jan Kekan San

jan Kekan San

When was pu added to Toki Pona?


This analysis is mired in the complexities of observing a partially-archived work-in-progress, and second hand commentary on that work. Case in point, here is some commentary from October 5th 2009 on some words missing from the newly made wiki that were not meant to be missing. Actually, one word was intentionally missing, to the disappointment of the community. I can't say with complete confidence that all of the analysis that follows is certainly true, but I have done my best to pick apart fact and speculation, and cite with links where I can.

Important history note: The forum was opened and the Yahoo group were closed on the same day: October 1st, 2009. This was also the day she replaced the old version of tokipona.org with a wiki version, to make parts of her upcoming book accessible, although a small number of wiki pages show edit dates prior to this. Any links to the forum prior to this date are actually links to the Yahoo group archived on the forum. For reference, this is the first forum post, but the search feature will reveal the archived Yahoo group as well.

When was pu added to Toki Pona?

pu was added to the wiki word list on October 1st, 2009 at the same time as the forum replaced the Yahoo group and the wiki was published in a work in progress state. This is also the point where Sonja made several changes to toki pona. Those changes are:

What did pu mean?

This investigation started with the question of when pu was created- and I believe we have a satisfying answer now. But what did it mean? Today, pu means "interact with Toki Pona: The Language of Good" (top definition from ku). Prior to ku, it was "interacting with the official Toki Pona book" (definition from pu). What would pu mean in a world where Toki Pona: The Language of Good wasn't yet published?

It turns out, there was no official answer! The word page is blank, and everyone else is clueless. But we have a hint of an official answer, putting the 2009 definition of pu in a similar state to apeja: The talk page of a totally different article did give a definition. So let's explore!

(but before we continue, fun fact: the article on the second link "everyone" lists 6 words, but the title says 5. is the author not counting pu yet? did they forget noka was removed and count only the difference from 118 to 123? this misunderstanding is fairly common)

Example meanings:


pu was added to Toki Pona on October 1st, 2009. On that day, Sonja reworked Toki Pona's site into a wiki and published some of what would become pu's content. This included adding pu, among other words, to the official dictionary page. pu had no definition on its own word page, but the talk page for "What is Toki Pona?" reportedly gave it the definition "to have the official Toki Pona book." There was also a lot of speculation and experimentation, but its definition would not technically be official until the release of pu.

I hope you enjoyed reading this essay as much as I enjoyed writing it