From sona pona, the Toki Pona wiki
uta in sitelen pona
uta in sitelen sitelen
Pronunciation /ˈu.ta/
Usage 2023: Core (99% ↗︎ )2022: Core (98%)
Book and era nimi pu
Part of speech Content word
Codepoint 󱥰 U+F1970

uta is a core content word relating to the mouth and jaw.

Etymology[edit | edit source]

The word uta is derived from Croatian usta, meaning "mouth".[1]

Semantic space[edit | edit source]

The semantic space of uta includes any and all parts of the mouth, oral cavity and jaw, such as the lips, teeth, tongue, and throat. As a transitive verb, it may refer to the act of interacting with something using the mouth, such as placing one's mouth, kissing, licking, biting, or chewing.

jan pi (pona sijelo) li toki e ni2   te o open e uta sina to

jan pi pona sijelo li toki e ni: "o open e uta sina".

The doctor said: "Open your mouth"!

It may be used to indicate verbal communication (toki uta), as opposed to written (toki sitelen) or signed (toki luka) modes of communication.

Metaphorically, uta may refer to any opening, such as of a hole. The word lupa describes openings and holes as a literal sense, so uta would generally only be used like this in order to compare them to mouths in some specific way.

pu[edit | edit source]

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

NOUN  mouth, lips, oral cavity, jaw

ku[edit | edit source]

For Toki Pona Dictionary, respondents in ma pona pi toki pona translated these English words as uta:[2]

mouth5, lip3, kiss3, jaw3, bite2, chew2

sitelen pona[edit | edit source]

The sitelen pona glyph for uta (󱥰) represents an open mouth. It has a dot placed below, which is sometimes omitted by a minority of speakers (uta2). Derived glyphs include kalama, loje, and moku.

No one knows for sure why the uta glyph has a dot, including Sonja Lang herself.[3] One common theory is that it is to help distinguish glyphs derived from the mouth radical, such as moku (moku), from compound glyphs, luka uta (luka+uta). However, no such feature is used to distinguish pali (pali) from luka ijo (luka+ijo), or kepeken (kepeken) from luka ilo (luka+ilo). One other proposed theory is that the dot is a reading aid, distinguishing uta more clearly from words like nimi (nimi) or kiwen (kiwen) in small writing.[4][5]

The dotless variant[created by whom?] dates to 2021 or earlier.[6][better source needed]

sitelen sitelen[edit | edit source]

The sitelen sitelen word glyph for uta (uta) is composed of a circle split into thirds by two horizontal lines, resembling an open mouth with bared teeth or a mouth with parted lips.

The glyph appears as a radical in other word glyphs, such as a (a), akesi (akesi), toki (toki), ken (ken), kokosila, n, and sitelen (sitelen).

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Word Origins". tokipona.org. Archived from the original on 8 August 2002.
  2. Lang, Sonja. (18 July 2021). Toki Pona Dictionary. Illustrated by Vacon Sartirani. Tawhid. ISBN 978-0978292362. p. 382.
  3. Sonja Lang [@sonjalang]. (19 July 2021). [Message posted in the #pali-musi channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 14 April 2024. "i can’t remember why the original design has a dot but i remember that there was a reason at the time[.] if i had known sitelen pona would become as popular as it did, i would have kept better notes!".
  4. pipi Nowa [@neither.nor]. (12 July 2023). [Message posted in the #toki-pi-sona-kulupu-tpt channel in the ma pona pi toki pona Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 14 April 2024. "uta has the dot because otherwise it could become similar to ijo or kiwen (among others) without very careful handwriting.".
  5. nanpa Tonpite [@trollbreeder]. (14 April 2024). [Message posted in the #sitelen-pona-discussion channel in the ma pi nasin sitelen Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 14 April 2024. "My theory is that the dot is for aiding reading? Like differentiating different boxish roundish glyphs at small size[.] nimi vs uta is what primarily comes to mind".
  6. lipamanka [@lipamanka]. (21 June 2024). [Message posted in the #unicode channel in the ma pi nasin sitelen Discord server]. Discord. Retrieved 25 June 2024. "uta (dotless) - I remember adding this to linja sike but I don't remember who requested it or if I came up with it. try searching on ma pona in 2021.".

Further reading[edit | edit source]