From sona pona, the English–Toki Pona wiki
pona in sitelen pona
pona in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈpo.na/ (listen)
Usage 2023: Core (100% → )
2022: Core (100%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥔 U+F1954

pona is a core content word relating to positive qualities, typically glossed as "good".

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word pona is derived from Esperanto bona, meaning "good", itself from Romance languages, ultimately from Latin bonus.[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of pona includes positive qualities, especially those that are coherent with Toki Pona's philosophy. It covers ideas of goodness, helpfulness, and peace and calm. It is an antonym of ike ("bad").

toki pona

good speech (eloquence, a compliment, etc.)
the language of good

soweli pona li lon tomo mi 
soweli pona li lon tomo mi.

A friendly animal is at our house.
We have a pet.

While pona is also often translated as "simple", oversimplification can still be ike. In practice, pona describes the happy medium between overcomplicated and oversimplified. In this sense, something is pona if it limits itself to the relevant and essential.

As a transitive verb, pona refers to causing something to be good, such as improving or beneficially simplifying it.

mi pona e supa pakala 
mi pona e supa pakala.

We fixed the broken furniture.

Subjectivity[edit | edit source]

Being a value judgment, pona is generally subjective. However, this is often made more explicit by specifying who or what finds something pona.

nasin ni li pona tawa ona 
nasin ni li pona tawa ona.

This method is good to them.
They like or benefit from this method.

mi la toki ale li pona 
mi la, toki ale li pona.

As for me, all languages are nice.
I like every language.

Interjection[edit | edit source]

pona can also be used as a positive interjection, used to indicate the speaker's happiness or acceptance. The "Phrase Book" section of Toki Pona: The Language of Good defines this use of pona as:

great, thanks, OK

pona is also used as a part of many interjections. For example:

kama pona
kama pona!


Other common examples include:

  • pona tawa sina: "peace be with you"
  • tawa pona: "bye" (said by the person staying), "farewell", "bon voyage"
  • ale li pona: "all is well", "life is good", "don't worry"
  • lape pona: "good night"
  • moku pona: "enjoy your meal", "bon appetit"
  • sina pona: "you're cool", "I like you"; "thank you" (acknowledging that "you did something good")

pu[edit | edit source]

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

ADJECTIVE  good, positive, useful; friendly, peaceful; simple

ku[edit | edit source]

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

good5, appropriate5, nice5, acceptable5, simply4, OK4, fine4, proper4, quality4, valid4, pleasant4, friendly4, positive4, well4, simple4, benefit4, virtue4, alright4, correct3, fix3, repair3, cool3, advantage3, right (not wrong)3, okay3, fixed3, validity3, helpful3, kind3, merit3, successfully3, ethical3, peaceful3, ideal3, improve3, improvement3, correction3, fair3, grace3, heal3, ease3, successful3, supportive3, awesome3, approval3, correctly2, adequate2, effectiveness2, reasonable2, decent2, thanks2, welfare2, peace2, wonderful2, plain2, properly2, fairly2, civil2, terrific2, improved2, worthy2, well-being2, lovely2, natural2, resolve2, easy2, elementary2, enhance2, efficiency2, mercy2, useful2, justice2, elegant2, beautiful2, courtesy2, effective2, comfortable2, reliability2, perfect2, please2, relieve2, basic2, better2, honest2, solve2, free2, success2, fascinating2, qualify2, morality2, easily2, excellent2, sufficient2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for pona represents a closed smiling mouth. It was designed to keep the preexisting toki pona symbol reverse compatible as a composite glyph.

[citation needed]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Word Origins. Archived from the original on 2 November 2019. Toki Pona.