Colors

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This is a description of colors in Toki Pona. The color words featured in the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good can roughly be compared to the CMYK color model. The words for hue—loje, jelo, laso—describe a red–yellow–"grue" system. pimeja and walo are often used as modifiers to describe shades and tints, respectively.

Core words[edit | edit source]

kule[edit | edit source]

kule in sitelen pona
kule in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈku.le/ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Core (99% → )2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱤞 U+F191E

The word kule is a core word relating to colors, hue, pigments, and paint.[1]

kasi ni li kule seme

kasi ni li kule seme?

What color is this plant?

loje[edit | edit source]

loje in sitelen pona
loje in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈlo.je/ 🔊 🔊/j/ sounds like English Y, as in "fjord" or "hallelujah".
Usage 2023: Core (99% ↗︎ )2022: Core (98%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱤫 U+F192B

loje is used for red and red–adjacent colors, including pinks and magentas.[2] It usually ranges from reddish shades of purple to reddish shades of orange and brown. Other colors that can be described as loje include burgundy, crimson, fuchsia, maroon, rust, salmon, scarlet, and vermilion.

jelo[edit | edit source]

jelo in sitelen pona
jelo in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈje.lo/ 🔊 🔊/j/ sounds like English Y, as in "fjord" or "hallelujah".
Usage 2023: Core (100% ↗︎ )2022: Core (98%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱤒 U+F1912

jelo is used for yellow and yellow–adjacent colors.[3] It usually ranges from yellowish shades of orange and brown to very yellowish shades of green. Other colors that can be described as jelo include amber, gold, and lime.

laso[edit | edit source]

laso in sitelen pona
laso in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈla.so/ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Core (99% ↗︎ )2022: Core (98%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱤣 U+F1923

laso is used for turquoise and turquoise–adjacent colors, including blues and greens.[4] It usually ranges from greens to bluish shades of violet. Toki Pona lacks the distinction between blue and green, linguists call this umbrella color term "grue". Other colors that can be described as laso include aquamarine, azure, cobalt, cyan, indigo, lime, mint, navy, olive, and teal.

walo[edit | edit source]

walo in sitelen pona
walo in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈwa.lo/ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Core (100% ↗︎ )2022: Core (98%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥲 U+F1972

walo is used for any pale or light color, especially those approaching white.[5] While walo and suno can both be translated as "light", they mean different things. suno refers to light itself, and may modify and describe objects that emit light. On the other hand, walo refers to the lightness of a color alone.

pimeja[edit | edit source]

pimeja in sitelen pona
pimeja in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈpi.me.ja/ 🔊 🔊/j/ sounds like English Y, as in "fjord" or "hallelujah".
Usage 2023: Core (100% ↗︎ )2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥏 U+F194F

pimeja is used for any dark color, especially those approaching black.[6] pimeja is also used for "darkness", as an antonym of suno ("light"), and can be used to describe shadows, unlit spaces, and the night.

Colors in context[edit | edit source]

Under construction This section needs work. If you know about this topic, you can help us by editing it. (See all)
Lime shown as both jelo or laso.
The name for a specific hue may differ in context, lime may be referred to as either jelo or laso, depending on context, as shown in the illustration above.

Color mixing[edit | edit source]

Under construction This section needs work:
it needs explanations of expressions like "laso loje", "loje walo", "pimeja laso", "waso pimeja walo" vs. "waso pi pimeja walo", maybe "jelo wawa" vs. "jelo pi wawa ala", etc.
If you know about this topic, you can help us by editing it. (See all)
Subtractive colors mix like ink or paint.
Difference betwen len loje jelo (red and yellow fabric) and len pi loje jelo (yellowish red fabric)

Color words can be combined into phrases to "mix" their respective colors and describe more specific colors more closely. It is usually thought of in a subtractive color space, which works like mixing ink or paints (whereas an additive color space works like shining colored spotlights).

For example, the phrases laso loje ("reddish blue") and loje laso ("bluish red") are common ways to say purple. They may refer to somewhat different hues, leaning in the direction of the head (first) noun. In this case, laso loje would describe more bluish purples, and loje laso would describe more reddish purples.

Nonstandard words[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 256.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 271.
  3. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 234.
  4. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 261.
  5. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 283.
  6. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 328.