Toki pona uses Prepositions (also called adpositions). Some languages use inflection, or declension for the same semantic purpose. The difference is that prepositions are detachable from the word. Picking which to use is going to be tricky. In one language you might use the accusative to mean motion into something, and use the locative for being in one place. Or in English we might use the same preposition for both, eg. “He walked in the room” Now if we have to reason by analogy using our own language, we have no strong guidance on which word to use. At least there are only 10 choices so you will always be right at least 10% of the time. Here is my categorization of the prepositions.
[Warning this isn't complete...I just like to publish early...edit later]
- Instrumental. kepeken ilo — with a tool
- Locative. lon tomo — at the room
- Proximity. poka poki — along side the box
- Similarity. sama suno — like the sun
- Causation. tan pali ona – because of his work
- Dative/Indirect Object: tawa sina — to you, indirect object
- Accusative/Object: e tomo — this is shown by position in English
- Genative/Possessive: pi suno — of the sun
- Vocative: o sina — hey you!
- Nominative/Subject: tomo — shown by position in English
But, you probably won’t be able to rely 100% on analogous thinking using your own language as an analogy for toki pona–you’ll just have to see what emerges in the texts.
- mi lukin lon nimi. I’m looking at words.
- mi lukin e nimi. I’m examining words.
- mi lukin e nimi lon lipu nimi. I’m examing words on the page.