Toki Pona

A Created Language With Only 123 Words

Much like Esperanto, Toki Pona is a created language, meaning a human created it from scratch rather than the language developing over many years. Canadian Sonia Lang created Toki Pona in 2001. Since then, Toki Pona has become popular among con-lang enthusiasts due to its simple nature and minimal vocabulary.

Toki Pona focuses on communicating through ideas rather than wordy sentences. For example, "dog" in Toki Pona is "soweli tomo." "Soweli" means "animal" and "Tomo" means "building." Thus, soweli tomo roughly translates to animal building. In context, "tomo" can also mean "house," which then leads to "house animal." This phrase alone does not indicate the subject is a dog, so one has to consider the context of the conversation to understand that "house animal" means "dog."

It sounds a lot more complicated than a 123-word language should be, right? Toki Pona isn't meant to be a universal language like Esperanto, but rather is a language experiment for those who simply love learning languages. Theoretically, the basics can be learned in a relatively short amount of time.

Because Toki Pona's popularity has grown through the internet, there are many resources to learn and practice it:

In 2014 Lang wrote a book about Toki Pona, which is an excellent resource and guide to get started.

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