Toki Pona: Pronouns, Forms of Address

When information is important, we in code it into the word (or phrase), such as encoding person, place, time, gender, etc.

Right now, the universal form of address in toki pona is “jan”, which is required introduction to a proper name.  In English, we encode gender and if a woman is married or not and her political affiliations, location of address (office) and possible age

  • Mr. — male
  • Mrs. — female, apolitical, taken or old to assume so
  • Miss — female, possibly taken
  • Ms — female, politically egalitarian, maybe taken or maybe not, possible at the office

If it can be thought, it can be said.  So translating into toki pona:

  • jan John Doe  — (men aren’t going to advertise if they are taken)
  • jan Jane Doe
  • jan mije John Doe — male
  • jan meli Jane Doe — female
  • (?) jan meli Jane Doe pi John Doe — taken
  • (?) jan meli Jane Doe pi ona — taken

Of course it could be done in a complete sentence and you see that a lot in English conversations, where  apropos nothing the young lady makes a reference to significant other in the first two or three minutes of the conversation.

2 thoughts on “Toki Pona: Pronouns, Forms of Address

  1. You don’t have to use “jan” if you use “mije” or “meli”.

    “jan” isn’t a “form of address”. It means “person”. All non Toki Pona words are treated as *modifiers* (proper nouns are adjectives), so of course a person’s name tells which person they are.

    jan Wiko (“Rick”y person)

  2. I’d say “jan” is a form of address. So far, to introduce a proper noun (ok, proper modifier) in toki pona, it is required to introduce them with soweli, jan, ma, etc. If anything, toki pona has a richer version of the English terms of address. No one is accusing toki pona of being an English relex. If that was so it would be easier to translate Mrs. and Miss.

    Toki pona does not have a developed conculture. Without one, the conculture of toki pona is the mixed culture of international internet users. Addressing someone strictly by their gender is offensive in the US (although it might not be offensive elsewhere). So, in the context of the US, it would be politer, even if more verbose,to say, “jan mije o mi wile e moku Coca Cola”