3. Toki Pona Text


“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.


English Translation

“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’.



ala not

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