o kama sona e toki pona!
Lesson 14: Living Things


akesi reptile, amphibian moli death; to die, to kill
kala fish or an animal that lives in water soweli mammal
kasi plant waso bird

Also remember that pipi is any type of bug.

Ambiguity of the Names of Living Things

As you've seen repeatedly over the past thirteen lessons, Toki Pona's vocabulary is often vague. The vocabuarly for living things is no different. Below we'll look at each of the words that Toki Pona has for living things, and we'll learn a few things about each as we go along.


akesi describes all reptiles and amphibians, including geckoes, lizards, alligators, snakes, iguanas, dinosaurs, and turtles.

If necessary, you may use adjectives (with or without pi) to help specify a particular type or species of akesi. For example, akesi pi telo moli (reptile/amphibian of deadly liquid) might mean venomous snakes or poisonous frogs. akesi suli (big reptile) might mean dinosaur.

Monsters--which are often depicted as slimey with weird skin--would also generally be considered akesi. Be aware that Sonja Lang, the creator of Toki Pona, once proposed a new word monsuta that tentatively was to mean monster and perhaps also fear, but that word wasn't included in the dictionary in Sonja's official book, Toki Pona: The Language of Good. I mention monsuta here because you may see it in some older texts, and because a few speakers may continue using it even though it's deprecated.


kala describes fish and other related animals that live in water.

In rare circumstances, you can also use kala as an adjective. For example, jan kala mermaid.


kasi describes all plants and plant-like things, from the tallest tree to small fungi.

kasi is used in many compound phrases, for example:
kasi kule flower (literally, colorful plant)
kasi anpa grass, etc. (literally, ground plant)
kasi nasa or kasi sona marijuana, depending on whether you want to emphasize its recreational (kasi nasa) or meditative/contemplative (kasi sona) traits
kasi suli trees, large shrubs, etc.
kasi lili weeds, etc.
ma kasi forest, jungle


pipi describes all types of bugs, including spiders, ants, roaches, and butterflies.


soweli describes basically all land mammals, including bears, cats, cows, dogs, elephants, giraffes, horses, kangaroos, lions, mice, raccoons, sheep, and zebras. If you're eating meat from a soweli (e.g., beef or pork), it's still soweli. There's no separate word for meat. By the way, pona moku tasty, delicious, etc.
soweli ni li pona moku. This steak is tasty.


waso basically includes all birds and similar flying animals (e.g., bats).

Like soweli, meat from a bird is still called waso.
mi mute o moku e waso lon tomo Chik-Fil-A. Let's eat chicken at Chik-Fil-A.


moli is straight-forward, but let's look at a few examples.

As an adjective, moli means dead.
pipi li moli. The beetle is dead.
jan moli li toki ala. Dead people don't talk.

kama moli dying. Remember that kama gives a verb or adjective a progressive quality, so kama moli is similar to phrases you learned in earlier lessons, e.g. kama sona (learn) and kama jo (get).
jan utala pakala li kama moli. The injured soldier is dying.
soweli pi kama moli li kalama ike. The dying lion makes a terrible noise.

moli can also be a verb, of course.
jan li moli e waso. The person killed the bird.


Try translating these sentences from English to Toki Pona.
I want a puppy.
Ahh! The dinosaur wants to eat me!
The mosquito bit me.
Cows say moo.
Birds fly in air.
Hint: Think, "Birds go in air."
Let's eat fish.
Flowers are pretty.
Hint: Think, "Colorful plants are good to see."
I like plants.

And now try changing these sentences from Toki Pona into English:
mama ona li kepeken e kasi nasa.
akesi li pana e telo moli.
pipi li moku e kasi.
soweli mi li kama moli.
jan Pawe o, mi wile ala moli.
mi lon ma kasi.
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