sitelen pona

    From sona pona

    sitelen pona is a logographic writing system for Toki Pona created by Sonja Lang, the original creator of the language. The system was described in her 2014 book Toki Pona: The Language of Good. In this system, each individual word is depicted by its own symbol, typically written in left to right in horizontal lines, the lines being read starting with the top line.

    Punctuation[edit | edit source]

    Use of punctuation is not defined within this system. Some users use some forms of punctuation, but using English punctuation can cause confusion, as the exclamation point resembles the glyphs a and o, and the question mark resembles the glyph seme. In general, the main use of punctuation is to mark the boundary between sentences. Most people use only a sentence boundary mark, and some will use a form of quotation marking.

    Sentence Boundaries[edit | edit source]

    Aside from a latin-text-style period, it's most common to see a middle dot used, because sitelen pona is typically written centered around a "midline" rather than a baseline.

    Other people prefer using a CJK-style circular period.

    Another option is to use no mark at all, but instead separate sentences using double spacing / monospaced spacing (the space one character takes up in a monospaced font) or newlines.

    Quotation Marks[edit | edit source]

    The second most common punctuation used is for marking quoted text. Using latin style quotation marks is very common, but Japanese corner brackets are also very common. Note that the corner brackets are also the way that the "te" and "to" quotative nimi sin are written.

    Combining Glyphs[edit | edit source]

    Examples for combined glyphs: pilin ike (scalar), telo lete (scalar), kala lili (stacked), toki pona (scalar)

    The glyph of a head word may be combined with the glyph of one modifier. The modifier can either go on top of the head or inside of the head.

    Extended combinations[edit | edit source]

    While not universal, it's very common to use a "extended" or "long" form of the word "pi", where all glyphs in a pi-phrase are "contained" in the "pi" mark.

    Recently, some people extend other characters as well.

    Name Cartouches[edit | edit source]

    Proper adjectives are shown with characters inside a cartouche, inspired by Egyptian hieroglyphs. Within a cartouche, only the first sound of each word is read, each then strung together to form the name.

    jan Sonja li pali e toki ni. ona li sitelen e lipu pu. (written using linja sike)

    There's also a nonstandard but fairly common extended system for writing cartouches using syllables or morae, called nasin sitelen kalama.

    Flexible Glyphs[edit | edit source]

    Many characters in sitelen pona are widely considered to not be static and aren't supposed to be drawn the same way every time.

    • jaki: any scribble, usually with overlaps
    • ko: any blobby unshapely form
    • ni: many use ni to point to the part ni is referencing (up, down, right, or other directions, instead of the standard downwards arrow)
    • lete, kin: rotation, and maybe even exact number of intersecting lines, aren't important
    • linja, kon, telo, pakala, mun: can be mirrored
    • soweli: the exact amount of legs might be less important
    • ku: the toki pona symbol can range from a simple dot to full-fidelity

    Alternative Glyphs[edit | edit source]

    For various different reasons, people have made new glyphs of different characters. The Esperanto translation of the official book includes drawings of these:

    • sewi: mirrored glyph of "anpa" (not very common, but listed by ku - alternatively, it has been suggested elsewhere to use other religious symbols, with the possible downside of being less legible)
    • akesi: 2 legs instead of 3
    • namako: both "sin" with an extra line below, and a hot pepper with emenating lines above, are featured side-by-side
    • additionally, 4 different drawings of jaki are included

    Other common-ish variations include:

    • kala: adding 2 dots for eyes
    • epiku, kokosila, lanpan: although there is a more widely accepted version for all of these, their glyphs are relatively recent and have had more than one shape, so older versions are still in use

    See also[edit | edit source]