Counting in Toki Pona
Toki Pona is a philosophical artistic constructed language. It has been designed by the Canadian linguist Sonja Lang in 2001. Its main goals are minimalism, with only 120–125 root words and 14 phonemes, focus on simple concepts and elements that are universal among cultures, and trying to induce positive thinking. Two logographic systems have been designed for Toki Pona: sitelen pona, a series of childlike shapes by Sonja Lang herself, and sitelen sitelen, which resembles the Mayan script, by Jonathan Gabel.
Due to lack of data, we can only count accurately up to 999 in Toki Pona. Please contact me if you can help me counting up from that limit.
Toki Pona numbers list
- 1 – wan
- 2 – tu
- 3 – tu wan
- 4 – tu tu
- 5 – luka
- 6 – luka wan
- 7 – luka tu
- 8 – luka tu wan
- 9 – luka tu tu
- 10 – luka luka
- 11 – luka luka wan
- 12 – luka luka tu
- 13 – luka luka tu wan
- 14 – luka luka tu tu
- 15 – luka luka luka
- 16 – luka luka luka wan
- 17 – luka luka luka tu
- 18 – luka luka luka tu wan
- 19 – luka luka luka tu tu
- 20 – mute
- 30 – mute luka luka
- 40 – mute mute
- 50 – mute mute luka luka
- 60 – mute mute mute
- 70 – mute mute mute luka luka
- 80 – mute mute mute mute
- 90 – mute mute mute mute luka luka
- 100 – ala
Toki Pona numerals
The sitelen sitelen, the writing system invented by Jonathan Gabel to write Toki Pona does not contain specific glyphs to represent numbers, but glyphs representing the syllables that compose them. It is its syllabic aspect that interests us here, although it is also a logographic system.
Toki Pona numbering rules
Now that you’ve had a gist of the most useful numbers, let’s move to the writing rules for the tens, the compound numbers, and why not the hundreds, the thousands and beyond (if possible).
- Toki Pona numeral words are limited to a list of six words only: ali , wan , tu , luka , mute , and ala . Any number is formed by addition of those numeral bricks, with no use of the shortcut of multiplication.
- Digits are formed by addition of one, two and five: ali , wan , tu , tu wan  (2+1), tu tu  (2+2), luka , luka wan  (5+1), luka tu  (5+2), luka tu wan  (5+2+1), and luka tu tu  (5+2+2).
- Tens are formed by addition of five and twenty: luka luka  (5+5), mute , mute luka luka  (20+5+5), mute mute  (20+20), mute mute luka luka  (20+20+5+5), mute mute mute  (20+20+20), mute mute mute luka luka  (20+20+20+5+5), mute mute mute mute  (20+20+20+20), and mute mute mute mute luka luka  (20+20+20+20+5+5).
- Compound numbers are formed starting with the ten, followed by the unit separated with a space (e.g.: luka luka luka , mute luka luka tu wan , mute mute mute luka luka wan ).
- Hundreds are formed with the last Toki Pona numeral word (ala) in an additive manner: ala , ala ala , ala ala ala , ala ala ala ala , ala ala ala ala ala … ala ala ala ala ala ala ala ala ala .
- Big numbers are formed in the same additive manner, resulting in quite long sequences, up to nine hundred ninety-nine: ala ala ala ala ala ala ala ala ala mute mute mute mute luka luka luka tu tu .
Write a number in full in Toki Pona
Let’s move now to the practice of the numbering rules in Toki Pona. Will you guess how to write a number in full? Enter a number and try to write it down in your head, or maybe on a piece of paper, before displaying the result.
Toki Pona Dictionary
by Sonja Lang, editors Tawhid (2021)
Toki Pona: The Language of Good
by Sonja Lang, editors Tawhid (2014)
[ , ]
Toki Pona : la langue du bien
by Sonja Lang, editors Tawhid (2016)
Other artistic languages
Aczu Śavnecze, Atlantean, Atrian, Ayeri, Azazilúŝ, Barsoomian, Belter Creole, Brooding, Dai, Dovahzul, D’ni, Elder Speech, Engála, Giak, Grayis, Hiuʦɑθ, Hylian, Illitan, Ithkuil, Itláni, Kēlen, Kiitra, KiLiKi, Láadan, Na’vi, Nìmpyèshiu, Shiväisith, Siinyamda, Toki Pona, Tpaalha, Trigedasleng, Tüchte, Va Ehenív, Verdurian, and Wardwesân.
Other supported languages
As the other currently supported languages are too numerous to list extensively here, please select a language from the full list of supported languages.