Toki Pona: The Language of Good

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Copies of the book scattered on a table.

Toki Pona: The Language of Good, known in Toki Pona as lipu pu or (less formally) pu,[1] is the foundational resource of modern Toki Pona. It was written by Sonja Lang to describe her way of speaking the language at the time and finalize her work on Toki Pona. It was originally published in English in 2014.

Contents[edit | edit source]

Toki Pona: The Language of Good presents Toki Pona's philosophy and is mostly dedicated to lessons and exercises, with texts and dictionaries afterward. Its main dictionary section is released to the public domain.

The set of Toki Pona words used in lipu pu is called nimi pu. They include 120 main words, with 1 pronunciation variant, and 3 words presented as "synonyms".

The book also features two writing systems created for the language: sitelen pona (which it fully describes) and sitelen sitelen.

The Toki Pona Dictionary has since amended pu's material with the section "Notes on lipu pu".

pu[edit | edit source]

pu in sitelen pona
pu in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /pu/ (listen)
Usage 2023: Core (96%  )
2022: Core (94%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥕 U+F1955

The word pu is defined as "interacting with the official Toki Pona book". This generally refers to words and ways of speaking that are featured in Toki Pona: The Language of Good.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The etymology of the word pu is uncertain. Proposals include English book and Chinese / (pinyin: ), literally meaning "unworked wood", but which is used as a Daoist metaphor for the natural state of humanity.[2] It was coined by jan Sonja before the publication of the book.

[citation needed]

A misconception before the publication of the book was that the word pu was used as a comma to avoid certain misinterpretations.[3] This was first cited in the French Wikipedia article about Toki Pona from 2005.[4]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

This text is interacting with Toki Pona: The Language of Good, so by some definitions, it is pu.

pu is sometimes used as a reference frame. For example, tenpo pu can refer to "the era of Toki Pona: The Language of Good", starting with its publication. Earth can be called mun pu nanpa wan, "the first celestial body to interact with Toki Pona: The Language of Good".

Extensions[edit | edit source]

Caution: This subject is nonstandard and may not be understood by most speakers.

Due to the wording of its definition, pu is sometimes extended to unintuitive interactions. For a practical example, a surface upon which a copy of Toki Pona: The Language of Good is resting would be supa pu, even though it is not engaging with the text content of the book. A similar common joke is that the book should not be called pu in general, but a stack of copies is pu, since each copy is "interacting" with another.

Rarely, pu is extended to mean "official", to refer to other authoritative documents such as a constitution, or to describe conventional and standard language as opposed to slang.[5]

pu[edit | edit source]

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

ADJECTIVE  interacting with the official Toki Pona book

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as pu:[5]

interact with Toki Pona: The Language of Good5, officially2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

Title page version

The sitelen pona glyph for pu represents a simplified drawing of the book's cover, or alternatively, the book radical (lipu) with the combined glyph for toki pona inside.

Editions[edit | edit source]

The English edition of Toki Pona: The Language of Good has been released as a paperback and as a Amazon Kindle e-book. The book has also been translated to several other languages.

Language editions of lipu pu
Year Language Title Contains
ku material?
Product listing
2014 English Toki Pona: The Language of Good No 0978292308
2016 French Toki Pona: la langue du bien No 0978292359
2021 German Toki Pona: Die Sprache des Guten Yes B09MJ8JPV6
2022 Esperanto Tokipono: La lingvo de bono Yes 9464376090

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Lang, Sonja (2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 6.
    Technically, the word pu describes the relationship and interaction between a person (jan pu) and the book (lipu pu). In informal usage, a number of people use pu as a name for the book itself or the variety of Toki Pona presented in it.
  2. jan Mato (9 January 2010). "Re: What is pu". Toki Pona Forums. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  3. jan Te [janTe] (30 December 2009). "Re: nimi sin sin (eĉ plu novaj vortoj, even more new words)". "Hmmm. I wonder if pu is intended to avoid confusion caused by words like tawa and poka which can be both modifiers and prepositions. Maybe pu can be placed before the prepositional usages". Toki Pona Forums. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  4. Wikipedia. Toki pona. "Un mot alternatif contesté est pu, il agit comme une sorte de virgule pour éviter certains contresens. Ce mot est rejetté par la norme officielle mais il est utilisé ci et là." [A contested alternative word is pu, it acts like a kind of comma to avoid certain misinterpretations. This word is rejected by the official norm but it is used here and there]. French Wikipedia. Archived 25 December 2005. Retrieved 17 November 2023.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Lang, Sonja (2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 336.

External links[edit | edit source]