I don't know much Toki Pona, but as I was looking through , I'd like to suggest an alternative character set that more closely matches the meaning of the characters in modern Mandarin Chinese.
ante: 变 (change) → 异 (different, differ)
e: 把→着. The way 把 is used in Chinese is noun + 把 + direct object + verb, and it feels confusing to read it as noun + verb + 把 + direct object as in Toki Pona. It feels more natural to read e as 着, which is often used as noun + verb + 着 + direct object. It does however extraneously convey a sort of progressive tense.
en: 又→和. Connecting nouns is basically the dictionary definition of 和, whereas 又 is used as a correlative conjunction for adjective sand clauses.
esun: 市, same as the Japanese transcription. I'm not sure why a hanzi character isn't provided for this.
ijo: 事→物, as in Japanese. 事 is more about abstract things like tasks.
ike: 坏 (huài) is more commonly used in Mandarin, but the current 歹 (dǎi) will probably be understood fine, and is simpler to write.
ilo: 匕 (spoon, dagger) → 具 (tool), as in Japanese
kama: the current 到 isn't a great match, but I can't think of anything better
kasi: 木→植. 木 is about wood specifically, while 植 means plant.
kulupu: both 组 and 群 (jp) are fine, though they only really mean group and don't evoke society or communal. 社 (shè) can mean both society and group, so that might be closer.
kute: 耳 (ear) → 听 (to hear, listening)
la: 喇→啦. Both are just phonetic transcriptions, but 啦 is more commonly used.
lape: 觉 can also mean to feel/think, so I think 眠 (as in Japanese) is better.
~~lete: 冰 (ice, cold) → 冷 (cold)~~ nvm I think 冰 is better because it can capture lete's meaning of "to chill"
li: 哩 (phonetic transcription of li) → 又, which can be used correlatively as noun + 又 + verb + 又 + verb, or as noun + 又 + verb, which adds the meaning of also.
linja: 糸 (fine silk) → 线 (string, cord)
~~lipu: 叶 (tree leaf, page) → 纸 (paper) or 页 (page, classifier for pages or sheets)~~ 叶 is fine
mani: 元 (Chinese currency unit, original) → 钱 (money)
moku: 菜 (food, vegetables) → 食 (food, to eat). Using 菜 as a verb would be ridiculous.
mu: 吽 (roar of an animal, bellow of rage) → 咪 or 喵 (meow)
mute: 大 (big) → 多 (many, much)
namako: (none currently) → 余 (extra, surplus, remnant)
nanpa: 个 (classifier, individual) → 数 (number) or 第 (forms ordinal numbers, but before the number)
o: 令 (to command, to cause someone to do something) → 哎 (āi, hey, a call to get someone's attention). Another possibility is 请, which means please, or to ask someone to do something.
pakala: 打 (hit) → 破 (to break, to damage)
pali: 工 (work, noun only) → 作 (work, to do)
palisa: 支 (to support, raise, classifier for rods) → 棍, 杖, and 竿 might all be fine.
selo: 甲 (shell, nails, armor) → 皮 (skin, peel)
seme: 什 (what, but doesn't make sense as a single character, also a literary term for ten in fractions) → 何 (literary term for what, which)
sijelo: 身 is more restricted to biological bodies, so I'd suggest 体 if we want to include inorganic or more abstract bodies too
sike: 回 (return, to circle around) → 圆 (round, circle) or 圈 (ring, circle, enclose)
suli: 高 (tall, high) → 大 (big)
tan: 从 (from) → 由 (from, by means of, due to, origin, reason)
tawa: 去 (go) → 到 (arrive/reach, but also can be used as a preposition). 对 would be best to mean "to"/"for", but doesn't have the meaning of "to go".
tomo: 穴 (cave, hole) → 房 (house, building, room)
unpa: commenting on the Japanese here: 盛 (serving of food, popular) → 性 (nature, sex)
utala: 斗 (more general term for conflict) seems better than 战 (to fight, war)
Of these, I'd say 菜 for moku, 大 for mute, 甲 for selo, 回 for sike, 高 for suli, and 穴 for tomo are the most off.
Some of my suggested replacement characters are more complicated to write, but I think they're truer to the original meanings, and it'd be really cool if we could have a word-by-word transcription of Toki Pona that a Chinese speaker with no knowledge of Toki Pona could understand.
(For reference, it looks like the current Chinese character set was proposed from
Last edited by enervation
on Tue Oct 01, 2019 3:08 pm, edited 8 times in total.