User:Jan Pensa/tuki puna

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
Caution: The subject of this section is just for fun. It might not be meant or appropriate for serious use.

Here's my own take on a three-vowel system for Toki Pona, which I call Tuki Puna. I made it once long ago (on the night of 10 May 2017, to be exact) as a fun little linguistic puzzle to pass the time. I've never used it seriously in any way, but it was fun to make, and like the way it turned out. It's a little weird to read, but I think it's actually pretty easy to understand when spoken aloud.

These were all my own ideas, but I probably wasn't the first to come up with most of them. I later learned about Tuki Punas from other people, who tended to use very similar solutions - including Sonja herself, even. (Discord link to her message about it on ma pona pi toki pona)

Anyway, here's how it works:

Conversion rules

As of 2024, all non-obscure Toki Pona words can be converted to a unique Tuki Puna word with just 3 simple rules. (Well, all words except for ale/ali, which are no longer distinguished.)

  1. te becomes ta, and je becomes ja (to avoid ti and ji)
  2. The exact word ken becomes kan, and the word ko becomes ka (to avoid collision with kin and ku)
    (These ken and ko substitutions do not apply when it's a part of another word, such as in kepeken or namako.)
  3. In all other cases, e becomes i and o becomes u.

(The second rule can be optionally ignored if you don't use kin or ku, or don't care about the ambiguity. And of course, you can also ignore rule 1 if you don't care about ji and ti.)

This is fully functional, but with a few more tweaks, I think some Tuki Puna words become even better:

Optional variant of rule 1 (which I prefer)

  1. If a word contains te or je, all e's in that word become a

With this rule, sitelen becomes sitalan instead of sitalin, and lete becomes lata instead of lita, which I think sounds better and more recognizable. As of 2024, these are the only two non-obscure words that are affected by this change.

In names that contain te or je, you might want to decide on a case by case basis whether to replace an e. For example, for ma Pesije I personally like Pasija better than Pisija, but for ma Netelan I like Nitalan better than Natalan.

Optional extra rule (which I prefer)

1¾. If a word ends in an -e, you're allowed to change e to a instead of i in all but the first syllable.

In many cases I think this makes the word more recognizable, especially if there's already an i in the Toki Pona word. E.g. wile can become wila instead of wili, and ike can be ika instead of iki.

If there's also another e in the Toki Pona word, I'd personally avoid it. But if you like the sound of sima (from seme) and misikaka/misikika (from misikeke), go right ahead.

Generalization of rule 2

  1. If two words become homonyms due to an e/i or o/u merger, the e or o in question becomes a instead.

This method can be used to distinguish to from tu, po from pu, even jo from ju if you want. As of early 2024, the only word triplets in Linku or ku that can't be fully disambiguated this way are kin/ken/kan and a/o/u.

Example texts

akesi li wile lon nena (excerpt)

Here are the first 20 lines of akesi li wile lon nena by jan Kita converted to Tuki Puna:

Tuki Puna Toki Pona

akisi li wila lun nina
kasi puna li lun una
tasu nina li suli muta
una li kan ala tawa
una li tuki tawa wasu
"wasu u puna i mi"
"sina wila i puna simi"
"mi wila lun nina suli
u tawa una i mi"
"tasu mi wasu lili a
luka mi li wawa ala
mi tasu la mi siwi
mi in sina la anpa"
akisi li lukin i wasu
suli li sama luka una
"mi u suna i ni
pakala la mi suna ala
mi alasa i nasin anta
awin la sina wasu puna"
akisi li tawa ma anta

akesi li wile lon nena
kasi pona li lon ona
taso nena li suli mute
ona li ken ala tawa
ona li toki tawa waso
"waso o pona e mi"
"sina wile e pona seme"
"mi wile lon nena suli
o tawa ona e mi"
"taso mi waso lili a
luka mi li wawa ala
mi taso la mi sewi
mi en sina la anpa"
akesi li lukin e waso
suli li sama luka ona
"mi o sona e ni
pakala la mi sona ala
mi alasa e nasin ante
awen la sina waso pona"
akesi li tawa ma ante

sewi tu (excerpt)

Here are the first few paragraphs of the first chapter of my own mythological-style story monsuta pi moku nimi, converted to Tuki Puna:

Tuki Puna Toki Pona
tanpu upin la iju wan tasu li lun. una li siwi. una li wan. tasu una li wila wan tasu ala.

una li pana i kun tan insa una, li pana i nimi tawa kun ni. nimi ni li ju i wawa siwi, li pana i wawa tawa kun. siwi li pana sin i nimi. ni la kun li ju i wawa siwi pi nimi tu.

sama ni la siwi li pana li pana li pana i nimi. una li pana i nimi ali tawa kun, li pana i nimi mi, i nimi sina kin, i nimi ali pi tanpu ali. nasin ni la kun pi nimi ali li kama lun, li kama wawa sama siwi pi nimi ala.

siwi tu li lun la, una li kan kama wan lun pali suli, li kan pali i iju muta a. siwi pi nimi ala in siwi pi nimi ali li pali i ma suli, i talu suli, i kun suli. una li pali i mun ali, li pali i kasi i suku. una li pali i sijalu muta kin. iju sijalu ni li kan pilin, li kan suna, li kan muku i kun li kan pana i kun. tasu una li lili muta li wawa ala a.

pali siwi ni li pini la siwi pi nimi ala li kama wila lapa. una li kama anpa lun ma li pini i pilin una i suna una i tawa una. lapa ni li wawa a li awin lun tanpu ali. ni li muli nanpa wan. ma lapa siwi la kasi li kama tan ma, li kama wawa li kama suli a tan wawa siwi insa.

tenpo open la ijo wan taso li lon. ona li sewi. ona li wan. taso ona li wile wan taso ala.

ona li pana e kon tan insa ona, li pana e nimi tawa kon ni. nimi ni li jo e wawa sewi, li pana e wawa tawa kon. sewi li pana sin e nimi. ni la kon li jo e wawa sewi pi nimi tu.

sama ni la sewi li pana li pana li pana e nimi. ona li pana e nimi ale tawa kon, li pana e nimi mi, e nimi sina kin, e nimi ale pi tenpo ale. nasin ni la kon pi nimi ale li kama lon, li kama wawa sama sewi pi nimi ala.

sewi tu li lon la, ona li ken kama wan lon pali suli, li ken pali e ijo mute a. sewi pi nimi ala en sewi pi nimi ale li pali e ma suli, e telo suli, e kon suli. ona li pali e mun ale, li pali e kasi e soko. ona li pali e sijelo mute kin. ijo sijelo ni li ken pilin, li ken sona, li ken moku e kon li ken pana e kon. taso ona li lili mute li wawa ala a.

pali sewi ni li pini la sewi pi nimi ala li kama wile lape. ona li kama anpa lon ma li pini e pilin ona e sona ona e tawa ona. lape ni li wawa a li awen lon tenpo ale. ni li moli nanpa wan. ma lape sewi la kasi li kama tan ma, li kama wawa li kama suli a tan wawa sewi insa.


A comparison between Toki Pona and Tuki Puna.

Words that remain unchanged have a gray background. Words that only had a simple ei or ou substitution (conversion rule 3) are marked with yellow. Words that had a special substitution (conversion rules 1, 2, and ) are marked with blue.

Out of 140 words on this list, 70 remain unchanged, 52 have simple substitution, and 18 have special substitution (in the "recommended" column).

Toki Pona Tuki Puna
recommended alternatives
a a
akesi akisi
ala ala
alasa alasa
ale / ali ali
anpa anpa
ante anta (anti)
anu anu
awen awin
e i
en in
epiku ipiku
esun isun
ijo iju
ike ika iki
ilo ilu
insa insa
jaki jaki
jan jan
jasima jasima
jelo jalu (jilu)
jo ju ja
kala kala
kalama kalama
kama kama
kasi kasi
ken kin
kepeken kipikin
kijetesantakalu kijatasantakalu (kijitisantakalu)
kili kili
kin kin
kipisi kipisi
kiwen kiwin
ko ka ku
kokosila kukusila
kon kun
ku ku
kule kula kuli
kulupu kulupu
kute kuta (kuti)
la la
lanpan lanpan
lape lapa lapi
laso lasu
lawa lawa
leko liku
len lin
lete lata lita, (liti)
li li
lili lili
linja linja
linluwi linluwi
lipu lipu
loje luja (luji)
lon lun
luka luka
lukin lukin
lupa lupa
ma ma
majuna majuna
mama mama
mani mani
meli mili
meso misu
mi mi
mije mija (miji)
misikeke misikiki misikaka, misikika
moku muku
moli muli
monsi munsi
monsuta munsuta
mu mu
mun mun
musi musi
mute muta (muti)
n n
namako namaku
nanpa nanpa
nasa nasa
nasin nasin
nena nina
ni ni
nimi nimi
noka nuka
o u
oko uku
olin ulin
ona una
open upin
pakala pakala
pali pali
palisa palisa
pan pan
pana pana
pi pi
pilin pilin
pimeja pimija
pini pini
pipi pipi
poka puka
poki puki
pona puna
pu pu
sama sama
seli sili
selo silu
seme simi sima
sewi siwi
sijelo sijalu (sijilu)
sike sika siki
sin sin
sina sina
sinpin sinpin
sitelen sitalan sitalin, (sitilin)
soko suku
sona suna
soweli suwili
su su
suli suli
suno sunu
supa supa
suwi suwi
tan tan
taso tasu
tawa tawa
telo talu (tilu)
tenpo tanpu (tinpu)
toki tuki
tomo tumu
tonsi tunsi
tu tu
unpa unpa
uta uta
utala utala
walo walu
wan wan
waso wasu
wawa wawa
weka wika
wile wila wili

My process

The path I took to my solution. Documenting it for the one or two people who actually think it's interesting.


I took a list of 125 words that I personally viewed as common at the time (123 pu words plus kipisi and monsuta), and first converted all e to i and o to u to see what that would do. Of course, that resulted in a lot of ji and ti syllables. Especially miji (from mije) and sijilu (from sijelo) were very bad in my opinion. It also caused ken and kin to clash and become homonyms.

My first idea to get rid of ti and ji was to convert them to si and i (or wi when it's not the first syllable). When I tried this to see what would happen, this caused more homonyms: ilo and jelo both became ilu, selo and telo both became silu, and mute became musi. Also, on second thought I didn't like how words became a lot less recognizable from this. sinpu and miwi don't sound a lot like tenpo and mije.

After looking a bit at individual cases, it seemed a promising idea to convert all je and te to ja and ta. I was expecting that this would cause clashes with other words that I would have to solve, but to my surprise, it didn't! That one change solved all ji and ti problems in one fell swoop.

Then the only homonyms that were left were ken and kin. Taking a hint from the teta solution, I decided to change ken to kan. This seemed pretty appropriate, considering that ken is a descendant of the word "can", and I had recently learned that kan is also a word in Singlish. (Actually, in Singlish /kɛn/ means "can" and /kan/ means "can't". But, eh, close enough.)

Looking through the list again, I noticed that lete became lita, which felt a little weird. So I came up with the optional rule that e syllables adjacent to je and te could also become a.

With that, it was all done and good.

That is, until ku came around 4 years later.

2021 onward

Having ku already be a popular word made it feel very weird to use ku to mean ko. But I once I realized that, I quickly decided that the same kenkan solution could be used for koka. It's less than ideal, but hey, it works.

And now in 2024, right when I thought I finished writing this document, I noticed that wila and sika sound a lot more recognizable to me than wili and siki, so I came up with the extra "1¾" conversion rule.

In time, I guess Sonja's reserved word ju could also become a problem, clashing with jo. And if she starts using u, that would be even worse, because all the words that are just vowels (u, i and a) are already taken. But until Sonja decides to use ju, I think it feels weird *not* to use ju for jo in Tuki Puna.