jan ala li ken pilin e ni: ijo ni li lon.

English Translation

Nobody could believe it.

“jan ala li ken pilin e ni:i jo ni li lon” is a sentence in the constructed language, Toki Pona.

Word by word translation:

  • jan: person, people, human, somebody, anybody
  • ala: no, not, zero, absent
  • li: is, are, be, do, does
  • ken: able, can, allowed, possible
  • pilin: to feel, think, sense, touch
  • e: introducing direct object
  • ni: this
  • ijo: thing, stuff, object, matter
  • lon: to exist, at, in, present, real, true

So, the sentence “jan ala li ken pilin e ni: ijo ni li lon.” translates to “Nobody can feel this: this thing is present.”

Breaking down the grammar:

  • The phrase ‘jan ala’ translates as ‘no one.’
  • ‘li ken pilin e ni’ indicates action, meaning ‘can feel this.’ Here, ‘ken pilin’ is ‘can feel,’ and ‘e ni’ is ‘this.’
  • A colon is used to separate two related thoughts or statements.
  • ‘ijo ni’ translates as ‘this thing,’ and ‘li lon’ means ‘is present.’

So, in grammatical terms ‘jan ala’ is the subject of the sentence, ‘li’ is the action verb, ‘ken pilin’ stands for auxiliary verb '‘can’ with main verb ‘feel’, ‘e’ introduces the direct object ‘ni’. The colon introduces the second sentence with ‘ijo ni’ as subject again, ‘li’ being a copula verb, and ‘lon’ as a predicate adjective.