Worldbuilding

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
Under construction This page needs work:
jan culture may be a good starting point
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There has been speculation on how a hypothetical culture of native Toki Pona speakers would develop and operate, based on features of the language itself (such as vocabulary) and the culture of established Toki Pona communities.

Proposed features[edit | edit source]

Names[edit | edit source]

It has been suggested that native Toki Pona names would work differently due to being generated from scratch instead of tokiponized, including diverging from the current naming system altogether. jan culture speculates that names would evolve from abbreviations of phrases.[1]

Concerns[edit | edit source]

Under construction This page needs work:
"why all man-made "ma pona" suck" has several useful starting points, although deeper points about what constitutes civilisation and how it affects worldbuilding might need to be explained further. As such, the added concerns might be added prematurely, but it's probably better than not mentioning at all. Whether a "possible solutions" section can be added should be discussed
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Many of these points apply not only to Toki Pona worldbuilding, but are also potential issues with worldbuilding more broadly.

Western-centrism[edit | edit source]

Demographically, Toki Pona speakers tend to be white and from economically successful and exploitative nations. When inventing a new fictional world, relying on experiences of the real world and copying over features of societies they are familiar with, is going to be the most obvious path both in conscious writing and in subconscious design decisions. One worldbuilder creating yet another version of a dominating culture would not be such an issue, but because so many worldbuilders come from such a background, this results in worldbuilding more generally being steeped in Western, white, industrialist, normative conventions, upholding and reinforcing the status quo.

Minimalist culture[edit | edit source]

Several people have tried to think of a culture that either springs from the philosophy of the language, or adopted it. This can include imagining ancestor languages to Toki Pona, and tokiponidos its people have developed it beyond its current real-world counterpart. The results can parallel various harmful perceptions that people have about real places and peoples:

  • Imagining native Toki Pona people or a culture that came up with toki pona as "simple", "in touch with nature", "pure", or "island people" plays into the Noble Savage trope.
  • Placing the fictional culture as better than other cultures, an improvement over other lifestyles, more "enlightened", or "the one path" is a form of supremacy.
  • Imagining a culture being based entirely on one set of philosophy describes a monolithic culture.

Additionally, treating Toki Pona as coming from another era, or arising from a group of people, ignores the actual history of both Toki Pona and how it came to be, and natural languages more generally.

Power structures in large-scale civilisations[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. (12 February 2021). "names". jan culture. GitBook. Retrieved 20 January 2024.