From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
pali in sitelen pona
pali in sitelen sitelen
A blacksmith working
A blacksmith working
Pronunciation /ˈ
Usage 2023: Core (100% ↗︎ )2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥉 U+F1949

pali is a core content word relating to work and activities.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word pali is derived from Esperanto fari, meaning "to do, to make".[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of pali includes work and activities, effort done to achieve something. It is used to describe the act or instance of creating things, including jobs, projects, and creative works.

mi pali e pan

mi pali e pan.

I make pastries.

Semantic drift from "do" sense[edit | edit source]

In historical usage and in the book Toki Pona: The Language of Good, the word pali was often used as a generic action verb meaning "to do". This has since become notably less popular, an instance of semantic drift. This drift is sometimes referred to as palin't.[2]

sina pali e seme

sina pali e seme?

What are you doing? (obsolete usage)
What are you working on? (surviving usage)[2]

Many speakers nowadays prefer more direct constructions with a causative predicate construction, in the form X li Y e Z.

ona li pali e ni2   mi pona

ona li pali e ni: mi pona.

They do this: I am good. (obsolete usage)

ona li pona e mi

ona li pona e mi.

They make me good. (modern usage)

pu[edit | edit source]

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

VERB  to do, take action on, work on; build, make, prepare

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as pali:[3]

work5, do5, construct5, make5, produce5, activity5, job5, build5, production5, labour5, working5, action5, task5, create5, function5, occupation5, operating4, project4, execute4, craft4, manufacturing4, develop3, generate3, compose3, assemble3, act3, profession3, assignment3, commit3, perform3, enact3, operation3, creation3, effort3, service3, accomplish3, implement3, operate3, implementation3, behaviour3, processing3, behave3, career3, actively2, employment2, practice2, development2, execution2, invent2, industry2, role2, procedure2, functional2, construction2, achieve2, prepare2, interact2, undergo2, accomplishment2, undertake2, busy2, behavioural2, productive2, industrial2, plan2, participation2, manipulate2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for pali (󱥉) is derived from a circle above a hand radical, representing a generic action. These may be drawn either connected or separated. The glyph could possibly be confused with a stacked glyph for luka ijo, however, that construction is unlikely.

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

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References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Word Origins". Archived from the original on 8 August 2002.
  2. 2.0 2.1 jan Kekan San. "palin't". Retrieved 21 January 2024.
  3. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. pp. 307–308.

Further reading[edit | edit source]