From sona pona
    anu in sitelen pona
    anu in sitelen sitelen
    2021-11-06 Bornumer Holz 01.JPG
    Usage 2023: Core (99% ↗ )
    2022: Core (98%)
    Book and era nimi pu
    Part of speech Particle, content word
    Codepoint 󱤇 U+F1907

    anu is a Toki Pona particle used to show alternatives, corresponding with the English conjunction "or".

    Current common usage[edit | edit source]

    anu seme[edit | edit source]

    anu is most commonly used in the phrase "anu seme?" to form tag questions. This literally means "or what?", and it's one of two ways to form yes-or-no questions in Toki Pona.

    ona li jan pona anu seme?
    ona li jan pona anu seme?

    They are good people, aren't they?
    Are they a good people?

    See the page Questions for more information about anu seme and other ways to form questions.

    Statements[edit | edit source]

    Either/or questions[edit | edit source]

    anu remains a debatable subject when it comes to it being able to form questions on its own, without the seme or the [predicate] ala [predicate] format.

    pu usage[edit | edit source]

    In Toki Pona: The Language of Good, the word anu is defined, but not explained, outside of its role in anu seme tag questions.

    pu only gives 2 sentences containing anu without anu seme:

    mi kute e mije anu meli.

    (answers to Lesson 7) as a translation to: "I hear a man or a woman."

    wile sona nanpa wan li ni: ale li pona anu ike?

    (famous quotations) as a translation to a quote (mis)attributed to Albert Einstein: "The most fundamental question we can ever ask ourselves is whether or not the universe we live in is friendly or hostile"

    Possible analyses[edit | edit source]

    • While the first use of anu is presented as a statement, anu might still act as a kind of choice, and could in some way still work as a disguised question
    • While the second use of anu is presented as a question, it's not clear if anu is responsible - or solely responsible - for forming a question. The wile sona might do some heavy lifting
    • The second use of anu is also not a question in the English sentence (although a question format arises out of the reformulation in toki pona. A literal translation of the Toki Pona back to English can include a question, for example: "the foremost question is this: is the universe good or bad?")

    Pre-pu usage[edit | edit source]

    Usage of anu to form questions without seme was widespread before the publication of pu.

    The o kama sona e toki pona! course by jan Pije (the most influential resource for learning Toki Pona in the pre-pu era) taught anu explicitly and exclusively as a word for making questions. This included questions without seme, as well as questions ending in anu seme. (source)

    However, anu was also used to make statements. Eliazar Parra Cárdena's Spanish-language 2004 course Toki pona en 76 lecciones ilustradas (Toki Pona in 76 Illustrated Lessons), which was translated into many languages, taught usage of anu in statements and usage in questions side by side, distinguished only by the presence of a question mark or a period. (source)

    Experimental usages[edit | edit source]

    As a content word[edit | edit source]

    Some speakers use anu as a content word meaning "choose, decide". This meaning is controversial due to the lack of content word meanings given to other particles in the language.

    As a pseudo-particle[edit | edit source]

    In smaller communities for toki pona, an experimental usage of anu was proposed to have the word resemble the placement of pseudo-particles like taso and kin as modifiers of a phrase:
    sina ken tawa tomo sitelen tawa tomo moku anu.
    This usage notably reduces the level of ambiguity created by anu in situations where it would otherwise be unclear to replace particles or prepositions.

    External resources[edit | edit source]

    Resources for historical usage[edit | edit source]