la

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
(Redirected from la phrase)

la in sitelen pona
la in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /la/ 🔊 🔊
Usage 2023: Core (100% → )2022: Core (100%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Particle
Codepoint 󱤡 U+F1921

la is a particle used to separate the context from the main part of a sentence. The phrase before la can range from a single content word to a full sentence.

Functions[edit | edit source]

la indicates that what comes after it follows from or depends on what came before. It is extremely general, and can indicate all sorts of antecedent–consequent relationships, including prepositional descriptions, cause and effect, conditions, or where, when, or how something happens. Generally, what comes before la is the context for what comes after.

Fronting prepositional phrases[edit | edit source]

la can be used to put a prepositional phrase at the front of a sentence.

jan [sona olin nasa jasima alasa] li pana e toki pona tawa kulupu kepeken toki ni

jan Sonja li pana e toki pona tawa kulupu kepeken toki ni.

Sonja gave Toki Pona to the community with these words.

kepeken toki ni lajan [sona olin nasa jasima alasa] li pana e toki pona tawa kulupu

kepeken toki ni la jan Sonja li pana e toki pona tawa kulupu.

With these words Sonja gave Toki Pona to the community.

When fronted, lon is most frequently dropped.

mi moku e kili lon tenpo-ni

mi moku e kili lon tenpo ni.

I'm eating a fruit at this time (now).

tenpo-ni lami moku e kili

tenpo ni la mi moku e kili.

As for this time (now) I'm eating fruit.

lon can be added back in, and other fronted prepositions can get dropped, depending on the speaker.

Sometimes, lon is also used as a content word. In this case, it is retained:

jan-mute li lon ma-ni

jan mute li lon ma ni.

Lots of people are here.

ma-ni lajan-mute li lon

ma ni la jan mute li lon.

Around here there are lots of people.

Cause and effect[edit | edit source]

la can show cause and effect. The part before the la is taken to bring about, or be the condition for, what comes after the particle.

ilo li mu lami lukin e ona

ilo li mu la mi lukin e ona.

My phone rang, so I checked it.
When my phone rings, I check it.
If my phone rings, I will check it.

Definitions[edit | edit source]

pu[edit | edit source]

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

PARTICLE  (between the context phrase and the main sentence)

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as la:[1]

if5, while3, depending3, regarding2, than2

Punctuation[edit | edit source]

Commas are optional in Toki Pona, and they can be placed before or after la. In the Toki Pona Dictionary, Sonja Lang states that it is a "stylistic choice".[2] In this article, all commas are omitted in Toki Pona text.

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for la (󱤡) is shaped like a closing parenthesis, often used to delimit the markers of an ordered list, or paired as a set of parentheses to provide extra detail on the surrounding text. The list usage can be replicated in sitelen pona to a degree:

nanpa wan la o ijo

nanpa tu la o ijo

nanpa mute la o ijo

Domain names[edit | edit source]

The top-level domain .la, officially used by Laos, is popularly used in the Toki Pona community for websites with Toki Pona content.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 261.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 9.

Further reading[edit | edit source]

Resources[edit | edit source]

Dictionaries[edit | edit source]