toki pona is a philosophically minimalist constructed language, created by Sonja Lang. Versions of it first appeared on line in 2001, and a small but dedicated community of speakers developed around it in the 2000’s, mostly around a handful of resources that were linked from her website. In 2009, Sonja began to develop a formal lesson plan, which was published in 2014.
Many others have written better than I could about the language, it’s history and use, so I will not attempt to repeat their work here. My interest on this page is to keep a list of resources for others looking to learn.
If you know you want to learn toki pona, Toki Pona The Language of Good, the official toki pona book, is a must own. The examples are simple, easy to understand, and used as a standard to judge all other resources by.
There are a number of lessons on line as well, each with it’s own advantages.
jan Pije’s lessons, once the authoritative source for learning toki pona, is still a great place to go. He gives examples for sentence structures more complicated than a lot of what is presented in the official book. His lessons were updated in 2015 to better align with Sonja’s lessons. Steer clear of PDFs of earlier versions unless you are specifically looking for historical changes. His updated examples are easier to understand and more tasteful.
jan Lentan’s toki pona page has a newer set of lessons. The great thing about these lessons is that they compare multiple approaches using toki pona, and lay out the many meanings for each sentence rather than giving one empirical translation. This ends up giving a solid foundation for the different ways people prefer to interpret the grammar. This could also make it harder to learn toki pona if you are new to it, depending on your learning style. The additional resources alone are another reason to visit the site.
As each word in toki pona can have more than one definition, all of the meanings that a word might be used for can vary from dictionary to dictionary. For this reason I like to have several old and new versions on hand:
- jProgr - beautiful interactive dictionary
- jan Inwin - the most thorough list of historical and unofficial words, includes the standards
- nimi pi toki pona - a little hard to navigate, but a lot of good context and examples
- jan Lope - interactive, includes phrases and examples, a little hard to read
- tokipona.net - original definitions, more thorough than many more recent
groups, chats, boards
- discord - ma pona pi toki pona - a very active community right now, with many sub channels
- telegram - kulupu pi toki pona - beginner friendly
- telegram - toki pona taso - only in toki pona
- telegram - sitelen sitelen taso - a group about writing in sitelen sitelen, beginner friendly
- list of all telegram groups - collected list of all toki pona telegram channels
- toki pona forums - mostly defunct, but a wealth of archived material, while it lasts.
- Toki Pona Analysis: Parts of Speech - very thorough and well written (10/19)