nasin sitelen kalama

    From sona pona

    nasin sitelen kalama refers to a method of writing names in sitelen pona that doesn't rely solely on spelling out names letter by letter. It was created by waso (nameless) of kulupu kasi as a response to similar, but unmarked systems, which she felt were too unreadable.

    Description[edit | edit source]

    "jan Kulumin Sinpin"
    • This writing system goes with the pu system, where symbols read by their first letter. You can mix these systems!
    • A mora is like a syllable, but ends at the vowel because -n is a mora! na n pa
    • Each dot (·) completes the next mora. [anpa] → [anpa · ] → [anpa · · ]
    • Colons (:) add the whole word. [kepeken] → [kepeken · ] → [kepeken · · ] → [kepeken · · · ] → [kepeken : ]
    • Everything is equally spaced, dots and colons too!

    What is a mora?[edit | edit source]

    In mora-timed languages, there are groups of sounds called morae (plural of “mora”) that are each the same duration. For example, in Japanese, morae can be V, CV, CyV, N (a nasal sound), or Q (a lengthening of the next consonant), and all of these get pronounced with the same duration. Most fluent toki pona speakers pronounce toki pona this way, where V, CV, and N are morae, meaning that “kon” is pronounced about twice as long as “ko,” and “pan” and “pana” are the same length.

    History[edit | edit source]

    Attempts at syllabic spellings before the system[edit | edit source]

    Over time, some sitelen pona users began to write their names in more experimental ways. Based on the existing pu way of representing a name by writing a sitelen pona character for each letter in the name inside of a cartouche, these ways veered off into usually using less characters to form the sounds of the name. Among these were:

    • Preferring a glyph to be used syllabically: jan [sitelen sona] → jan Siso, nimi [insa pan telo] → nimi Inpante
    • Impossible sequences of sounds adding sounds based on what the next sound in the sitelen pona character would be: jan [sitelen sona ale] → jan Ssa → jan Sisa, telo [uta anpa] → telo Ua → telo Uja, nimi [insa pan ale] → nimi Ipa
    • Using different forms to the cartouches to signify a name that is spelled like a word: kasi {seli} → kasi Seli, nimi {insa pan telo} → nimi Insa Pan Telo (or nimi Insapantelo)
    • Characters get combined to form syllables: soweli [kili-awen wile-esun] → soweli Kawe

    None of these were solidified and virtually all of them were met with confusion by others for a number of reasons. For example, forming cartouches differently is just something that happens in handwriting and isn't really enough to mark the cartouche as having a different system; unmarked systems are largely backwards-incompatible with pu spelling and it's not clear if [insa pan ale] spells out Ipa or Inpana or Insapanale or anything in-between; unexpectedly encountering another system stops reading flow and requires nice knowledge; no one can agree on using the same system

    Creation of nasin sitelen kalama[edit | edit source]


    Adoption[edit | edit source]

    In an informal emoji reactions poll on the Discord server ma pona pi toki pona[1], 77.4% of those who can read sitelen pona and 81.5% of those who write in sitelen pona can read nasin sitelen kalama. 54.8% of sp readers and 61.1% of sp writers use it.

    Criticism[edit | edit source]

    • small dots are too easy to mistake for "lili"
    • people use it as if it were the new default system, but it's only meant to formalise a way for the people who would otherwise use much worse systems, not to replace or officially expand the sitelen pona cartouches

    References[edit | edit source]

    1. link to poll, data from 2023-01-30; 72 responses, of these, 62 reported being able to read sp and 54 reported writing in sitelen pona