Toki Pona has Gained ISO 639-3 Language Code!

Jan. 28, 2022, 2:38 p.m. Toki Pona

Congratulation on Toki Pona language for successfully applying for the "tok" ISO 639-3 language code!

Toki Pona is a minimalist constructed language invented by "jan Sonja" back in 2001. The first official book describing the language, Pu, was published at 2014. Unlike most other constructed languages, Toki Pona has less than 130 words. Due to the simplicity of the language, it attracted lazy people like me who don't want to invest too much time into learning a language. Personally I've learned it in 2018. And the speaker of language has been growing steadily. As of today, Toki Pona is the second most spoken constructed language in the world, only after Esperanto, with the amount of speakers estimated to be about 300-1000 and counting...

Since Toki Pona language were invented, three ISO 639-3 Language Code applications were made, including at 2007, at 2017 and at 2021. With the 2007 and the 2017 request failed, Toki Pona had finally made it in 2021 and gained the "tok" language code.

I have learned Toki Pona in 2018 and have been using it since then. The one thing I've learned from Toki Pona is that, context is everything when it comes to communication, and it ain't a good idea to always take words at face value. It enabled me to talk with others more efficiently. I've also made quite a few friends speaking Toki Pona along the way. In addition, since I've learned the language, I've developed a hardware device and a game that feature the language. I've also joined Toki Pona Day 2021 showcasing another DIY Toki Pona counting device. As of this moment, yet another Toki Pona related hardware device is under development that's to be released some time in this year.

Last year I was invited to join the "Toki Pona ISO 639-3 working group". I wasn't quite active there. Right before the deadline of the application in 2021, the main applicant called for filling in the form collaboratively. I'm very glad to have involved in assisting in doing write-up of the missing parts required for application of the code along with other people in the working group. After that, the members of the Discord group "ma pona pi toki pona" were contacted and they helped editing the existing content into perfection. Just earlier today, it was officially announced by ISO 639-3 that the application was successful.

The success of this application is significant. It means that toki pona have a standard language code that can be used for localization of programs. Without a code, each program and website would have to come up with a custom code for toki pona language, assuming that it's even supported by the site in the first place. With a standard language code, it makes localization much easier. Believe it or not! Websites like Wikipedia only allows adding new languages that has an ISO language code. The lack of language code of Toki Pona had been a limiting factor of the growth of the language. With the new language code, I hope that Toki Pona language will continue to thrive!

If you haven't learned the language yet, do take a look at it! Here's a nice free online course for learning it:

o kama sona e toki pona! ona li musi a! (Translation: Go learn Toki Pona! It's fun!)