meli ni li pona tawa sina tan seme?

“Meli ni li pona tawa sina tan seme?” is a sentence in Toki Pona, a constructed language (conlang) created by Canadian linguist and translator Sonja Elen Kisa.

“Meli ni li pona tawa sina tan seme?” translates to “Why do you like this woman?” in English.

Let’s break down the sentence:

  • “Meli ni” means “this woman”. “Meli” means “woman” and “ni” means “this”.
  • “li” is a separator used after any subject except “mi” (I) and “sina” (you) in a declarative sentence. It separates the subject of the sentence from its verb or predicate.
  • “pona” essentially means “good,” but it can also mean simple, correct, or nice depending on the context. In this sentence, “pona” means “likeable” or “liked”. It’s used as an adjective here to describe the state of the subject “meli ni” with respect to the next phrase.
  • “tawa sina” means “to you”. “tawa” is a preposition that means “to” or “for”, and “sina” means “you”.
  • “tan seme?” is a phrase meaning “from what?” or “because of what?” It is often used to ask “why?”.

So the structure is: [Subject] li [Adjective] tawa [Recipient] tan seme?, meaning “Why is [Subject] [Adjective] to/for [Recipient]?”.

Toki Pona’s grammar and vocabulary are quite simple and minimal, allowing for a lot of interpretation depending on context.