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tan in sitelen pona
tan in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /tan/ (listen)
Usage 2023: Core (99% → )
2022: Core (99%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word, preposition
Codepoint 󱥧 U+F1967

tan is a core preposition and content word relating to the origin, cause, or reason of something.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The etymology of the word tan is uncertain. Some possibilities include Cantonese (Jyutping: cung4), meaning "to follow; from";[1] Georgian -დან (-dan) "from; out of; since";[2] and Dutch dan "then; after that; in that case".[3]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of tan includes the source, origin, cause, or reason for something.

Preposition[edit | edit source]

As a preposition, tan is translated as "because (of)", "by", and "from".

mi tan ma [kasi alasa nasin awen telo a].
mi tan ma Kanata.

I'm from Canada.

kasi suli li ken kama tan kili lili 
kasi suli li ken kama tan kili lili.

A big plant can come from a small fruit.

ni li tan seme?
ni li tan seme?

Where is this from? (lit. this is from what?)
Why is that? (lit. this is because of what?)

mi pana e ijo pona tan ni> : mi olin e sina.
mi pana e ijo pona tan ni: mi olin e sina.

I gave something nice because you're dear to me.

Content word[edit | edit source]

As a content word, tan's semantic space includes "origin" and "reason", the latter being based on the preposition sense of "because". While some speakers chiefly use tan as a preposition, ku's "Notes on lipu pu" acknowledges the content word usage with the example sentence:[4]

mi sona ala e tan 
mi sona ala e tan.

I don't know the reason.

pu[edit | edit source]

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

PREPOSITION  by, from, because of

ku[edit | edit source]

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

from5, reason5, because of4, by4, source4, behalf of2, basis2, origin2, motive2, cause2, purpose2, per2, since2, factor2, incentive2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for tan represents a curved arrow pointing backwards, pointing towards the origin.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Moniz, C. Ryan, van Der Meulen, Spencer H., jan Lipamanka. (8 October 2020). "Nimi Ale Pona. 2nd ed.". Google Sheets.
  2. jansegers. (29 November 2020). "Toki Pona Root Word Etymology Page". {{{website}}}.
  3. jan Pilipe. (27 July 2015). "Re: Whence these words?". "tan - Dutch 'dan' same as 'then' in English […]". {{{website}}}.
  4. Lang, Sonja (2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 7.