Pi, the clarifier [Toki-pona]

As you will quickly guess, this article is mainly for me: I want to formalize some notions hoping to get them fixed in my mind. If you come across this article and have something to correct, I would be grateful!

There is another unusual object to get used to, and that is the PI.

The grouping pi

All modifiers that follow a word refer to it following this pattern:

[ [ [ something A ] B ] C]

Fortunately, it is possible to associate a modifier with another and make this new whole block apply to the prior one.

Let’s consider this segment : mije pona suli lili

As it stands, pona applies to mije, suli applies to mije pona and lili applies to mije pona suli. Which doesn’t mean much.

This is where pi comes in. It will allow us either to talk about a :

a. … good man that is a little short : mije pona pi suli lili
b. … short and very good man : mije pi pona suli pi lili

In (b), we can save a pi by reversing the blocks:

mije lili pi pona suli

An other exemple:

soweli nasa linja suli –> A strange, hairy and big animal
soweli nasa pi linja suli –> A strange animal very hairy

Speaking “of” pi

That said, the use of pi is much more extensive. Until then, pi could have been translated as “and”. Here we can see it as a “of”:

. jan pi nasin lawa –> the politician
. ma tomo lawa pi ma Konko –> the capital of the Congo
. meili pi wile sona –> a woman of taste
. kulupu toki pi ken soweli –> a discussion group about animal’s rights
. jan pali pi len laso –> the waiter who is wearing a blue shirt

Possessive pi

Another use of pi is to specify possession. It is not easy to say “This is my car” without using a pi:
-> ni li tomo tawa pi mi