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kama in sitelen pona
kama in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈka.ma/
Usage 2023: Core (100% ↗︎ )2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Preverb, content word
Codepoint 󱤖 U+F1916

kama is a core content word and preverb relating to movement from further away to nearer a referent (that is, "coming" or "arriving") and to changes of state ("becoming").

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word kama is derived from Tok Pisin kamap, itself derived from English come up.[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

Preverb[edit | edit source]

The main preverb sense of kama is "to become". It can be used when the subject comes to do or be something that it wasn't before.

ona li kama pona 

ona li kama pona.

It became good.
She got better.
They improved.

jan [ale luka uta] li wile kama mama.

jan Alu li wile kama mama.

Alu wants to become a parent.

mi kama lukin e soweli suwi 

mi kama lukin e soweli suwi.

I came to see a cute animal.
I spotted a cute animal.
(At first I didn't see a cute animal, and then I did.)

Content word[edit | edit source]

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tenpo seme la sina kama

tenpo seme la sina kama?

At what time are you coming?
When will you arrive?

Transitive verb[edit | edit source]

As a transitive verb followed by e, kama generally means to cause the direct object to come or to come about. For example "to summon", "to bring about", "to cause to occur", etc.

ona li kama e pona 

ona li kama e pona.

It brought goodness.

o kama e jan sona sijelo 

o kama e jan sona sijelo.

Make a learned person of the body come.
Call for a doctor.

Phrases[edit | edit source]

The "Phrase Book" section of the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good recommends the interjection kama pona for "welcome". Word for word, it literally means "good arrival", implying "I wish you a good arrival" (similar to wishing someone "good day"). This was the standard expression for "welcome" before the book's publication. Since its publication, the variant o kama pona (lit. an imperative that means 'come well') has also become very common.

Time[edit | edit source]

kama can be used to talk about the "coming time". The Toki Pona translation of this exact phrase, tenpo kama, is a common lexicalization for "the future".

pu[edit | edit source]

In the "Official Toki Pona Dictionary" section, the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good defines kama as:

ADJECTIVE  arriving, coming, future, summoned
PRE-VERB  to become, manage to, succeed in

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as kama:[2]

coming5, come5, arrival5, arrive5, become4, upcoming4, emerging4, emerge4, happen4, occur3, next2, developmental2, arise2, visit2, induce2, trigger2, phenomenon2, event2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for kama (󱤖) represents two leg radical moving towards the left, against the convetional writing direction. Compare the glyphs for awen and tawa.

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Word Origins". tokipona.org. Archived from the original on 8 August 2002.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. pp. 236–237.

Further reading[edit | edit source]