A Monologue to learn Toki Pona
Updated: Jan 31
Do you think you can teach a language with this post?
suno pona! Ever since I was introduced to Toki Pona, I wanted to find a way to make it more accessible to the lazy language learner (meaning make it so I can teach my friends as effectively as possible). With such a small vocabulary, I feel like it shouldn’t be that difficult to memorize all the words.
Thus I decided to create this monologue to learn Toki Pona. The basic idea is that if you completely understand all of the grammar and words used in this story, you should know all of the words and grammar rules (at least most forms) in Toki Pona. Thus you can learn Toki Pona in context through one story.
Please note that this is designed to help with teaching your friends Toki Pona. You can’t learn the language through this story, but you can explain almost all of the concepts through it and refresh it for yourself.
Through a story, a friend might be able to learn this language through contextual learning, with guidance. If you do not have a friend to learn Toki Pona with, I have created this breakdown of the monologue to learn Toki Pona, which explains most concepts you need to know.
Please note that this is one of many drafts I have created. It’s quite random, because it’s difficult to put almost every context of communication and every word in a language into one story. Please feel free to contact me if you have any suggestions for improvement.
This is by far the project for this website that I've spent the most time on, so I'm excited to finally present it to you.
Toki Pona learning resources
Of course the Official Toki Pona book is a go-to for learning Toki Pona. o kama sona is a great online course for learning Toki Pona. In general, tokipona.net has a lot of great resources, like the official dictionary, a guide to tokiponization (making words sound like Toki Pona), hieroglyphs, and the sign language Sonja Lang created (but between you and me, I’m not a fan of that sign language and think this version is much better). If you prefer video learning, there is a great series here. A nice place to find a few common phrases is here. And for vocabulary, Memrise has a good course, though I used Toki Pona Pal to memorize the words.
A monologue to learn Toki Pona
1. Hello! This is Michael.
toki! ni li jan Miseli.
2. He is the leader of a strong tribe.
ona li jan lawa pi kulupu wawa.
3. He has a wife and two children.
ona li jo e meli e jan lili tu.
4. His wife’s name is Anna.
nimi meli li jan Ana.
5. In the daytime, he and his son go hunting for fish and forage for herbs.
tenpo suno la jan Miseli en jan lili mije li alasa e kala e kasi.
6. At home, the second child and her mom make bread and clothes.
lon tomo la jan lili pi nanpa tu en mama li pali e pan e len.
7. At night, they circle around the fire, sing, draw in the dirt, and look at the moon.
tenpo pimeja la ona li sike lon seli, li kalama musi, li pali e sitelen lon ma, li lukin e mun.
8. A child says, “Mom, there is a blue lizard in my hand. I like this!”
jan lili li toki e ni: mama o, akesi laso li lon luka mi. ni li pona tawa mi!
9. The other child says, “Oh no! Dad, there is a gross bug on my back. I don’t like this. Kill it!”
jan lili ante li toki e ni: ike! mama o, pipi jaki li lon monsi mi. ni li ike tawa mi. o moli e ona!
10. While Michael is breaking branches, he hears the calls of his children.
jan Miseli li pakala e palisa la ona li kute e kalama pi jan lili.
11. He puts the bug in a bag and gives it to the child.
ona li pana e pipi lon poki. ona li pana e poki tawa jan lili.
12. He says, “Maybe you can kill the bug.”
ona li toki e ni: ken la, sina ken moli e pipi.
13. The kid opens the bag and kills the bug with a rock.
jan lili li open e poki li moli e pipi kepeken kiwen.
14. Michael says “Good, now go to bed.”
jan Miseli li toki e ni: pona! tenpo ni la o lape.
15. The boy said, “I don’t want to sleep.”
jan lili li toki e ni: mi wile ala lape.
16. Michael said, “Are you challenging me?”
jan Miseli li toki e ni: sina utala ala utala e mi?
17. The wind made the child’s body cold.
kon li lete e sijelo pi jan lili.
18. He said, “No. I’m going to bed. I know the way. Indeed.”
jan lili li toki e ni: utala ala. mi lape. mi sona e nasin. kin.
19. After the fire finished, Michael and Anna ate apples and drank water.
seli li pini la, jan Miseli en jan Ana li moku e kili loje e telo.
20. They said, “I love you.”
ona li toki e ni: mi olin e sina.
21. **This part will not be translated, since it is not appropriate for all audiences.**
ona li unpa.
22. Tomorrow Anna will go to the market.
tenpo suno kama la, jan Ana li tawa lon esun.
23. She needs tools to fix the leg of the couch.
ona li wile e ilo tan ni: ona li wan e noka supa kepeken ilo.
24. When she was away, she bought some things and an orange (yellow-red) dog with money.
mama li weka la ona li esun e ijo e soweli jelo loje kepeken mani.
25. When the children saw the dog, they were happy.
jan lili li lukin e soweli la ona li pilin pona.
26. The dog was big and sweet and barked playfully.
soweli li suli li suwi li mu musi.
27. The dog waited near the door.
soweli li awen lon poka lupa.
28. He had a white bird in his mouth.
ona li jo e waso walo lon uta.
29. Michael faced his kids.
jan Miseli li lukin e jan lili ona.
30. He said, “Dangit, one or both of you will humble/train this strange dog.”
ona li toki e ni: pakala. sina wan anu sina tu li kama anpa e soweli nasa ni.
31. He went inside the house and read his new religious book (his new book of the higher path).
ona li tawa lon insa tomo li lukin e lipu sin ona pi nasin sewi.
32. The daughter colored her hair and the son put mud on his face.
jan lili meli li kule e linja lawa ona. jan lili mije li pana e ko ma lon sinpin ona.
33. Mom said, “Why are you so very dirty?”
mama meli li toki e ni: sina jaki mute mute tan seme a?
34. She wiped mud off his nose.
ona li weka e ko ma lon nena ona.
35. She said, “You and your sibling need to clean all of your skin. However, don’t use all of the water.”
ona li toki e ni: sina en jan sama sina li wile pona e selo sina. taso, o pali ala e telo ali.
36. Now that you can understand this, you can understand Toki Pona and read the Toki Pona book. Congratulations!
sina sona e ni la sina ken sona e toki pona li pu. pona!
Hieroglyph and Sign Language versions
These are the same stories in glyphs and sign language, to help you learn those in context!
A few notes
Please note that this monologue uses more detail than is really necessary. The idea behind Toki Pona is minimalism; if it is not necessary to include added description, then don’t do it. For example:
He went inside the house and read his new religious book.
ona li tawa lon insa tomo li lukin e lipu namako ona pi nasin sewi.
I could more easily get the point across by saying, ona li tawa lon tomo li lukin e lipu, which means he went inside and read a book. The fact that he is going inside the house can be implied and the fact that he is reading a religious book isn’t important to the point I’m making. I gave added detail for educational purposes.
If you already speak Toki Pona and have a friend you want to teach, see if they’ll let you go through this story with them (you may want to skip sentence 21). If you don’t speak Toki Pona, O kama sona is what I’d recommend looking at first, but you can use this for some contextual learning. I have detailed explanations for this monologue for additional guidance.