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toki pona page 4 - oh no! more vocabulary

The vocabulary for this page:

word meaning
jo to have/carry/contain/hold
kala fish, marine animal, sea creature
kasi plant, grass, herb, leaf
pipi insect, bug
sitelen symbol, image, writing, to draw
toki speech, to talk, language
waso bird, flying creature
ma earth, land, outdoors, territory
kiwen hard object, metal, stone, solid
ko powder, clay, semi-solid

This page will only cover the ten new words and a few small concepts.

jan pali li telo e kasi. - The worker is watering the plants.

jan wawa li jo e kiwen suli. - The strong person is carrying big rocks.

telo suli li jo e kala. - The sea/ocean (“big water”) has fish.

mi sitelen e toki sina. - I’m writing down your speech.

waso lili li moku e pipi. - The small bird eats bugs.

ma tomo mi li suli. - My city (“housed land”) is big.

Topics of conversation

There is no consensus on which of these ways is more correct, but each has its own positives and negatives. Everything in this entire heading is one big “dialectal difference”, and the author’s opinions on the differences will follow.

There are two commonly used ways to specify the topic of conversation when using the word “toki”.

The simpler one, as it was used in “o kama sona e toki pona!”, is to specify the topic as an adjective:

ona li toki meli. – They talk about women.

However, it introduces uncertainty when actual adjectives that apply to “toki” are introduced. Does “toki ike” mean “speak badly” or “talk about evil”?

The official book is rather unclear on the subject, but it uses “toki e ijo” to mean “communicate things” and “toki wawa” as “testify” (“speak strongly”), rather than “talk about strength”.

The extended version of this approach, as also commonly used in the toki pona community, is to use the topic as an object:

sina toki e kala. – You talk about fish.

While this is sometimes considered a rather unconventional use of the particle “e” for some, it is less ambiguous and more flexible. For clarity’s sake, this option will be used throughout the course.

Sonja Lang uses the preposition “lon” in this situation:

mi toki lon ijo. – I talk about something.

Example sentences

And here’s some sentences that use interesting phrases.

jan pali li toki utala e tomo mi. - The worker criticizes (“talks in a fighting way about”) my house.

ona li toki ike e jan pona mi. - They (insult / speak bad things about) my friend(s).

You can put several verbs and several objects into one sentence by adding extra particles “li” or “e” followed by their verbs or objects.

meli li toki e soweli, e waso. - A woman is talking about land animals and birds.

jan pali li pona e ilo, li lukin e lipu. - A worker fixes the device and looks at (reads) a document.


The word “toki”, when used by itself, is a common greeting:

toki! – Hello!

Dialectal differences

This part of the document describes how certain toki pona courses differ in explaining certain ideas.

If the subject is “mi” or “sina” (and therefore it doesn’t have a particle “li”), you can do one of two things to add an extra verb.

mi pali. mi moku. - I work and eat.

mi pali, li moku. - I work and eat.


Now, try to figure out the meaning of these sentences.

And try to translate the following sentences into toki pona.


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