|Usage||2023: Uncommon (35% ↗ )|
2022: Rare (13%)
|Book and era||No book (post-pu)|
|Part of speech||Content word|
nimi sin (literally "new words") are extra words in Toki Pona, especially those created or promoted by the speaking community.
Many speakers warn against learners using or creating nimi sin too early. You should probably be able to fall back on the core vocabulary before you try to fill in perceived gaps. Overzealousness with nimi sin can make communication more difficult, as many nimi sin are obscure and will not be understood.
Terminology[edit | edit source]
There are various different related terms used to refer to these extra words, with different shades of meaning.
nimi sin is the term most commonly used in the Toki Pona community. As it literally means "new words", it is usually (but not always) used for words that were coined after the publication of Toki Pona: The Language of Good. Some people use the compound word nimisin instead, especially when talking about the topic in English.
Neologism (from the Ancient Greek for "new word") is a linguistic term for a (relatively) recently coined word or term, especially one that is becoming accepted into mainstream language.
The terms non-pu words and nimi pi pu ala refer specifically to words that are not pu words (the 120~124 words included in Toki Pona: The Language of Good). Likewise, non-ku words or nimi pi ku ala refers to words that are not among the "ku words" that are mentioned in Toki Pona Dictionary.
Purposes[edit | edit source]
Experimentation with nimi sin is a common form of tinkering with Toki Pona. It can be done with many goals in mind, such as:
- Historic and traditional usage: Many nimi sin are traditional words that have continued to be used, or have had revivals, despite their removal (or framing) as of pu. Many nimi ku suli fall under this, like kin, kipisi, leko, monsuta, namako, and oko.
- Personal preference: There is something fun about nimi sin that encourages many speakers to try using and making them. Specific nimi sin may also be coined to describe concepts that are important to the creator, without expecting or wanting others to adopt their nimi sin.
- High-frequency concepts: Some nimi sin are coined for common concepts that aren't covered in the base vocabulary. For example, linluwi reflects the amount of Toki Pona usage that takes place online.
- Philosophical elaboration: Some nimi sin are created with the expressed purpose of deepening the language's philosophical messages, often by creating words tackling a broadly applicable but precise concept to reveal its presence in everyday life. Additionally, some nimi sin create novel conflations or distinctions between two concepts in order to comment on the concepts themselves or their importance to the language as a whole.
- Grammar extensions: Experimental particles can show what Toki Pona might be like with extra grammatical features. These seem less likely to catch on than nimi sin with their own semantic value. They would make the grammar more complex, and would challenge accepted techniques for building sentences.
- Jokes: There are many joke nimi sin. The joke is often that the meaning[note 3] or word itself[note 4] is unsuited for Toki Pona. Despite this, some joke words are introduced to enough people to pick up momentum and get used in earnest. This and the subjective nature of humor have generated resistance.
Public opinion[edit | edit source]
It seems that nimi sin became more popular between the publication of pu and ku, as speakers wanted to experiment with diverting from pu-rism. After ku, the speaking community was left to grapple with whether the nimi ku should become permanent fixtures of the language, drawing more criticism of specific nimi ku suli and of nimi sin in general.
Recommendations for coining nimi sin[edit | edit source]
Notable nimi sin[edit | edit source]
While relatively few nimi sin have caught on longterm, Toki Pona Dictionary argues that those that do should be considered "essential words" to the language[note 5].
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Deprecated before the first version of Toki Pona was shared in 2001. Not to be confused with palisa.
- Perhaps deprecated words could be used in fiction for an archaic dialect, though.
- Irrelevant to general conversation, too specific, etc.
- Unpronounceable, too long, etc.
- Toki Pona Dictionary does tacitly exclude yupekosi, however.