about my name in toki pona

(written 2024-02-10 by tonsi tenpi, that's me!)

tl;dr jan tenpi jan [tonsi en nanpa pan ijo] (or tonsi tenpi) is fine

though, you may have questions...

for starters: why tenpi?

well, i first went through the regular means of making names; tokiponisation:

  • "Daphne" becomes Teni (or Tani)
    • oof, not to diss that name or say it's strictly masculine, but i just know people whose names are Tani. it also doesn't have the same mouthfeel as "daph".
  • Day becomes Te
    • i also don't feel super about that name. it's short, which i like (they say that the shorter your name is, the better a gamer you are...), but it doesn't feel like me (i'm not that good of a gamer).

so, these options aren't viable to me. what's next? you guessed it! it's bodging time, baby!

what about my name, daphne, gives it the particular mouthfeel? it's the consonant cluster: -phn-! it's phonotactically impossible in toki pona (but if it were, and we would restrict it to just the toki pona alphabet, it would look like Tepni)

but you can now see where we are going with this: let's swap those consonants (toki pona is CVN thankfully) and apply a healthy amount of anticapitali— i mean make it lowercase (stylistic choice), then, bam, you get tenpi

this is the only time i'll acknowledge that my name is "daphne" and not "daph". heh.

it's so close to tenpo!

yeah, it is! i like that! it makes for great puns! see a clock? "ilo tenpi"!

have you ever accidentally typed "tenpi" instead of "tenpo"? were you expecting the glyph tenpo to appear, but instead, you got ? well, that's me! sorry about that! sorry if that was confusing!

what's your headnoun?

any! any that reasonably applies to me, to be exact! here's some good ones:

jan jan, tonsi tonsi, mani mani, meli meli, and if you get to know me, feel free to play around with more! maybe i'll like it!

just like my pronouns, i have no particular preference between the above.

what's up with your name in sitelen pona?

if you're on this website, you have seen it: , it follows the nasin sitelen kalama which is widely understood in the community (but not explained in the official sourcebook, Toki Pona: The Language of Good (2014) by jan Sonja).

it just is formatted in halfwidth (maybe even quarterwidth) characters and has a funny glyph. and... to explain the hourglass glyph, i need you to follow me into this rabbit hole real quick:


before i begin, let me say i don't necessarily see this as a negative. i'm not blaming anyone for this very mild confusion.

  1. first, i don't remember what came first:
    • lipu Linku lists ten with the definition: "(shortened variant of tenpo)"
    • Fairfax Pona HD has the hourglass gliph listed as ten2
  2. then, through one of jan Kekan San's VR lessons, i learned that some speakers use the hourglass as alternate glyph for tenpo
  3. and then, i learned that ten with the hourglass glyph is a nimi sin (community-made new word) for the number 10 (the glyph should then be interpreted as a latin numeral 10: Ⅹ, but with an line under and over)

any or all of these could be true, and i don't have a problem with that. in the end, it works in my benefit: whether it means ten or tenpo, it still starts with "ten"!

what about jan [tonsi en nanpa pan ijo] ?

oh, in short, i just like food (hence pan pan, meaning bread and rice and corn and so on), and i like being a nerd (nanpa nanpa, meaning data in this interpretation).

i feel like the square name glyph looks good as a logo, and the long cartouche looks good as a banner or shirt design (i actually put it on my VRChat avatar!) and it also works if the hourglass glyph is not available on a certain typeface.