“tawa anpa nasa”
lon o, sina tawa wawa weka. tenpo ali la mi lon tenpo suno ali
sama ni: mi tawa lon sitelen lape suli. wile mi li lawa e mi.
mi kama jo ala e tawa mi.
mi pilin e ni: ali li lon lawa mi.
mi alasa kama lukin e lon nasin mi.
taso sitelen nasin li kama ike. sitelen sona li ike kin.
tan ni la mi kama e ni: mi kepeken lawa pi sama taso
monsuta lape li lawa e mi tawa insa pi pimeja ali.
“Going down to craziness.”
Existence, you run away. Always, I live every day
as if I move in a big dream. My desires lead me.
I don’t get my goals.
I think that it is all in my head.
I try to find my regular place.
But the road map is bad and the signs are bad too.
So I bring it about that I use my own rules.
A nightmare leads me into total darkness.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION of Classical Arithide text
“Descending into madness”
Life, you have rushed away. I always live every day
as though wandering in a long dream. I have follow my whims.
I fail to decide about my goals,
hoping that logically it is all in my mind,
trying to discover the place where I am supposed to fit in.
But the map for the road is a forgery, the signs are wrong.
Thus I bring it about that I always live
under my own rules and a nightmare guides me into deepest darkness.
Grammar and Vocabulary
toki pona has an invariant vocabulary and strict word order: SVO and NA. The limited vocabulary (around 120 words) tend to be used in all parts of speech with more or less obvious connections between the uses. Here I give only the uses and meanings relevant to this passage. The short formula for a sentence is:
(Condition LA) Subject LI Verb (E DO) (Prepositional Phrase, PP)
Conditions here are either time phrases ‘tenpo X’ where X specifies what sort of time – past, day, all – or connection marked by PP.
Subjects are nouns, possibly followed by modifiers, which usually group left (each newer, righter, modifier modifies all that went before, to the left). Sometimes a phrase of more than one word will serve as a unit modifier and will be set off by PI before the phrase. The whole constitutes a Noun Phrase, NP.
Direct Objects, if they occur are NP ljke the subjects, but introduced by E and always coming after all the verb stuff.
Prepositional phrases begin with a preposition (!) and are followed by its complement NP.
The Verb may be just a verb immediately after LI or a verb with modifiers (same rules as for Nps) or a modal followed by a word functioning as a transitive or intransitive verb or a preposition with its complement NP. LI is omitted if the subject is just ‘mi’ or ‘sina’.
alasa modal try to
ali adj all, total
anpa adv downward
e [introduces direct object, DO]
ike adj bad
insa n. inside
kama, modal (followed by a verb phrase) come to, become , v. bring about
kin too (also)
kepeken v. use (complement, not DO).
la [marks end of condition]
lape n. sleep
lawa. v. guide; n. head
li [begins predicate/main verb phrase]
lon n, existence, life, place; v. live (takes noun comp. Not DO); prep in
lukin v see
mi n. I
monsuta n. fearful thing
nasa n. craziness
nasin adj. regular, proper, n. road
ni this (following sentence)
o [follows vocative]
pilin v. believe
pimeja n. darkness
sama prep. like, similar; reflexive pronoun
sina n. you
sitelen n. picture, image
sona n knowledge, direction
suli adj. big
suno adj. light (not dark)
tan prep because of
taso conj but, adj only
tawa n motion, travel to, goal; v. go; prep toward
tenpo n time
wawa adv rapidly
weka adv away
wile n. desire