Monday, 25 May 2020

toki pona

Invented in 2001 with its full lexicon published on this day in 2014, the eponymous constructed ‘language of the good’ has a sparse, flexible vocabulary of around one hundred and twenty root words set forth by linguist Sonja Lang whose minimalistic qualities championed by a small but strong community of enthusiastic ascribers employs a few words to express big and broad ideas and promote positive thinking—the project developed as a form of self-therapy out of a dark place—in line with the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis of linguistic relativity that posts that one’s grammar defines one’s world-view and outlook.
Basic ideas can be used to communicate increasingly complex and nuanced meanings but only through an additive process that’s just as easily parred back down to its elemental concepts. Despite being rejected as imprecise by authorities, Toki Pona was among the languages subject to an investigative study on the ability of machines to understand natural language (even naturally occurring examples are parochial and political with prescriptive grammar) in context, significantly outperforming English and others. Because of the limited lingual inventory and morphemes, aside from the Latin script, two logographic writing systems were developed by Toki Pona students: sitelen pona and sitelen sitelen, the latter glyphs pictured along with the banner of constructed languages, designed by Christian Thalmann for the CONLANG family—Lang’s experiment not intended as an auxiliary form of communication but having in a way attained that status.