Phrasebook

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This phrasebook is a list of common, useful, and simple Toki Pona phrases and sentences. It is based on the "Phrase Book" section of Toki Pona: The Language of Good, but discusses trends in meaning and phrasing since the book's publication in 2014.

The philosophy of Toki Pona encourages expressing one's thoughts depending on context, so you need not use these exact phrases. Alternatives that are the same in meaning, or more specific, are often preferred! This phrasebook is a start to socialization for those who may not yet be familiar with the vocabulary and grammar, not a comprehensive guide to every possible phrase.

a a a![edit | edit source]

a a a!
a​a​a​
Book pu

a a a! is an onomatopoeia for laughter, equivalent to "Ha ha ha!"[1] The word a can be reduplicated more or fewer than 3 times.

In sitelen pona, it may be written more compactly as a4.

ale li pona[edit | edit source]

ale​li​pona
Book pu

ale li pona (also pronounced ali li pona) is a way to say "all is well", "life is good", and equivalent sentiments such as "don't worry".[1]

ike a[edit | edit source]

ike​a
Book pu

As an interjection, ike a (lit. 'Badness!') is a way to say "oh dear", "oh my".[1]

kama pona[edit | edit source]

kama​pona
Book pu
Full sentence o kama pona

As an interjection, kama pona (lit. 'Good arrival') is a way to say "welcome".[1] pu lists this sentence fragment form.[1] Some speakers prefer using an optative full sentence, o kama pona (lit. 'Come well'). In sitelen pona, it may be written as a combined glyph (kama+pona).

lape pona[edit | edit source]

lape​pona
Book pu
Full sentence o lape pona

As an interjection, lape pona (lit. 'Good sleep') is a way to say "good night".[1] pu lists this sentence fragment form.[1] Some speakers prefer using an optative full sentence, o lape pona (lit. 'Sleep well'). In sitelen pona, it is sometimes written as a combined glyph (lape-pona).

mi kama sona e toki pona[edit | edit source]

mi kama sona e toki-pona
Book pu

mi kama sona e toki pona (lit. 'I~we come to know the language of good') is a way to say "I'm~we're learning Toki Pona."[1] A slightly rephrased alternative, using two preverbs, is mi kama sona toki pona (lit. 'I~we come to know how to speak well').

mi olin e sina[edit | edit source]

mi​olin​e​sina
Book pu

mi olin e sina (lit. 'I~we love you') is a declaration of love.[1] Another phrasing is sina olin mi (lit. 'You are my~our love').

mi tawa[edit | edit source]

mi​tawa
Book pu

mi tawa (lit. 'I~we go') is a farewell used when the speaker is leaving.[1] A common response is tawa pona. An optative variation is mi o tawa.

Another common strategy for farewells is to specify the reason for leaving, such as mi (o) lape for sleep.

mi wile (e ni)[edit | edit source]

mi wile e ni
Book pu

mi wile (e ni) is a way to say, "I~we would like (this)."[1] Literally, the word wile covers meanings of "need" and "want". The word ni can be followed with another sentence describing what the speaker is asking for, whether that be a concrete entity, like an item or person, or an action, such as a service. If the thing requested can be condensed to a simple phrase (consisting of consecutive content words and optionally pi), that phrase can replace ni, such as mi wile e ilo open (lit. 'I~we need a tool of opening').

Oddly, pu also translates this sentence as "please",[1] possibly to indicate a less assertive tone than an imperative command. See Politeness.

moku pona[edit | edit source]

moku​pona
Book pu
Full sentence o moku pona
moku o pona

As an interjection, moku pona (lit. 'Bon appétit') is a way to say "enjoy your meal".[1] pu lists this sentence fragment form.[1] Some speakers prefer using an optative full sentence, o moku pona (lit. 'Eat well') or moku o pona (lit. 'May food be good').

pona[edit | edit source]

pona
Book pu

As an interjection, pona (lit. 'Good!') is a way to express a general positive sentiment such as "Great!" or "OK". pu also translates this as "thanks".[1] While it is often used for a general sentiment of appreciation, it is a vague way of doing so, and might not adequately express large amounts of gratitude.

pona tawa sina[edit | edit source]

pona​tawa​sina
Book pu
Full sentence pona o tawa sina

pona tawa sina (lit. 'goodness toward you') is used both as a way to say "peace be with you",[1] and to express gratitude. pu lists this sentence fragment form.[1] Some speakers prefer using an optative full sentence, pona o tawa sina (lit. 'May goodness go to you').

seme li sin?[edit | edit source]

seme​li​sin​
Book pu

seme li sin? is a way to ask, "What's new?"[1]

sina pilin seme?[edit | edit source]

sina​pilin​seme​
Book pu

sina pilin seme? (lit. 'You feel how?') is a way to ask, "How are you feeling?"[1] In sitelen pona, it may be written with a combined glyph, as sina pilin-seme.

A more open-ended alternative is sina seme?

sina pona[edit | edit source]

sina​pona
Book pu

sina pona (lit. 'You are good') is used both as a way to say "you're cool" and "I~we like you",[1] and to express gratitude, for which it has come to be used "somewhat more often than just pona."[2]

sina seme?[edit | edit source]

sina​seme​
Book No book

sina seme? (lit. 'You are~do what?') is a way to ask about who someone is, or what they are, have been, or will be doing. Compared to "How are you?", this question is much more open-ended and literal, can invite serious and detailed answers, and lets the responder set a topic of conversation, instead of forcing a canned reply like "I'm fine, thank you". See Phatic expressions.

tawa pona[edit | edit source]

tawa​pona
Book pu
Full sentence o tawa pona

As an interjection, tawa pona (lit. 'Bon voyage') is a farewell used when the speaker is staying behind.[1] It is a common response to mi tawa. In sitelen pona, it may be written as a combined glyph, tawa+pona.

pu lists this sentence fragment form.[1] Some speakers prefer using an optative full sentence, o tawa pona (lit. 'Go well/Leave well').

toki[edit | edit source]

toki
Origin 2003 or earlier
Book pu

As an interjection, toki (lit. 'Communication!') is a greeting.[1] This usage dates back to the earliest surviving chat log in Toki Pona.[3] Other common greetings include mi lon (lit. 'I~we exist'), sina lon (lit. 'You exist'), and addressing someone with the vocative use of o, which also often follows toki.

tomo telo li lon seme?[edit | edit source]

tomo​telo​li​lon​seme​
Book pu

tomo telo li lon seme? is a way to ask "where is the washroom?"[1] The phrase tomo telo could refer to any liquid-related room, but is often used to refer to bathrooms. In sitelen pona, it may be written with a combined glyph, as tomo-telo li lon seme.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Original text related to this article:
  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 Lang, Sonja. (25 May 2014). Toki Pona: The Language of Good. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292300. OCLC 921253340. p. 124.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (1 October 2022). Tokipono: La lingvo de bono (in Esperanto). Translated by Spencer van der Meulen. ISBN 978-94-6437-609-8. p. 136.
  3. jan Pije, jan Sonja. (23 April 2003). "Chat Logs". tokipona.org. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Retrieved 4 May 2024.