toki pona ASCII syllabary

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j l bn e Oq Tw sn
jan li pana e moku tawa sina

The toki pona ASCII syllabary by jan Misali, or sitelen Aki[citation needed…], is a writing system that assigns each phonotactically allowed syllable in Toki Pona to a single ASCII character. It is designed so that many particles and short and common content words become recognizable initials, or become or integrate meaningful symbols.

History[edit | edit source]

Version differences
Syllable 2017 2019
lan : '
ju /[a] ,
jen , "
  1. Same as nu

jan Misali posted an early version of the syllabary on 13 October 2017.[1] It is nearly identical to the final version, but three of the characters for non-nimi-pu syllables would later be changed, including a duplicate character.

The earliest archive of the final version is from 29 April 2019.[2] This version deallocated the colon (:) and allocated the quotation mark (").

Syllables[edit | edit source]

Highlighted cells correspond to syllables that do not occur in any nimi pu (but that can appear in names, and some of which would later appear in nimi ku). This affected the allocation of the characters, with many non-alphanumeric symbols being given to these syllables.

Null coda Coda nasal
-i -u -e -o -a -in -un -en -on -an
∅- i 0 e o a ! U & 7 A
m- m u ? O M 8 3 9 @ `
n- N / ^ * n ( ) - _ #
p- P f B p b % + F = 6
t- 2 E t T d x D X
k- k q G H K Q { g h }
s- s z Z S c C 4 [ \ ]
w- W V w | v 1
l- l 5 r ~ L I ; $ R '
j- , y J Y < " > j

Punctuation[edit | edit source]

Only three printable ASCII characters are not defined in the syllable chart, and are, de facto, virtually always used as punctuation in the same way as in sitelen Lasina.

The ASCII space ( ) is used to separate words. The period (.) and the colon (:) are generally used as sentence separators. Any other punctuation would be lost due to conflicting with syllable characters or being out of the ASCII range.

Similarly, due to the significant letter case and the use of all ASCII brackets, there is no clear way to specify proper names with this system. It has been suggested to instead use the colon for name marking where necessary, using the period as the only sentence separator, even after sentence-linking ni.[3]

Usage[edit | edit source]

The syllabary can be used to compress text, with each character being reducible to 7 bits. Word lengths range from unchanged (for one-letter words) to a third as long, such as C% for sinpin. A major limiting factor for the compression ratio is the need to separate words.

Misali also suggests using the syllabary as an input method for other writing systems.

The syllabary is rarely used as a writing system for general conversation.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. jan Misali [@hbmmaster]. (13 October 2017). [Message posted in the #conlangs channel in the "CongIang" Community Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 22 February 2024. "ascii toki pona syllabary". Image (archived).
  2. jan Misali. (29 April 2019). Archive of "seximal offtopic: toki pona ASCII syllabary". Wayback Machine. Internet Archive. Retrieved 22 February 2024.
  3. kulupu Menasewi. (11 January 2024). [Message posted in the #sitelen Aki pi jan Misali · sE$ ak P j mcl thread in the #toki-suli channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 15 January 2024.