A 123-Word Language That Can Be Learned In Under A Week
Start writing a post
Entertainment

A 123-Word Language That Can Be Learned In Under A Week

And its creator hopes it can help you chill.

294
A 123-Word Language That Can Be Learned In Under A Week
Jonathan Gabel

Toki Pona is a constructed language (conlang) originally designed by Canadian linguist, Sonja Lang in 2001. If you’re just interested in learning a language with as few words as possible, you can see a vocabulary list here and get order the lesson guide through Amazon here.

But Toki Pona’s tiny vocabulary list isn’t the only reason why it’s amazing. Before we can understand the significance of Toki Pona and what it can do for you, we first have to look at what a conlang is and why designers make them.

Like I said in another article, conlangs have been made for fictional cultures in books for decades and are being made for TV shows and movies ever more frequently now. Conlang designers over the years, however, have had a variety of reasons to make languages.

First, artistic languages (artlangs) are created for artistic reasons, usually stories with fictional cultures, as in “Star Trek,” “Avatar,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Game of Thrones.” This is where most people encounter conlangs since they appear in pop culture.

Next, auxiliary languages (auxlangs) are designed to provide a common language for a variety of cultures. The thinking goes, that if everyone across cultures study to learn the language of one culture (like American English), then the native speakers of that culture will have an advantage; so these conlang designers intend to create a language that can be used as a culturally neutral communication standard. The most successful example of this is Esperanto, designed by L. L. Zamenhof in 1887, but the category also includes “failed” auxlangs like Solresol and Interlingua.

Finally, we have engineered languages (engelangs),having been created with a specific linguistic concept in mind. These include logical languages, which intend to be as clear and logical as possible with as little ambiguity as possible, experimental languages, aiming to help demonstrate a potentially obscure linguistic concept, and philosophical languages, which are designed to encourage the speaker to think in a certain way. The most famous example of a philosophical language is Newspeak from George Orwell’s novel, “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” but Toki Pona also fits into this category.

In 2001, Sonja Lang was going through a period of depression, and she created Toki Pona to help her through that. Her thinking was that by forcing Toki Pona speakers to use the strategically restricted vocabulary, they are encouraged to make more positive statements and really think through things before they speak. This mindfulness, combined with the cute-sounding vocabulary, can help speakers relax and let go of their ills.

Currently there are several hundred speakers of Toki Pona in the world! Not everyone, though, is attracted to Toki Pona for the philosophical reasons; many “tokiponists” just enjoy studying a language that can be learned in a very short amount of time. Speakers and curious learners alike frequently discuss translations in the official Facebook group, and some fans have created a Facebook group for speaking in only Toki Pona. There’s even a small group of speakers that tweet in Toki Pona! Check us out and see what you think.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review

Solid animation can't raise the newest entry in Sony's colorful monster series beyond the basics

18073
'Hotel Transylvania: Transformania' Film Review
Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video – YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6suJohjIvfo

I take a slight issue with the idea that Adam Sandler didn’t have a good dramatic role until ‘Uncut Gems,’ what about ‘Hotel Transylvania’ (he says semi-seriously)?’

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

Are some people just not meant to be together? Is there any way to prevent an impending divorce?

59949
4 Common Reasons Couples Get Divorced

We've all heard the statistics. Roughly 50% of married couples eventually end up divorced. This can lead to complications, problems with your children, financial issues, and no small amount of negative emotions.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

​Pets are Good for the Soul

Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

63909
Good for the Soul
Pets are Good for the Soul

America is going through a mental health crisis. This crisis predates the global pandemic, but has in many ways been dramatically exacerbated by it. In 2019, 19.86% of adults, or 50 million Americans, reported suffering from a mental illness. The emotional toll of the pandemic has been heavy, with over half of U.S. adults saying that they have experienced stress and worry related to Covid-19. Anxieties over work, uncertainty about the future and other triggers have intensified the mental health crisis. Millions of Americans have found comfort in pet ownership. The media has been awash with stories about a surge in pet ownership, as Americans have taken advantage of the ability of pets to improve emotional well-being.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How Your Sleep Position Affects Your Health?

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

174088
Sleep Position

You changed into your pajamas, turn off the lights, and get yourself ready to sleep. How do you prefer to sleep, on the back, on your side, or on your tummy? Although there’s no scientific result that sleeping position affects your back, here are some interesting facts that have been discovered.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

How to Throw the Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

121001
Ultimate Winter Bash

As the year starts to come to an end, make sure you find the time to have some fun as well.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments