Toki Pona: Declining Nouns

English uses word position and prepositions do what many other languages do using multiple forms of the same noun. Toki pona tacks on grammatical particles and uses prepositions for the rest. Sentences follow Subject + Verb + Object, although with particles this probably could be rearranged without much loss of meaning.

Plurals

All nouns already imply singular or plural. You can be precise and verbose by using won (one) and mute (many).

pipi = bug or bugs.

pipi won = one bug (emphasizing there is only one)

pipi mute = bugs (verbose), swarm (compound word)

pan palusi = one noodle, some spaghetti

pan palusi mute = noodles, some spaghetti

Articles a, an, the

Toki pona doesn’t have articles. Translating articles will sound verbose and pedantic.

pipi = bug, a bug, the bug

pipi wan = a bug (emphasis on the fact there is only one)

pipi ni = the bug (emphasis on a particular bug)

Accusative, Object

Precede objects with e

mi moku e pipi, I eat the bug.

Use more e’s for multiple objects

mi moku e pipi e sike. I eat bugs and spheres (maybe oranges?).

Leaving out the extra ‘e’ turns the other word into a modifier.

mi moku e pipi sike, I eat round bugs

Genetive, Posessive

pipi mi – my bug

pipi sina – your bug

pipi ona — his/her/it’s bug

pipi mi mute — our bug

pipi sina mute — your(pl) bug

pipi ona mute — their bug

Instrumental, ‘with’

Use the verb and preposition kepeken to indicate you are using something.

mi pakala e pipi kepeken ilo palisa, I squashed the bug with a stick-tool.

mi pakala e pipi kepeken noka mi. I squashed the bug with my foot.

Locative, ‘in’

Use the verb and preposition lon to indicate something is at a place.

[no example yet]

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