At first sight, the pronoun system for toki pona looks rather meager. The pronouns are mi, sina, ona for me, you, he/she/it and all variants thereof. It suffices for haiku writing and in person speech, when you have an opportunity to question your conversational partner until you understand what they are talking about.
Keep in mind the missing “li” for sentences with “mi” and “sina”. A word following “mi” or “sina” could be a verb or a modifier of the pronoun. “ona” is not ambiguous in this respect.
- mi mute — I am many.
- mi mute — the numerous me, we
While specific modifiers for the pronoun are not required, it doesn’t look like they are specifically forbidden, hence we have a very expressive pronoun system:
- mi mute– we, us
- sina mute — you’all
- ona mute – they
- mi wan — Empahtic “I”
- sina wan — you (singular)
- ona wan – he/she/it (one person/thing)
- mi tu — I (when spoken by siamese twins, people possessed by spirits, etc)
- sina tu– you two
- ona tu — they, them (two people, things)
Plural, but not including everyone
- mi kulupu — us, excluding you
- sina kulupu — y’all, (excluding someone)
- ona kulupu — they, them (excluding someone)
- mi ale /mi ali- all of us
- sina ale /sina ali– all of you
- ona ale / ona ali – everyone, all of them, everyone of you
- mi ala — no one, not me
- sina ala — no one, not you
- ona ala — nothing, no one
- ona mije– he, you (masculine singular)
- ona meli– she, you (feminine singular)
- ona mije mute– we, you, them (masculine, plural)
- ona meli mute– we, you, them (feminine, plural)
There isn’t an obvious pronoun for a mixed gender group that distinguishes from a homogenous gender group.
- ona sewi- I (God speaking here…)
- sina sewi- You (Addressing God, King, the Warden)
- ona sewi- He/She/It (Addressing, God, Goddess, Robot overlords)
- mi jaki– me (said by people with self esteem problems)
- sina jaki– you (referring to wife beaters and politicians)
- ona jaki– he/she/it (referring to wife beaters and politicians)
- mi lili — little ole me
- sina lili — yousy-woosy.
- ona lili — little ole it.
Pronouns replace a specific noun with something generic. Some of the remaining modifiers are comparatively specific compared to the word “it”, but I would think they would be used more often to reduce the cognitive burden of sifting through possibilities.
- ona suweli/ona kalesi/ona kala/ona walo – he/she/it/they (various animals)
- ona suweli li moku e mi. It bit me!
- ona sama — myself, herself, etc.
- ona mute li telo e ona sama. They/we washed themselves/ourselves.
- ona mije li moku e moku pi ona mije.- He ate his bread.
Just like in English, it isn’t clear if he is eating his own or some other boy’s bread, but if we throw in a ‘sama’ it implies he’s eating his own.
- ona mije li moku e moku ona sama.
Throw in an ‘ante’ and it looks to me like he’d be eating someone else’s.
- ona mije li moku e moku ona ante.
Possessive pronouns can be avoided.
- mi jo e suweli. I have this cat.
If you don’t want to avoid them, “jo” makes sense.
- ni li mi jo. This is mine.
- mi jo — mine
- sina jo — yours
- ona jo– theirs
mi seme/sina seme don’t suggest anything to me. A lot of interrogative pronouns can be made using the preposition + seme pattern, which I’ve coverd elsewhere.
- jan seme– who
- ona seme– what
- ilo seme–what thing
All I can think of for reciprical pronouns is a two sentence pattern. Not very expressive, but it gets the job done.
- They don’t like each other.
- ona mute li olin ala e ona ante. ona ante li olin ala e ona mute.
- ona ni. Them
- sina ni. You here
- ni ante. There (?)
[I should do some more editing, but mi wili lape]