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toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 8:18 am
by janMato
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 shoot out between the various ways to shorten toki pona, Unicodewon, 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. <-- Lacks word list and what words are translated are often 2 characters. ... 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?

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:55 am
by janKipo
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.

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Mon Jul 19, 2010 2:56 pm
by janKipo
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.

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 11:58 am
by jan Josan
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 indicated 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

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:13 pm
by janMato
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.

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:46 pm
by jan Josan
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.

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 9:11 am
by jan-ante
jan Josan wrote:
Any input / suggestions welcome.

suggestion: leave a as is, and (probably) o
for separators i suggest ~ @ ^ * and (probably) !
en - &, anu - /
大 and 犬 are too similar, i suggest to replace the last one (e.g. 马 or 馬, or 牛 (then 金 could go for mani)), while the 1st one could also go for suli
石 and 看 could also be confusing, 龟 and 电 too (consider 力), 日 and 白 too. the latter pair is really hard to solve (may be 光 for suno or 皑 for walo). 艸 could go for kasi to solve 木 and 末. 穴 could go for tomo. in fact it is cave, but it is more simple and pictographical than standard version. 凹 is a good pictogram for lupa and poki, 品 could be a kulupu. pan is missed, it could be 米 or 麦. 脱 is a bit complex, could be 出
meli [nan2] 男
mije [nü3 (nv3)] 女

was this a joke? 这*玩不 玩?

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:25 am
by janKipo
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.

Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 10:33 am
by jan Josan
suggestion: leave a as is, and (probably) o
for separators i suggest ~ @ ^ * and (probably) !

I thought about keeping single characters the same, but some input systems are really troublesome to switch between. On my phone it is much easier to just press "a" and get 啊 than to switch between keyboards. Similarly I would have to go through a couple screens to get @ & , and I don't think it even has a ^ or *. ! I thing should be left for use as an exclamation point.

大 and 犬 are too similar...

True, trying to find the most simple characters possible, I forgot that some are really hard to distinguish when first learning.

马/馬 is good but then there is 妈 already. 牛 is nice for soweli too, and money could also then be 贝/貝

力-really good suggestion, I changed it above

日 and 白 : 光 is a good solution, and then walo can still be 白

木 and 末:The thing I like about this is, if you know 木 is tree, then it helps remember the meaning of 末 is last/final because the fruit is the final product of the tree.

穴 & 出 - very nice, as soon as I have a longer break here at work I will add them above.


Re: toki pona in chinese/kanji?

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 4:38 pm
by jan-ante
sugestion: move this topic to "sitelen toki"
jan Josan wrote:
马/馬 is good but then there is 妈 already.

surprising! i thought mama is 母.

牛 is nice for soweli too,
soweli could be also 犭. it is just a radical, not valid character, but it is very pictographic

and money could also then be 贝/貝
mani could be also $. i hope you have it on your phone. look: 人$, 道$. to me it is very clear

lukin [kan4] 看
could be also 見 in japanese. but, as my chinese friend said, "they are mutants"

the input method is a big issue. i have no chinese support on my phone and i dont plan to have.the input from computer with a tool like NJstar is not impressive: we have to type the phonetically irrelevant words, this could make a mess in one's head.may be we need a software which will convert latin-based tp or 2-letter codes to hanzi. may be menue-driven interface could be helpful if we arrange the words into suitable groups, 5-10 words per group and 16-20 groups represented by buttons/icons, arranged 4x4 or 4x5