particles show the grammatical relationships between words, instead of trying to fit every concept into a noun phrase. The later coffee example is a good demonstration of this.
It is modifiers that come after the words they describe; both modifiers and the head comprise a noun phrase.
  • "I love bricks: poki loje lon sinpin li poki tawa"
    • poki is an unusual choice for this sense of "box", as it refers to the sense of "container". See kiwen, leko.
    • The sentence means "red box on wall is moving box". The predicate should be …li pona tawa mi.
  • "suwi telo wawa kepeken namako en kule ijo kasi: sweet energetic water with embellishment and color of wood."
    • suwi telo wawa means "energetic watery sweets". For "sweet energetic water", the word order should be telo wawa suwi or telo suwi wawa.
    • kepeken means "with" as in "using", not as in "having".
    • en introduces a new subject, taking priority over kepeken, not to express "and". For that, the particle or preposition, in this case kepeken, should be repeated in place of en.
    • ijo means "thing", not "of". There is no word for "of" in Toki Pona; grammatically, this kule ijo kasi should be kule kasi. The word ijo is additionally mispronounced as [ˈaɪjoʊ].
    • kasi can refer to any plant, not only woody ones. This could be mistaken for green or any other color.
  • "Lang also developed a system of pictograms you can use instead, known as sitelen [siˈtelen] pona."
As with every word, the first syllable of sitelen should ideally be stressed.
  • "Arabic, for example, uses a non-phonetic writing system…"
The Arabic script is phonetic, not logographic. As an abjad, vowels are not primarily or always marked, but the consonant letters are phonetic.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Mentions Toki Pona at the 11:51 timestamp.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Denby, Sam. (15 December 2022). "Toki Pona: The Language You Can Learn in a Day". Half as Interesting [@halfasinteresting]. YouTube. Retrieved 18 November 2023.
  2. Denby, Sam. (31 August 2023). "Every Mistake We’ve Ever Made VI: Return of the Jed-lie". Half as Interesting [@halfasinteresting]. YouTube. Retrieved 18 November 2023. "The Toki Pona video has so many mistakes that I actually can't list them all…".