Toki Pona, the world’s easiest language

As you know, languages have existed pretty much forever. They‘ve obviously changed greatly over time, but one thing about language is consistent throughout the entire world – there are many. There is an estimate of over 6,500 different languages spoken all around the world, thus it’s difficult for everyone in the world to easily communicate. Many countries even have multiple official languages, spoken at a national level by equally large amounts of people. Like in the country of Ethiopia, the languages of Amharic, Tigrinya, Afar, Oromo, Somali, and many others are all spoken on a regular day-to-day basis. And that’s just one country out of over a hundred and ninety.

But what if there was a way we could all communicate using the same means of communication, what if there was a written, and spoken form of communication, that anyone could easily pick up and use? And what if that form of communication was personally tailored to be easily pronounced, and spoken by people of any linguistic background? You’re probably thinking of Esperanto, but no…this isn’t Esperanto, this is better, it’s called Toki Pona! Why is it better? Well, here’s why: According to OxfordDictionaries, Toki Pona was a language created back in 2001, but it wasn’t really used, or even heard of, by a wider population, until in 2014 when Sonja Lang released the book, Toki Pona: The Language of Good. After the book was released, Toki Pona was practiced and spoken on dedicated online chat rooms, and at occasional community meet-ups.

But what even is this language, and why should anybody really care? Well, they should care because Toki Pona is personally crafted to be the easiest, and most realistically potential universal language that could unite the world. And, it’s really easy to learn as the entire language only relies on its 125 root words (and 14 phonemes).

But how does that work? With only 125 words, how would you say…anything? Well, it’s because according to the official book of the language, it’s how you use them. If you were to see a table, you would call it “a table” but what if in your language, there’s an incredibly limited vocabulary, well, then (in Toki Pona’s case) you’d call it a “Four leg wood.” Or, what if you spoke Toki Pona, and ate a hamburger? Hamburger? Don’t you mean “Round meat food?”

Toki Pona is just like that, and it’s surprisingly efficient, as you can add on as many of the root words as you like in order to make the object, or thing you’re describing more efficient. An actual example of this language is the phrase “waso telo” which are the Toki Pona words for “water bird” which means seagull, there’s also “ilo toki” which means “talking tool” which usually refers to a phone. Toki Pona thus heavily relies on context.

Toki Pona also only uses 14 Latin letters which are, “a e i j k l m n o p s t u and w,” but the language also has an official script called Sitelen Pona:

which has a very original design, and somewhat resembles the Ancient Mayan alphabet.

But along with having a Latin alphabet alongside its traditional unique Sitelen Pona, members of the online Toki Pona community have adapted the to Arabic, and Korean script, making it even more easy, and accessible. But for me personally, I think the best way to learn it would be to learn the symbols, because once you learn what those one hundred and twenty five symbols mean, and just get over that hump, that’s it, you’ve learned the entire language, there really aren’t that many rules.

So, anyway, I hope you try and learn about this language, and possibly get a bit closer to us all kind of understanding each other, so goodbye, or in translated Toki Pona: Not hello!

Comments

  1. Nice article, but the Toki Pona community started from 2001 onwards … especially in Esperanto circles… but also with Splash course at MIT from 2001 on up to 2009 …

    Thanks to jan Pije a updated set of Toki Pona lesson was available from 2003 on and these were translated into an impressive number of languages (Esperanto, Spanish, Russian, Dutch, Japanese, Catalan, Polish, etc.)

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