Toki Pona is a constructed language designed by Canadian translator and linguist Sonja Elen Kisa. Toki Pona is a minimal language. Like a pidgin, it focuses on simple concepts and elements that are relatively universal among cultures. It was designed to express maximum meaning with minimum complexity. The language has 14 phoneme and 118 words. It was not designed as an international auxiliary language, but instead inspired by Taoist philosophy, among other things.
The language as of 2010 has been in continuous use for about ten years, and more than 50,000 words have been written in this language by hundreds of people. The corpus is large enough to do a field linguistics survey based on this corpus. Please feel free to contribute to the writing of any section. Keep in mind that this is an objective document describing toki pona usage and not a creative document of language construction. Please briefly quote the toki pona and give due credit to all sources to support your analysis.
In sections where toki pona "lacks" a construction, explain what periphrasic techniques have been observed to express the same thing. Very frequently when one reads that a language lacks tense or grammar, what is being expressed is that the tense or grammar is isolating, periphrasic or lexical and not inflecting. toki pona is almost entirely isolating, so it will be tempting but incorrect to fill in all the sections with "toki pona does not have comparatives, datives, etc"
It is hoped that readers and contributors will both learn about field linguistics and better understand how toki pona has been used.
The Morphosyntax of Toki Pona
- Demographic information - Name of Language, Ethnology, Demography, Genetic Affiliation, Previous Research.,The sociolinguistic situation, Dialects
- Morphological typology - Traditional morphological typology,Morphological processes, Head/dependent marking
- Grammatical categories - Nouns, Verbs, Numerals, Modifiers, Adverbs
- Constituent order typology - Constituent order in main clauses, Verb phrase, Noun phrase, Adpositional phrases, Comparatives, Question particles and question words, Summary
- Noun and noun-phrase operations - Articles, determiners, and demonstratives
- Predicate nominals and related constructions - Predicate nominals, Predicate adjectives (attributive clauses), Predicate locatives, Existentials, Possessive clauses
- Grammatical relations - What constructions are used to express subject, agent and patient?
- Voice and valence adjusting operations - Valence increasing operations: Applicatives, Dative shift, Dative of interest, Possessor raising or external possession, Valence decreasing operations, reflexives and reciprocals, Passives, Inverses, Middle constructions, Antipassives, Object demotion or omission, Object [noun] incorporation
- Other verb and verb-phrase operations - Nominalization,Compounding (including incorporation), Tense/Aspect/Mode, Location/direction, Participant reference, Evidentiality, validationality, and mirativity, Miscellaneous
- Pragmatically marked structures - Pragmatic statuses, Negation, Non-declarative speech acts
- Clause combinations -Serial verbs,Complement clauses, Adverbial clauses, Clause chaining, medial clauses, and switch reference, Relative clauses, Coordination
- The language in use
The Original Specifications of Toki Pona
- Areas where usage conflicts with the specifications -Observed toki pona usage may be wrong relative to the specification. The originally published lessons and word lists are analogous to style guides. They do influence how people use the language, but from a field linguistics standpoint, they are not authoritative.
- The evolution of toki pona -This refers to the real world evolution of usage.