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toki pona in chinese/kanji? - Toki Pona Forums

toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Translation: Toki Pona content in other languages
Tradukado: Tokipono en aliaj lingvoj
janMato
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toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby janMato » Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:18 am

I've been following a few Japanese speakers on twitter and I'm jelous of how much they can say. Last time I did a , won, but the currently chosen symbols have poor cross browser supports (because they are all sorts of dingbats)

I realized that Chinese (and Japanese kanji) has really good cross browser support compared to dingbats.

http://zh.wikipedia.org/zh/%E9%81%93%E6%9C%AC%E8%AF%AD <-- Lacks word list and what words are translated are often 2 characters.
http://ja.wiktionary.org/wiki/%E3%82%AB ... D%E3%83%8A <-- Japanese, incomplete vocabulary list, again often 2 characters.

Is there any prior art for writing toki pona in chinese or kanji?

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby janKipo » Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:55 am

Several people have suggested it, but I don't remember anyone actually giving a set of characters to use. Finding good single character equivalents for tp words is unlikely, but we can make some rough equivalents and use those (the two characters are often a concession to the spoken language anyhow). We could also look for the simplest of several possible choices in many cases. Unfortunately, I have only a C>E dictionary (and not a very big one at that), but the Translation section on my online dictionary might come up with something.
(Later) Works pretty well, but the search for the right word takes a while sometimes. List coming up eventually unless someone gets it done sooner.

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby janKipo » Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:56 pm

After a day on this (sporadic), I have the following notes
1. Chinese rarely matches tp (or English) very closely on simple words, even taking the concessions to spoken language into account.
2. When there are reasonable matches, the symbols are rather complex, more so than spelling out the tp for example.
3. With the complexity comes unreadability, unless, of course, you are into Chinese characters and know where to look for the critical elements.
4. But several characters are very nice: the ones for jan 人 and insa 内 and ala 不 and anpa 下, for example. (I wonder if you could vocab a workable minlang using just words for which Chinese had simple characters).
Searches for different keywords might turn up more useful and distinct characters, but I pass the task on with some joy.

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jan Josan
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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby jan Josan » Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:58 am

Well I'll give this a try, just don't tell my boss what I'm really typing.

Here's my first attempt at coming up with rough Chinese single character equivalents. I've used simplified characters in keeping with the pona of toki pona. At times I have chosen less common characters. For instance I chose 言 for toki, rather than the more common characters related to speach- 说 话 语 (traditional: 說 話 語), because of its simplicity, pictographic quality (mouth + lines coming out) and because it is the radical that unites all the other characters. If measure words are available, I have used them instead of more specific nouns (see lipu, palisa) because they are often used as general classifiers in Chinese.

*Some words marked with asterisks are tp words whose sounds Sonja took from Mandarin/Cantonese. These I have kept the original phonetic characters, except for kon (which comes from 空气/空氣 (the first character-kong means free/leisure while the second-qi is the one that means gas/air etc.) and ni/li (Sonja that ni came from the character 哩 but I think she might have meant li).

Here is my favorite resource for character etymology - - copy and paste characters here to understand the significance and history of each character and see general definitions.

Here is a great on-line dictionary - - for better definitions, character stroke order, and multiple character words which give each single character context.

Any input / suggestions welcome.


a [a] 啊
akesi [gui1] 龟
ala [bu2] 不
ale, ali [quan2] 全
anpa [xia4] 下
ante [bian4] 变
anu [huo4] 或
awen [shou3] 守
e [ba3] 把 <particle used before a noun to show it’s the DO>
en [you4] 又
ijo [shi4] 事
ike [dai3] 歹
ilo [bi3] 匕
insa [nei4] 内
jaki [wu1] 污 <Unicode var. of 汙>
jan *[ren2] 人
jelo [huang2] 黄
jo *[you3] 有
kala [yu2] 鱼
kalama [yin4] 音
kama [dao4] 到
kasi [mu4] 木
ken [neng2] 能
kepeken [yong4] 用
kili [guo3] 果
kin [ye3] 也
kiwen [shi2] 石
ko *[gao1] 膏
kon *[qi4] 气 [空气的气]
kule [se4] 色
kute [er3] 耳
kulupu [zu3] 组
la [la1] 喇 <phonetic character>
lape [jiao] 觉
laso [qing1] 青
lawa [shou3] 首
len [jin1] 巾
lete [bing1] 冰
li * [li] 哩
lili [xiao3] 小
linja [mi4] 糸
lipu [ye4] 叶
loje [hong2] 红
lon [zai4] 在
luka [shou3] 手
lukin [kan4] 看 or [jian4] 见
lupa [kong3] 孔
ma [tu3] 土
mama [mu3] 母
mani [yuan2] 元 or [bei4] 贝
meli [nü3 (nv3)] 女
mi [wo3] 我
mije [nan2] 男
moku [cai4] 菜
moli [si3] 死
monsi [hou4] 后
mu [ou2,hou2] 吽
mun [yue4] 月
musi [wan2] 玩
mute [da] 大
nanpa [ge4] 个
nasa [guai4] 怪
nasin [dao4] 道
nena [shan1] 山
ni *[zhe4] 这
nimi [ming2] 名
noka [zu2] 足
o [ling4] 令
oko [mu4] 目
olin [ai4] 爱
ona [ta1] 他
open [kai1] 开
pakala [da3] 打
pali [gong1] 工
palisa [zhi1] 支 (measure word for rods, pens, guns, etc.)
pan [mi3] 米
pana [gei3] 给
pi [de] 的
pilin [xiang3] 想 or [xin1] 心
pimeja [hei1] 黑
pini [mo4]末
pipi [chong2]虫
poka [pang2] 旁
poki [bao1] 包
pona [hao3] 好
sama [tong2] 同
seli [huo3] 火
selo [jia3] 甲
seme *[she2] 什(什么的什)
sewi [shang4] 上
sijelo [shen1] 身
sike [hui2] 回
sin *[xin1] 新
sina [ni3] 你
sinpin *[qian2] 前
sitelen [hua4] 画
sona [zhi1/4] 知
soweli [niu2] 牛 or [ma3] 马
suli [gao1] 高
suno [ri4] 日 or [guang1] 光
supa [zhang1] 张 (measure word for flat objects)
suwi [tian2] 甜
tan [cong2] 从
taso [zhi3] 只
tawa [qu4] 去
telo [shui3] 水
tenpo [shi2] 时
toki [yan2] 言
tomo [xue2] 穴
tu [er4] 二
unpa [xing4] 性
uta [kou3] 口
utala [zhan4] 战 or [dou4] 斗
walo [bai2] 白
wan [yi1] 一
waso [niao3] 鸟
wawa [li4] 力
weka [tuo1] 脱
wile [yao4] 要
Last edited by jan Josan on Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:54 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby janMato » Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:13 pm

pona a!

I plan to start tweeting in this asap. I trust your judgement on character choices because I know so little about Kanji or Chinese.

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby jan Josan » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:46 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, but I'm probably only 70% sure of the choices I've made. Any other input (or one from the 日本語 perspective) would be welcome.

I'm curious to see what kind of pidgin Chinese you end up with when you translate tp into these characters.

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby jan-ante » Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:11 am


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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby janKipo » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:25 am

We all have that problem from time to time.
牛 is nice for the broad sense of 'mani', but the more common sense might well be 元 [yuán ], which is also simple and more distinctive (I think -- I haven't looked that closely -- this just happened to be one I knew, more or less -- I knew "garden" and the story). 金 seems specialized in a different way. What I meant when saying Chinese does not match well with simple words (but then neither does English). 出 doesn't fit 'weka' nearly as well as 脱, which is one of the better tp-Chinese matches -- but is complex.

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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby jan Josan » Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:33 am


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Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Postby jan-ante » Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:38 pm



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