mi pilin ala e jan anu seme?

English Translation

Did I forget anyone?

Toki Pona is a minimalist constructed language (conlang) created by Canadian linguist and translator Sonja Lang. The language is designed to express maximal meaning with minimal complexity, often requiring context and relational thinking to fully interpret. The language consists of approximately 120-137 root words (depending on which iteration of the language you’re using) and a simple grammar structure.

The sentence you provided, “mi pilin ala e jan anu seme?” can be broken down as follows:

  • “mi” means “I” or “me.”
  • “pilin” can mean “feel” or “think” (emotional or physical sensations).
  • “ala” is used to negate the verb, and it means “no” or “not.” So “pilin ala” means “do not feel” or “do not think.”
  • “e” is a direct object marker that precedes the object of a verb.
  • “jan” means “person” or “people.”
  • “anu” is a word used to present options, similar to “or” in English.
  • “seme” is a question word that means “what” or “which.”

Putting it all together, “mi pilin ala e jan anu seme?” translates roughly to “Who don’t I feel/think of?” or “Which person do I not have feelings for?” depending on the context. However, the phrasing is a bit unusual because negation in the form of a question is not commonly found in natural languages, making it sound more like “I don’t feel/think about whom?” The sentence requires contextual interpretation to be understood fully. It would be useful to know what conversation preceded this question to understand what is being implied.

If you are asking who you don’t think about amongst a selection of people, it would be phrased more naturally as “mi pilin ala e jan seme?” Dropping “anu” would turn the sentence into a general question: “Which person do I not feel/think about?”

It’s important to note that due to the minimalistic nature of Toki Pona, the context can dramatically change the meaning of words and sentences. The language encourages simplicity and focuses on the essence of thoughts, often relying on the listener to interpret the meaning based on the context. Moreover, since Toki Pona has a relatively small community, variations in usage may occur, and the language is subject to evolution as it is used.