mi ken pali e ni taso: mi o kama.

English Translation

One can but try.

The phrase “mi ken pali e ni taso: mi o kama.” is in Toki Pona, which is a minimalist constructed language created by Sonja Lang. Toki Pona has a small vocabulary, so each word can have multiple meanings depending on context. The grammar is also simple and relies on context and word order.

Let’s break down the phrase:

  1. “mi” means “I” (first person singular pronoun).
  2. “ken” means “can,” “able,” “possible,” or “power.”
  3. “pali” means “work,” “make,” “build,” “create,” or “do.”
  4. “e” is a direct object marker, indicating what the verb applies to.
  5. “ni” means “this” or “that.”
  6. “taso” means “but,” “only,” or “just.”
  7. “mi o kama” is a separate sentence:
    • “mi” again is “I.”
    • “o” is an imperative or optative marker, often used to communicate a command, wish, or request.
    • “kama” means “come,” “happen,” “begin,” or “turn into.”

Putting it all together, the first part of the sentence, “mi ken pali e ni,” translates roughly to “I can do this” or “I am able to make this.”

The word “taso” following a statement adds a constrast or limitation, much like the English word “but” or the phrase “only this.”

Finally, “mi o kama” can translate to “I must come,” “I should come,” or “let me come,” given the optative or imperative use of “o.”

So the full phrase might translate to English as “I can do only this: I should come.” or “I am able to do just this: let me come.”

It’s important to note that Toki Pona relies heavily on context and the intended meaning can change depending on the situation. This requires the listener or reader to actively interpret what is being said.