Variant glyphs

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This is a list of variant glyphs in sitelen pona.

Flexible glyphs[edit | edit source]

Many sitelen pona characters are not static, and aren't supposed to be drawn the same way every time.

akesi, pipi, soweli (akesi pipi soweli)
The amount of legs is sometimes reduced, especially in combined glyphs to reduce glyph density. Especially akesi is commonly written with two strokes for legs (akesi) instead of three (akesi).
jaki (jaki)
Any scribble, usually in a single stroke dense with overlaps and (mostly) curvy lines. For example, scribbles submitted by community members to be added to linja lipamanka:
jaki1 jaki2 jaki3 jaki4 jaki5 jaki6 jaki7 jaki8 jaki9 jaki10 jaki11
ko (ko)
Any blobby closed shape. For example, blobby closed shapes submitted by community members to be added to linja lipamanka:
ko ko1 ko2 ko3 ko4 ko5 ko6
ku (ku)
The symbol representing Toki Pona on the cover of lipu ku can range anywhere from a simple dot to a full Toki Pona symbol.
ku1 ku2 ku3 ku4 ku5 ku6 ku7
mi, sina, ona (mi sina ona)
These may be written either with a curved stroke (mi sina ona) or a straight stroke (mi sina ona).
lete, kin (lete kin)
The rotation of the asterisk shape is not important. In some cases it may be written with four intersecting lines instead of three, and in kin some people reduce the asterisk to an X shape.
linja, kon, telo, pakala, mun (linja kon telo pakala mun)
May be mirrored.
ni (ni)
May point to the part of the text that ni is referencing; left, up, right, down (󱥁‍← 󱥁‍↑ 󱥁‍→ 󱥁‍↓), or other directions, instead of the standard downwards arrow. In handwriting, it may be drawn in an extended manner, pointing toward the relevant reference. A right-facing arrow (ni>) is often used in linking ni statements. It may also be extended horizontally (ni>(--) ni<(--)).

Alternative glyphs[edit | edit source]

Under construction This section needs work:


If you know about this topic, you can help us by editing it. (See all)

For various reasons, people have designed new glyphs for words that already have them. The Esperanto edition of Toki Pona: The Language of Good includes drawings of some of these.

In many sitelen pona fonts with ASCII transcription, glyphs different from the font's standard glyph can be typed by appending a number to the end of a word, such as kala1. The default variants and list of supported alternative glyphs are not consistent between fonts, so this is not a consistent method to identify glyph variants. The added numbers may also interfere with screen readers.

Word sitelen pona Notes Included in pu Epelanto?
Earlier Later
a a a Diagonal punctuation stem. In some cases the stem is drawn very short, almost like a diacritic.
kin kin kin
n n n
o o o
akesi akesi akesi Only 2 strokes for legs.
epiku epiku epiku

Obsolete:[i] Upwards arrow, now more often used for directional ni.
Later: pona with emitters.

jaki jaki May be any scribble. Four different variations are included in the Esperanto translation of lipu pu.
kala kala kala Two dots for eyes to match the other animal glyphs.
kokosila kokosila kokosila

Obsolete:[i] Star, representing the Verda Stelo.
Later: toki with diagonal slash.

lanpan lanpan lanpan Obsolete:[i] Turned pana.

Obsolete:[i] Top end is a hooklike curve.
Later: Top end has a circle representing a head, similar to jo.

majuna majuna majuna

Earlier: Turned sin.
Later: Five rays up similar to a lotus flower.

meli meli meli Derived from the planetary gender symbols, possibly by analogy with tonsi (from the transgender symbol). These alternatives avoid physical stereotypes.
Uncommon due to gendern't philosophy, which avoids meli and mije regardless of glyph choice.
mije mije mije
meso meso meso

Earlier: 2 vertical lines with dot between.
Later: ante with dot between strokes. (Less common)

moli moli moli Low line for mouth instead of circle for head. Often used in pixelated fonts due to space constraints.
namako namako namako

Earlier: sin with an extra ray below.
Later: Hot pepper with emitters above.

olin olin olin pilin with emitters above
sewi sewi sewi Earlier: Derived from Arabic اللّٰه (allāh). Sometimes used only when sewi is used to mean "God" or "holy, divine".

Later: Turned anpa. Commonly called "secular sewi". Sometimes used only when sewi is used to mean "up, above".

It has been suggested elsewhere to use other religious symbols, with the possible downside of being less legible.[1]
soko soko soko2 Earlier: A mushroom with a thick stem (increasingly uncommon)

Later: The stem simplified to a vertical line. Can be seen with or without a horizontal stroke for an annulus. These later variants are meant to avoid confusion with mama.

includes only
uta uta uta Dotless. Can create ambiguity with moku (otherwise moku; here confusable with luka uta). However, this ambiguity is not more than that which already exists with pali and kepeken (normally read as ilo and kepeken respectively, but technically possible to read as luka ijo and luka ilo).
wile wile wile Closed to become a turned heart or pilin. While the separation of the line endings varies in handwriting, this alternative is most likely influenced by sitelen pona pona (a font and derivative script). Most differences in sitelen pona pona are rejected by sitelen pona users, but some occasionally slip in when writers want to introduce oddities.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Obsolete glyphs are still likely to be encountered because the new glyph is relatively recent. However, the new glyph is still most widely accepted.

Fonts such as sitelen seli kiwen also support OpenType character variants and stylistic sets, which can be enabled:

  • In Microsoft Word, in the Font dialog box → Advanced → Stylistic sets.
    • In many versions of Word, the Font dialog box is directly accessed from the Ribbon → Home tab → Font group, in the lower right corner.
    • In other recent versions, you can use Tell me → search for "Font Settings".
  • In CSS, with the font-feature-settings property.[2]

Mirrored glyphs[edit | edit source]

Caution: The subject of this section is nonstandard and will not be understood by most speakers.
If you are a learner, this information will not help you speak the language. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the standard style, and to be informed and selective about which nonstandard styles you adopt.

sitelen pona is uncommonly written from right to left. There is no set practice for doing so. Some speakers recommend that all glyphs should be mirrored vertically, so that, for example, the glyph for soweli (soweli) faces left (soweli).

linja sike includes experimental mirrored glyphs for e, li, pi, tan (visually elipitan) at codepoints U+EC9B–U+EC9E.[3]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. soko weka [@vanapiton]. (12 June 2022). [Informal poll posted in the #sona-kulupu channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 6 November 2023.
    Concerning the sitelen pona glyph for sewi, which of these (choose all that apply)...
    (Multiple allowed)
    (n = 75)
    Do you like the usage of: Do you use in your nasin:
    Arabic sewi 73 72
    Secular sewi 48 22
    Other religious symbols 8 2
    Other 2 3
  2. font-feature-settings. font-feature-settings. MDN Web Docs. Retrieved 7 November 2023.
  3. linja sike documentation. Google Docs. Retrieved 24 October 2023.