In Toki Pona, the small word o has several meanings.

In the official book Toki Pona: The Language of Good, it says

The particle o has three uses: (1) after a noun phrase to show who is being called or addressed, (2) before a verb to express a command or request, (3) after the subject (and replacing li) to express a wish or desire.

The question is whether a sentence like ”my friend, come here” (using jan pona mi 'my friend', kama 'come', ni 'here') should be jan pona mi o, o kama ni or jan pona mi o kama ni. Or perhaps those phrases are both acceptable? In that case, are they used interchangeably, or are there different use cases or styles?

It seems there are Toki Pona speakers with different opinions on this. Who are they, and what are their arguments?

4 Answers 4


The book by jan Pije and jan Lope says:

We've learned how to address people and how to make commands; now let's put these two concepts together. Suppose you want to address someone and tell them to do something. Notice how one of the o's got dropped, as did the comma.

jan San o, ... - John, ...

... o tawa tomo sina! - ... go to your house!

jan San o tawa tomo sina! - John, go to your house!


Although one of the "o"s is usually dropped, you don't have to, especially if it adds a certain emphasis to something or has some poetic value in a song etc, or maybe if you're calling someone first, making sure they're listening, then continuing. It's just not often done. So for general purposes, yes, drop an "o".


The advantage of just leaving two o's is that you have one fewer rule to make people learn.

Merging o's might sound better especially if o o is something that sounds wrong in your mother tongue. Sandhi, the rules for pronouncing and changing pronunciations of words at barriers is undefined in toki pona- no one with any clout ever definitively said anything one way or the other. Instead, we will get people doing what they do in their native language.


Merging the os is most common method I've seen, but they are mostly interchangeable. Using one o indicates one sentence (My friend, come over here.), while two os are used to split the sentence (My friend! Come over here.). In general, if it is clearly one sentence, you can just merge the os, but if there is a break between the two portions, separate them into two sentences and duplicate the o

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