From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
ala in sitelen pona
ala in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈ
Usage 2023: Core (100% → )2022: Core (100%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Semiparticle, number, content word
Codepoint 󱤂 U+F1902

ala is a core semiparticle used for negation and a content word relating to nothingness, as well as the number zero.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word ala is derived from Georgian არა (ara), meaning "no, not".[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

In a modifier role, ala means "no" or "not". Unlike any other word, it causes a phrase to refer to the opposite of its previous semantic space.[2] When used as a number, ala refers to the number zero.

ni li waso jelo ala

ni li waso jelo ala.

That's not a yellow bird.

In standard usage, ala is one of a few words that can modify a preverb or preposition.

ona li wile ala sona

ona li wile ala sona.

They don't want to know.

mi tawa ala telo

mi tawa ala telo.

We didn't go to sea.

As the head of a phrase, ala can refer to nothingness or the absence of anything.

ala li lon poki ni

ala li lon poki ni.

There is nothing in the cup.
The cup is empty.

As a transitive verb, ala may refer to causing the object to become nothing, such as removing or erasing it.

o ala e toki ni

o ala e toki ni.

Delete this comment.

pu[edit | edit source]

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

ADJECTIVE  no, not, zero

ku[edit | edit source]

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

not5, none5, zero5, no5, nothing5, neither3, nor2, hardly2

Function[edit | edit source]

The word ala as a particle is used to negate a word, phrase, or sentence.

soweli li wile ala e kili

soweli li wile ala e kili.

The monkey does not want fruit.

Tag questions[edit | edit source]

The word ala is used to form a yes–no question, by repeating the main word in the predicate and placing it between the repetitions.

sina moku ala moku

sina moku ala moku?

Do you eat? (lit. 'you eat not/eat?')

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for ala (󱤂) is a diagonal cross similar to the letter "X", a crosslinguistic symbol for negation and, in sports, failure. The glyph is sometimes used as an extended glyph {ijo}ala(ijo) that continues below the repeated word.

ona li {pona}ala(pona) tawa sina

ona li pona ala pona tawa sina?

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

The sitelen sitelen glyph for ala (ala) represents an X cross inside a square.

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. 199.

Further reading[edit | edit source]