Glossary

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
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This is a glossary of grammatical terms used on sona pona.

A[edit | edit source]

adjective
A word that modifies or describes a noun. In English, "big" and "tall" are adjectives. In Toki Pona, modifiers that follow words in a noun-like position may be called adjectives.
adverb
A word that modifies or describes a verb. In English, they often end in "-ly"; "quickly" and "slowly" are adverbs. In Toki Pona, modifiers that follow words in a verb-like position may be called adjectives.
ambiguous
Of a sentence, having syntax that can be interpreted multiple different ways. In English, the sentence "I saw my friend with a telescope." is ambiguous, as "with a telescope" could describe the friend or the action of seeing; either person could have the telescope. Toki Pona's prepositions often introduce ambiguity.

C[edit | edit source]

clause
A part of a sentence consisting of a subject and predicate. In Toki Pona, the particle la can join two clauses.
content word
The main type of word in Toki Pona, which can be used as a head or modifier (and thus like a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, although its primary definition's part of speech can affect its meaning in other parts of speech). In Toki Pona, pona, suwi, and moku are examples of content words. Contrast particle.

H[edit | edit source]

head
A word affected by modifiers. In Toki Pona, the first word of a phrase is the head.

I[edit | edit source]

imperative
A grammatical mood that expresses a command or instruction. In English, "Do as I say, not as I do." and "Go!" are imperative sentences. Toki Pona marks the imperative with o. Contrast indicative, optative, vocative.
indicative
A grammatical mood that describes a real or actual thing. In English, "The cat is cute." is an indicative sentence. Contrast imperative, optative, vocative.
intransitive verb
A verb that cannot take a direct object. In English, the verb "smile" is almost always intransitive, as in "the baby smiles"; the alternative, "the baby smiles a ball", doesn't make sense. Contrast transitive verb. See also the article Transitivity.

M[edit | edit source]

modifier
In Toki Pona grammar, an adjective or adverb. Unlike English, Toki Pona never distinguishes these parts of speech; any word that can modify a noun can also modify a verb, and vice versa.

N[edit | edit source]

noun
A word that names a person, place, or thing. "Fish" and "tree" are common nouns; "Oklahoma" is a proper noun. In Toki Pona, content words in many head positions may be called nouns.

O[edit | edit source]

object
The thing(s) to which the action of the sentence is done. In English, in the sentence "You pet the dog.", "the dog" is the direct object. In Toki Pona, the direct object is marked with the particle e.
optative
A grammatical mood that expresses a wish, hope, or desire. In English, "The children should do their homework." is an optative sentence. Contrast imperative, indicative, vocative.

P[edit | edit source]

particle
A word that marks the grammatical structure of a sentence, having no semantic meaning in itself. In Toki Pona, li, e, and pi are examples of particles. Contrast content word.
phrase
A group of consecutive words consisting of a head and modifiers.
predicate
The part of a sentence that includes a verb and sometimes objects. In the sentence "The human looks at the tree", "looks at the tree" is the predicate. In Toki Pona, the predicate is marked with the particle li or sometimes o. Contrast subject.
preposition
A word that describes a noun's relationship to the rest of the sentence in time or space. In English, "after" and "beside" are prepositions. Often the preposition and the noun it introduces are referred to as a "prepositional phrase". In the sentence "Don't give coffee to infants.", "to infants" is a prepositional phrase.
preverb
A verb that accompanies the main verb to make distinctions in grammatical mood or aspect; an auxiliary (helping) verb.
proper adjective
In Toki Pona grammar, an adjective that names a specific or definite thing, equivalent to a proper noun but requiring a headnoun. Proper adjectives are the only standard words that are capitalized in sitelen Lasina.
proper noun
A noun that names a specific or definite thing. Personal names and names of places are usually proper nouns. In English, "Preston", "Europe", and "Mount Everest" are proper nouns. In standard Toki Pona, proper names are not nouns; see proper adjective.

S[edit | edit source]

semantics
The "meaning" of a word. Semantics is concerned with the possible alternative words that could occupy a single position in a sentence. Contrast syntax.
semiparticle
In Toki Pona grammar, a word that can be used as a particle to modify the syntax of a sentence, but which also has a semantic space and can be used as a content word.
sentence
A group of words that contain a subject and a predicate. In English, "Dogs chase cats." is a sentence. "Apple pie" is not; it is a sentence fragment, and more specifically a phrase.
subject
The main actor or actors in a sentence. In the sentence "I read the book," the word "I" is the subject. In Toki Pona, subjects are often unmarked, but multiple subjects are joined with the particle en. Contrast predicate.
syntax
The position of words in a sentence or phrase. Often words are categorized by the kinds of positions they can occupy in a sentence, or what words they can appear next to. Contrast semantic (value).

T[edit | edit source]

transitive verb
A verb that takes a direct object. In English, the verb "eat" can be transitive: in "I eat the cookie.", it takes the direct object "the cookie". In Toki Pona, transitive verbs are followed by the particle e and the direct object. Contrast intransitive verb.

V[edit | edit source]

vague
Broad and unclear; not specific or precise. Most Toki Pona words cover a wide semantic space, so their individual meanings are often vaguer than words in other languages.
verb
A word that names an action. In English, "run", "sit", and "be" are verbs. In Toki Pona, content words that are preverbs or the head of a predicate may be called verbs.
vocative
A form of a noun used to call to or address something or someone. In English, in "Hey you!", the word "you" is vocative. English does not usually distinguish vocative from non-vocative nouns, aside from the archaic particle "O" as in "O Canada". Toki Pona marks the vocative with o. Contrast imperative, indicative, optative.

See also[edit | edit source]