Updated jan Pije's lessons/Lesson 14 Living Things

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akesi - reptile, amphibian

kala - fish or an animal that live in water

kasi - plant

moli - death; to die, to kill

soweli - mammal

waso - bird

Don't forget that pipi is any type of bug.

Ambiguity of Names of Living Things

I'm sure that by lesson fourteen, you've seen time and time again that Toki Pona's vocabulary is fairly vague and inspecific. Well, the names for plants and animals are no different. I'm going to give you a quick run-through of the different groups and mention a few things about each one along the way. So let's get started.


akesi covers all of the reptiles and amphibians. Here is a small sample of animals that would be called akesi:

(Missing Picture)

Many monsters would also fall under akesi. People generally associate monsters as being scary and slimy with weird skin, and there are many akesi that are like that. Dinosaurs also would be akesi.

So, you see, you can't be very specific when it comes to these animal names. But really, that's part of the unique beauty of Toki Pona. How many other languages do you know in which one word can mean gecko, lizard, alligator, snake, iguana, dinosaur, turtle, and a ton of other similar animals?

However, you can still use adjectives and pi phrases to try to get across some meaning. For example, here's a good way to talk about venomous snakes: akesi pi telo moli ("reptile/amphibian of deadly liquid"). This term could apply to venomous snakes or also those poisonous frogs that can kill a human just by jumping on the person.


kala is used to talk about fish and other animals that live in water. Here are a few examples:

(Missing Picture)

Also, kala can be used as an adjective. This is especially useful when you want to talk about mermaids. jan kala = mermaid.


kasi is used to talk about all plants and plant-like things. kasi goes from the tallest tree down to small fungi. Here are some examples of kasi:

(Missing Picture)

Generally, when talking about flowers, you can say kasi kule, because flowers are colorful, of course. And this helps distinguish that you mean a flower and not a typical plant.

When talking about trees, big shrubs, etc., it's best to say kasi suli. For small little weeds and such, use kasi lili. We use lipu kasi to mean "leaf," and kasi anpa for "grass."

There's a particular plant (ahem) which is illegal in most nations which is used for recreation and/or meditation by some people. If it's used for recreation, it's referred to as kasi nasa. When used for meditation, it's called kasi sona.

You can also say ma kasi ("land (of) plants") to mean forest or jungle.


pipi is used for all types of bugs, including spiders, ants, roaches, and butterflies. Here are two examples of pipi:

(Missing Picture)


soweli is basically for all types of mammals. Here are a few soweli:

(Missing Picture)

If you're eating meat that comes from a soweli (such as beef or pork), it is still called soweli. There is no separate word for the meat; it's all the same:

soweli ni li pona moku. -- This cow is good to eat.

We use pona moku to mean "tasty" or "delicious," by the way.


waso includes all birds and flying animals. Here are a few:

(Missing Picture)

Like soweli, if you're eating meat that comes from a bird, you still call it waso. For example:

mi wile moku e waso. -- I want to eat chicken.


There's nothing hard about this word, I just wanted to show a few examples to make sure you understand it. It can be used to say that something is dead:

pipi li moli. -- The bug is dead.

If you want to say that something is dying but is not yet dead, use kama moli. kama gives moli a progressive-like effect, as we've seen in the phrases kama jo (to get) and kama sona (to learn).

soweli li kama moli. -- The cheetah is dying.

And you also use moli to talk about one thing killing another:

jan li moli e waso. -- The person killed the bird.


Try translating these sentences from English to Toki Pona.

I want a puppy.

Ahh! The dinosaur wants to eat me!

The mosquito bit me.

Cows say moo.

Birds fly in air.

Let’s eat fish.

Flowers are pretty.

I like plants.

mama ona li kepeken e kasi nasa.

akesi li pana e telo moli.

pipi li moku e kasi.

soweli mi li kama moli.

jan Pawe o, mi wile ala moli.

mi lon ma kasi.


mi wile e soweli lili.

a! akesi li wile moku e mi!

pipi li moku e mi.

soweli li toki e mu.

waso li tawa lon kon.

mi mute o moku e kala.

kasi kule li pona lukin.

kasi li pona tawa mi.

His mother used pot.

The snake emitted venom (”deadly fluid”).

Bugs eat plants.

My dog is dying.

Forrest, I don’t want to die.

I’m in the forest.