Text formatting in sitelen pona

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Under construction This article needs work:

To do:

  • sitelen pona in boxes to separate paragraphs and/or sentences
  • spaces to simulate pauses like commas do in sL;
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sitelen pona as a writing system is comparatively young. Despite its short history and lack of century-long writing traditions, several ideas for best practices have emerged as a means to improve the form of the overall text.

Vertical alignment[edit | edit source]

Vertical alignment of particles in a sitelen pona text

Since punctuation is not officially defined sitelen pona, many writers use wide spaces or line breaks to indicate sentence boundaries instead of adding punctuation marks.

There can be some disadvantages as a result:

  • Unlike Latin text blocks which can fully fill out an area of space, lines of single sitelen pona sentences can vary in length and appear unorderly.
  • Text wrapping in large sentences may lead to line breaks that make sentence boundaries ambiguous.

To improve reading flow, create a sense of intentionality, and control horizontal length, writers may add line breaks strategically, combined with indentations to put the fragment of the sentence in the same vertical position as counterparts in the sentence.

On a digital document, this vertical alignment is easiest to achieve by using a monospaced font. Since ideographic spaces can take up exactly as much space as a single sitelen pona character in these fonts, writers are able to add as many ideographic spaces as characters get skipped in the indentation. In handwriting, vertical alignment is trivial to achieve manually even without taking care of character widths overall. This method was pioneered by lipamanka.[1]

Common alignments[edit | edit source]

Line breaks with words[edit | edit source]

Repeated use of li and e may be broken up into multiple lines, with each particle being placed below the same particle.

waso li lukin e soweli ike e tawa soweli li wile weka

waso li lukin e soweli ike
   e tawa soweli

 li wile weka

waso li lukin e soweli ike, e tawa soweli, li wile weka.

Repetitions of en, anu and pi, as well as prepositions, can similarly be aligned. Some styles regarding the usage of multiple pi and prepositions may take advantage of further using indentation to indicate dependencies of phrases.

Indicating this kind of dependency is especially useful with la, where the context and the main sentence are fully separated by indentations.

lukin la soweli li suwi
kute la soweli li jaki

lukin la
  soweli li suwi
kute la

  soweli li jaki

lukin la, soweli li suwi
kute la, soweli li jaki

This may also mirror practices regarding comma placements in Latin texts.

Alignment of sentences and paragraphs[edit | edit source]

One way to align sentences, is by using indentations to have li or la in the same vertical position. This can convey a sense of cohesion in the succession of sentences about the same subject.

jan li pilin pona
taso jan ante li sona ala sona

  jan li pilin pona

taso jan ante li sona ala sona

jan li pilin pona
taso jan ante li sona ala sona

Indentations may also be used to relate dependencies so that all indented sentences relate back to the less indented previous sentences.

pipi li wile sona

suno li lon seme
pimeja li tan seme
ijo suno lili sewi li seme


pipi li wile sona
    suno li lon seme
    pimeja li tan seme

  ijo suno lili sewi li seme

pipi li wile sona: suno li lon seme, pimeja li tan seme, ijo suno lili sewi li seme?

Sentences in different paragraphs are drastically less of a cohesive unit. This could get displayed with a larger line break between paragraphs, or it could get displayed by having one level of indentation for one paragraph, and another level for another paragraph. Additionally, paragraphs can occupy completely separate places like panels in a comic.

mun li lon sewi
kalama ala li lon
ijo ala li kama anu seme

ala a
o lukin
waso tu li lon li tawa lon kon li alasa e olin


 mun li lon sewi
kalama ala li lon
ijo ala li kama
    anu seme


ala a
o lukin
 waso tu li lon
   li tawa lon kon
   li alasa e olin

mun li lon sewi. kalama ala li lon. ijo ala li kama, anu seme?
ala a! o lukin: waso tu li lon, li tawa lon kon, li alasa e olin.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "LIPUmanka". lipamanka.gay.