The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

Categories: North America | Science | Society

You can learn a foreign language in just a few days. Of course, if this is the Toki Pona language, invented in 2001 in Canada by linguist Sonia Lang. Originally it was only 120 words. But Toki Pona, like any other language, is developing and today it already has as many as 137 words!

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

In 2010, Google experts estimated that there are 1,022,000 words in the English language. At the same time, at least 8,500 new ones appear in it every year. The unique Toki Pona language consists of 137 words, but at the same time it is much easier and more convenient to express yourself in it than in English.

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

The idea to create a new language appeared in the head of student Sonya Lang in the late 90s. She was inspired by Dutch, English, Finnish, Chinese, and Cantonese. What happened is considered by experts to be super-simple languages. Toki Pona maximizes meaning and minimizes complexity, so it can be learned for communication in record time. Sonya Lang says about her brainchild:

Like any language, Lang's brainchild has its own alphabet. It consists of 14 letters borrowed from the Latin alphabet: a, e, i, j, k, l, m, n, o, p, s, t, u, w. They have the same sound as in the international phonetic alphabet. But letters are not the only way to express thoughts on paper or screen in tokipona. The language has writing systems sitelen pona ("simple writing") and sitelen sitelen ("drawn writing").

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

The method of conveying information through drawings is sometimes also called sitelen suwi (“cute letter”). You can see for yourself that the name matches the essence. We can say that this is an expression of thoughts using special emoticons. The main way to write sitelen pona is using symbols. Lang described it as "hieroglyphic writing using swirls and other childlike shapes."

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

Another scientist, Jonathan Geibel, helped Sonia Lang develop the second system, sitelen pona. This is a slightly more complex nonlinear system. It uses two separate methods to form words: logograms to represent words and the alphasyllabic alphabet to write syllables.

The language Lang created is unlike any other. He challenges the idea that you can only express yourself effectively by using a large vocabulary. Tikipona is already used by several thousand people and they all unanimously say that 137 words are enough for them to maintain a full-fledged conversation.

The simplest and kindest language of 137 words was invented in Canada.

Many experts perceive Sonia Lang's brainchild as a linguistic toy. But the community of people who use it is slowly but steadily growing. The scope of its practical application is also expanding. This suggests that the language still has serious potential as an effective and simple means of communication.

People tried to simplify languages even before Sonia Lang. For this purpose, short and succinct terms were invented to denote complex phenomena.

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