tuki tiki

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Logo of tuki tiki

tuki tiki (meaning "repetitive language" or "roundabout language") is a radically minimalist constructed language and tokiponido. It was created by ka Tumu (Ðoom Epictooþ) starting in 2020.[1] It has 39 words and 8 phonemes.

While tuki tiki is more minimalist compared to Toki Pona, it is not—nor is it meant to be—absolutely minimalist or the language with the fewest amount of words. Its goal is to to shrink down Toki Pona's grammar and vocabulary to an even simpler but usable scale.[2]

Phonology[edit | edit source]

Consonants[edit | edit source]

The consonant inventory of tuki tiki includes 5 phonemes. Comparing with Toki Pona, the phoneme /s/ merged with /t/, /w/ and /j/ merged with /k/, and /n/ merged with /l/. Due to its small inventory, tuki tiki allows for great allophonic variation. For example, /t/ may be palatalized as [t͡s̠] or [s̠] before /i/.

Consonant phonemes of tuki tiki
Bilabial Alveolar Velar
Obstruent p t k
Sonorant m l

Vowels[edit | edit source]

The vowel inventory of tuki tiki includes 3 vowels, /a, i, u/. /e/ merged with /i/, and /o/ with /u/.

Vowels of tuki tiki
Front Back
Close i u
Open a

Stress[edit | edit source]

Stress, similarly to Toki Pona, is placed on the first syllable of the word. In phrases with more than one word, the second word often has the heavier stress.

Grammar[edit | edit source]

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The grammar of tuki tiki is very similar to that of Toki Pona.

Simple phrases[edit | edit source]

A "simple phrase" consists of one or more "simple words" (analogous to content phrases and content words in Toki Pona grammar). Phrases are head-initial, that is, the first word in the phrase is the head and the following ones are modifiers.

ka li

this being

muku pula mi

my good food

Wordlist[edit | edit source]

The lexicon of tuki tiki is entirely derived from Toki Pona, with the word's semantic spaces expanded to compensate for its small size. For example, the word tu is derived from Toki Pona tu, but the semantic space is more similar to mute.

Word Part of speech Meaning Etymology
a simple word all, only, exist, true, ah a
ala simple word no, not, nothing ala
connector [question marker]
i reference word [object reference] e
iku simple word thing, substance, object ijo
ilu simple word tool, use, method, way ilo
ka simple word being, person, creature, alive jan
kati simple word plant, non-moving creature, leaf, page kasi
ki simple word possible, able, maybe, can ken
kiku simple word rock, hard, earth, ground, land, place kiwen
ku simple word air, gas, spirit, feeling, vibe, sound kon
la reference word [context reference] la
lapi simple word calm, rest, fuzzy, dim, inactive, cold lape
li simple word this, that; him, her, them, it li, ni
reference word [subject reference]: he, she, they, it, that
lika simple word line, stick, limb linja
lili simple word little lili
lu connector [conjunction, preposition] lon
lupa simple word hole, box, room, mouth, inside lupa
mi simple word me, my, us, our mi
reference word [subject reference]: I, we
muku simple word eat, food, tasty, sweet, pleasant moku
muti simple word fun, play, culture, art musi
paka simple word break, destroy, violence, conflict pakala
pali simple word do, make, creation, structure pali
puka simple word side, backside, vicinity poka
pula simple word good pona
taka simple word move, go, come, change, time tawa
tama simple word same, similar, also, stay the same sama
tiki simple word circle, cycle, repeat, pattern, again, time sike
tiku simple word high, tall, big, important, top, head, sky sewi
tila simple word you, your sina
reference word [subject reference]: you
tilu simple word water, liquid telo
timi simple word what? seme
tipi simple word front, face, vertical surface sinpin
titi simple word image, symbol, mean, represent sitelen
tu simple word a lot, much, many, amount, group tu
tuki simple word language, make noise, talk, think toki
tula simple word know, feel, learn, knowledge, document sona
tulu simple word sun, light, warm, colour, energy suno
uli simple word want, need, force, goal, direction wile
upi simple word new, fresh, begin, start, cause open

Writing systems[edit | edit source]

Glyphs in titi pula. Yellow glyphs are taken directly from sitelen pona, orange glyphs are based on it but modified, and pink glyphs are completely original.

Besides the Latin script (titi Latila), the most common way of writing the language is with the logographic writing system titi pula, inspired by sitelen pona. As of February 2024, there are six font families with support for it.


li upi a uli ka.[2]

This is only the beginning of the intentions of man.

Sample text[edit | edit source]

The following text is the translation of the Tower of Babel, translated by ka Tumu.[3]

ka a li tuki tama. ka li taka lu kiku Tilala li tiki lu li.
tiki la ka li tuki i li: "taka. mi pali i kiku mi tulu i li."
ka li ilu i kiku i tilu. pali kiku la ka li tuki i li: "taka. mi pali i kiku i lupa tiku. mi uli ala taka lu kiku tu, la mi tu mi uli i titi tama."
tuki li la ka tiku li taka lu kiku li tula i kiku i lupa. ka tiku li tuki i li: "ka a li tu tama li tuki tama. li upi a uli ka. uli ka la a li ki. taka. mi taka lu kiku mi tu i tuki ka."
tiku li taka i ka a lu kiku a. ka li ki ala pali i lupa tiku.
kiku li li titi Papala lu upi li: tiku li tu i tuki i ka lu kiku a.

In Toki Pona culture[edit | edit source]

Unofficial tuki tiki mascot

tuki tiki is commonly represented by a mascot, designed by Reddit user u/Linguistic-Spiral in 2022 for the webcomic Prolangs.[4] It is an anthropomorphized representation of the language, drawn with a floating body without arms, shorter than Toki Pona's mascot. The glyph for tuki tiki is present in the face and torso of the mascot. The head has a mouth and a hat with emitters above. The character has a pink and yellow color scheme, contrasting with the blue and yellow colors of Toki Pona.

On April Fools' Day[edit | edit source]

In 2023, as an April Fools' joke, the Toki Pona webzine lipu tenpo published an issue written entirely in tuki tiki, named kati tiki tu lili.[5] The issue nanpa sin features a serious article on tuki tiki, written by jan Ke Tami.[6]

For April Fools' Day 2024, the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server rebranded to a tuki tiki server named kiku tiki tuki tiki ("circle-zone of circle-language"), claiming Toki Pona to be "too large".[7]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. The Conlang Database. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "ilu tuki tiki". Google Docs. Archived from the original on 31 October 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2024.
  3. ka Tumu (1 April 2023). In kati tiki tu lili (in Tuki Tiki). lipu tenpo.
  4. u/Linguistic-Spiral (15 June 2022). tokiponido family reunion!. Reddit. Retrieved 30 October 2023.
  5. kulupu pi lipu tenpo (1 April 2023). kati tiki tu lili (in Tuki Tiki). lipu tenpo.
  6. jan Ke Tami (1 November 2023). "tuki tiki li seme?". In lipu tenpo nanpa sin (in Toki Pona). lipu tenpo.
  7. akesi Jan [@janetblackquill]. (31 March 2024). [Message posted in the #ijo-sin channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 31 March 2024.

External links[edit | edit source]