Shape words

From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
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linja: long and flexible. lipu: flat. palisa: long and hard. supa: horizontal surface. sinpin: frontal-facing.
Illustration of common shape words

Shape words, also often called object words or objects, are a set of words in Toki Pona that describe the shape of a physical thing, or objects that are shaped that way. These are sometimes considered difficult to translate, as most of them do not map neatly onto singular English words,[1] making this an area where Toki Pona is more descriptive than English.

List of shape words[edit | edit source]

linja, lipu, palisa, and supa are widely considered shape words.

Of these, linja and palisa are mainly used to describe shape.

The word lipu is also used to refer to documents.

Things that are supa can come in any shape, with the only condition being that a horizontal support surface is included and considered important to the object in the current context. That is, a floor or flat ground is supa, but a chair is often also supa, despite only part of the object being a horizontal surface.

sinpin is sometimes also considered a shape word.

Nonstandard[edit | edit source]

Caution: The subject of this section is nonstandard and will not be understood by most speakers.
If you are a learner, this information will not help you speak the language. It is recommended to familiarize yourself with the standard style, and to be informed and selective about which nonstandard styles you adopt.

Some nimi sin, including kiki and puwa, may also be shape words.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. jan Misali [hbmmaster]. (7 November 2017). [Tweet]. Twitter. Retrieved 16 January 2024. See jan Misali's thoughts on words § palisa.

    palisa is a noun meaning “stick shaped object”. yeah, we’re getting into THESE words now. TP has this whole set of words that refer to objects that are shaped certain ways, and they’re mostly categories that don’t have good English names.