jan Kekan San

jan Kekan San

Toki Pona is a weird name!

I spend paragraphs of your time to tell bad jokes

In Toki Pona, all proper nouns external to the language are adjectives. This behavior of the language is on pages 37 to 39 of jan Sonja's Toki Pona: The Language of Good, where she gives examples of proper nouns transliterated into Toki Pona. In jan Misali's 12 Days of sona pi toki pona series, he gives the example of "jan Robert": here, the word "Robert" means "a thing named Robert". Since all proper nouns behave as adjectives in this way, they must follow a word that indicates what kind of thing they are. People are generally "jan [name]". Places are "ma [name]". Most curiously, languages are "toki [name]". I'll be focusing on the last of these.

Here are some examples to get the point across:

In each of these cases, you transliterate the language's name (endonym) into Toki Pona and that becomes an adjective. To specify that these are languages, we refer to them as a kind of "toki". "toki Inli" is "a language named Inli (English)".

Given this behavior of Toki Pona, there are some interesting ways we could misinterpret Toki Pona's name, which are all subtly wrong in funny ways.