Toki Pona Sign Language

The following description of toki pona luka (Toki Pona sign language) is copied as it appears in Toki Pona: The Language of Good by Sonja Lang, the creator of Toki Pona.


Sign Language

Signed Toki Pona (toki pona luka) is a silent version of Toki Pona that uses hand gestures. This can be useful, for example:
     in a quiet library or house of worship,
     during covert ninja operations,
     diving underwater for treasure, or
     while taunting rival Lojbanists with gang signs.

Each word and letter has its own sign. To form a sentence, perform each sign, one after an other, using the same grammar and word order you already know.

Elements of a Sign

Each sign can be described using four elements:
    1. hand shape
    2. location on the body
    3. palm orientation
    4. whether one hand or both hands

Hand Shapes

There are nine basic hand shapes used in Signed Toki Pona. These describe the right hand.

   flat hand       thumb-fist          bent hand
  wiggling hand    1 hand   2 hand
         O hand    L hand      F hand

Locations on the Body

For each sign, the right hand goes to a particular location.
    1. in front of chest
    2. at side of forehead
    3. at side of chin
    4. at left shoulder
    5. at left elbow
    6. on top of left fist
    7. on stomach
    8. under left slanted forearm

Orientations

Most signs are described by the direction that the palm of the right hand faces. A few signs are described by the orientation that a particular finger points.
    1. left
    2. up
    3. down
    4. forward
    5. back

One Hand or Both Hands

Most signs are performed with the right hand at the required location. A few signs are performed with both hands in a symmetrical way. In the description below, the hand shape, location and palm orientation of the right hand is given. Then, if the sign requires both hands, you must mirror the same gesture with the left hand.

Examples

kasi
F hand on top of left fist,
palm facing down
o (letter)
O hand under left slanted forearm,
palm facing down
tomo
bent hand in front of chest,
palm facing left (both hands)
suli
2 hand at side of forehead,
palm facing forward

Descriptions of Signs

a or kin flat hand at side of chin, palm facing left
akesi 2 hand at left elbow, palm facing back
ala flat hand at left shoulder, palm facing down
alasa 1 hand at left shoulder, palm facing back
ale wiggling hand in front of chest, palm facing forward (both hands)
anpa bent hand in front of chest, palm facing down
ante bent hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
anu L hand in front of chest, palm facing down
awen L hand at left shoulder, palm facing back
e flat hand in front of chest, palm facing down
en L hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
esun bent hand in front of chest, palm facing up (both hands)
ijo thumb-fist in front of chest, palm facing down, thumb pointing left
ike thumb-fist in front of chest, palm facing forward
ilo thumb-fist on top of left fist, palm facing up
insa L hand on stomach, palm facing back
jaki thumb-fist at side of chin, palm facing forward
jan 2 hand at left shoulder, palm facing back
jelo F hand on stomach, palm facing down
jo bent hand on top of left fist, palm facing up
kala flat hand at left elbow, palm facing back
kalama wiggling hand at side of chin, palm facing left
kama bent hand in front of chest, palm facing back
kasi F hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
ken thumb-fist at left shoulder, palm facing back
kepeken L hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
kili thumb-fist at side of chin, palm facing left
kiwen thumb-fist on top of left fist, palm facing down
ko bent hand on stomach, palm facing down
kon wiggling hand in front of chest, palm facing left
kule F hand in front of chest, palm facing left
kulupu 2 hand at left shoulder, palm facing down
kute thumb-fist at side of forehead, palm facing left
la bent hand in front of chest, palm facing left
lape flat hand at side of forehead, palm facing left
laso F hand at left elbow, palm facing down
lawa flat hand at side of forehead, palm facing forward
len bent hand at left shoulder, palm facing back
lete wiggling hand at left elbow, palm facing down
li flat hand in front of chest, palm facing left
lili 2 hand at side of chin, palm facing forward
linja 1 hand at side of forehead, palm facing left
lipu flat hand on top of left fist, palm facing up
loje F hand at side of chin, palm facing left
lon 1 hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
luka flat hand in front of chest, palm facing forward
lukin or oko 2 hand in front of chest, palm facing down
lupa O hand in front of chest, palm facing left
ma flat hand in front of chest, palm facing down (both hands)
mama 2 hand on stomach, palm facing down
mani thumb-fist at left elbow, palm facing back
meli 2 hand on stomach, palm facing back
mi thumb-fist in front of chest, palm facing down, thumb pointing back
mije 2 hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
moku O hand at side of chin, palm facing back
moli L hand at side of forehead, palm facing back
monsi L hand in front of chest, palm facing forward
mu wiggling hand at side of chin, palm facing down
mun O hand at side of forehead, palm facing left
musi wiggling hand at side of forehead, palm facing left
mute flat hand in front of chest, palm facing forward (both hands)
nanpa 2 hand in front of chest, palm facing back
nasa thumb-fist at side of forehead, palm facing forward
nasin flat hand in front of chest, palm facing left (both hands)
nena bent hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
ni L hand at side of chin, palm facing back
nimi nothing under left slanted forearm
noka flat hand in front of chest, palm facing back
o wiggling hand in front of chest, palm facing down
olin wiggling hand on stomach, palm facing back
ona 1 hand in front of chest, index finger pointing left
open O hand at left shoulder, palm facing down
pakala thumb-fist on top of left fist, palm facing forward
pali thumb-fist on top of left fist, palm facing left
palisa O hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
pan F hand at side of chin, palm facing back
pana wiggling hand in front of chest, palm facing up
pi O hand in front of chest, palm facing forward
pilin F hand on stomach, palm facing back
pimeja F hand at left shoulder, palm facing down
pini O hand at left shoulder, palm facing up
pipi 1 hand at left elbow, palm facing back
poka L hand at left elbow, palm facing back
poki O hand in front of chest, palm facing down
pona thumb-fist in front of chest, palm facing left, thumb pointing up
pu wiggling hand on top of left fist, palm facing up
sama thumb-fist in front of chest, palm facing down (both hands)
seli wiggling hand at left shoulder, palm facing down
selo F hand at left elbow, palm facing back
seme flat hand in front of chest, palm facing up
sewi 1 hand in front of chest, palm facing left, index finger pointing up
sijelo flat hand on stomach, palm facing back
sike O hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
sin or namako wiggling hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
sina 1 hand in front of chest, index finger pointing forward
sinpin L hand in front of chest, palm facing back (both hands)
sitelen F hand in front of chest, palm facing left (both hands)
sona bent hand at side of forehead, palm facing left
soweli flat hand at left elbow, palm facing down
suli 2 hand at side of forehead, palm facing forward
suno bent hand at side of forehead, palm facing forward
supa flat hand in front of chest, palm facing up (both hands)
suwi 2 hand at side of chin, palm facing left
tan bent hand at left elbow, palm facing back
taso L hand in front of chest, palm facing down (both hands)
tawa bent hand in front of chest, palm facing forward
telo wiggling hand in front of chest, palm facing down (both hands)
tenpo F hand on top of left fist, palm facing left
toki bent hand at side of chin, palm facing left
tomo bent hand in front of chest, palm facing left (both hands)
tu 2 hand in front of chest, palm facing forward
unpa 2 hand on top of left fist, palm facing down
uta 1 hand at side of chin, palm facing back
utala thumb-fist at left shoulder, palm facing forward
walo F hand at side of forehead, palm facing down
wan 1 hand in front of chest, palm facing forward, index finger pointing up
waso O hand at side of chin, palm facing forward
wawa thumb-fist on stomach, palm facing back
weka O hand at left elbow, palm facing down
wile O hand on stomach, palm facing up

Alphabet

To spell out a proper name, use these letters. All letter signs are performed under the left slanted forearm.

a thumb-fist, palm facing back
e flat hand, palm facing back
i and j 1 hand, palm facing down
k bent hand, palm facing down
l L hand, palm facing back
m wiggling hand, palm facing back
n wiggling hand, palm facing down
o O hand, palm facing down
p F hand, palm facing down
s thumb-fist, palm facing down
t flat hand, palm facing down
u and w 2 hand, palm facing back