From sona pona, the English–Toki Pona wiki
mama in sitelen pona
mama in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈ (listen)
Usage 2023: Core (100%  )
2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱤱 U+F1931

mama is a core content word relating to parents, ancestors, and caretakers.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word mama is derived from Georgian მამა (mama), meaning "father".[1] Similar words for "mother" are found in multiple languages across the world, thought to derive from babble words.

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of mama includes parents (inclusive of mothers and fathers), ancestors, and caretakers.[2] Figuratively, it also refers to a creator, originator, or founder of something.

jan [sona olin nasa jasima alasa] li mama pi toki-pona
jan Sonja li mama pi toki pona.

jan Sonja is the creator of Toki Pona.

As a modifier, it relates to birth and reproduction, such as the reproductive organs and reproductive cells.

According to the monsutatesu, the word mama when used as a transitive verb can have two opposite definitions: "to cause (someone) to be a parent" and "to nurture (as a parent)". This was first noted by jan Likipi in 2020.[3][4] Another alternative meaning is "to create", synonymous with lon.

pu[edit | edit source]

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

NOUN  parent, ancestor; creator, originator; caretaker, sustainer

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as mama:

parent5, parental5, mama5, mommy4, mom4, creator3, mother3, foster3, originator3, father2, daddy2, founder2, dad2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for mama is believed to represent a parent (bigger circle) and a child (smaller circle).

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

Alternative glyph version for mama

The current sitelen sitelen glyph for mama is derived from the sitelen pona glyph for the same word, inside a "pedestal" similar to the glyphs for meli, mije, and tonsi.[5]

It replaced the older and now deemed alternative glyph, as it was considered too focused on the feminine aspect of the word. It represented a female body with exaggerated breasts, inspired by the Venus of Willendorf figurine and the Nanas, modern statues depicting the female silhouette.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Word Origins. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Toki Pona.
  2. lipamanka. toki pona dictionary. lipamanka's website. Retrieved 20 October 2023.
  3. jan Likipi [@lilscribby] (28 July 2020). [Messages posted in the #sona-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord.

    re: what's monsutatesu
    mi mama e ona means what?
    usually "I created it" or "I parent/nurture it"
    but that's backwards from the normal transitivity rules which would say "I make it into a parent"

    which doesnt make much sense
  4. kala pona Tonyu (29 January 2021). "monsutatesu". lipu kule.
  5. Gabel, Jonathan (14 August 2020). "sitelen ante tawa nimi mama". Jonathan Gabel.