Historical usage

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Caution: The subject of this article is historical information that is presented for completeness, and might not reflect current usage.

During its development in the early 2000s, Toki Pona had major differences from its current, standard form. Various words and features changed and were added and removed. While a lot of information has been lost, since most of the activity at that time was on the unarchived IRC chatroom, there is still enough publicly accessible information to reconstruct early forms of Toki Pona.

Phonology[edit | edit source]

The phonology has remained unchanged from its initial form. There was a proposal in 2002 to reduce Toki Pona to a three-vowel system, which was ultimately not implemented.[1]

Grammar[edit | edit source]

There have been several changes in the grammar of Toki Pona since its inception, most notably in the meanings and use of certain particles.

en[edit | edit source]

In current use, en only separates multiple subjects. It changed use several times before converging on the final system and was used for almost every definition of English "and".

supa en ilo li nasa en sin 

supa en ilo li nasa en sin.

The table and the machine are strange and new.[2]

en utala en utala ala li wile lon 

en utala en utala ala li wile lon.

Both war and peace need to exist.[3]

li pi[edit | edit source]

Today, pi rebrackets a following multiword phrase as a modifier. The previous usage of pi to mean "of" could also be used with the predicate marker to mean "made of".[citation needed]

tomo ni li pi kiwen 

*tomo ni li pi kiwen.

This house is made out of stone.

pi X en Y[edit | edit source]

This construction was (and sometimes still is) used to mean "of X and Y" or to list two adjectives. It is mostly replaced with just listing the adjectives now, although sometimes[when?] that is ambiguous.

len pi(loje en laso)

*len pi loje en laso

a red-and-blue shirt

anu[edit | edit source]

Under construction This section needs work:

Provide an example

If you know about this topic, you can help us by editing it. (See all)

anu was historically used as a question marker, without being accompanied by seme as is currently standard.

o[edit | edit source]

Some of the earliest Toki Pona texts feature an obsolete use of o. Placed before the subject of a sentence, o expressed the optative mood (used for wishes); before the predicate, it could only signal an imperative (used for commands). The following examples of optative sentences are taken from the earliest version of Toki Pona's Wikipedia page[4] (2004), but the vocabulary in the text suggests it was written in 2002.

o nimi pi mi mute li kama suli!

o nimi pi mi mute li kama suli!

May our name become important!

o jan li sona ala e toki pi jan ante 

o jan li sona ala e toki pi jan ante.

May people not understand each other's languages.

o stopped appearing before the subject early in the language's history.[citation needed] Since then, the second sentence type with o (before the predicate) has subsumed the meaning of the former: the imperative and optative were merged.

Lexicon[edit | edit source]

Under construction This article needs work:

list nimisin used at that time (see section on the discussion page)

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Many words currently falsely considered nimisin, are, in fact, not nimisin. Those include apeja, sutopatikuna, pata etc.

Some words (pu, esun, mani, pan, kiwen, ona) didn’t exist yet, though the two latter ones were added relatively early on. The word meaning “all” was spelled with i more often, this is a result of jan Pije’s course teaching it as such. Lastly, the words open & pini were used as preverbs a lot.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. vixcafe. (9 July 2002). "New lessons coming soon! / Trivocalic - Toki Pona Forums". Toki Pona Forums. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  2. Sonja Lang. (20 June 2024). "Original lesson 5". jan Pije's site.
  3. Sonja Lang. (1 July 2002). "Chat logs". tokipona.nykta.org.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Toki_Pona&oldid=2842887

External links[edit | edit source]