From Toki Pona
Calvin: I like to verb words.
— Calvin and Hobbes
What is conversion?
In English, we often convert nouns to verbs. For example, usually water is a noun, a "wet liquid thing". If you make it a verb, for example to water a plant, its meaning changes slightly. The new verb means "to pour water on".
The same thing is true in Toki Pona. You can convert words from one part of speech to another: use nouns as verbs, modifiers as nouns, and so on. The word's meaning changes in predictable ways.
In Toki Pona, when you use a noun as a transitive verb, it can mean "to use ___ on". Let's try this with the noun seli.
seli (transitive verb)
The different conversions
Modifier → noun
- the state, situation or general phenomenon of being ___; -ness
Modifier → transitive verb
- to cause to be ___, to make ___
- loje red → to make red, to redden
- nasa crazy → to make crazy
Noun → modifier
- in relation to ___
- mama mama parent's parent, grandparent
- associated with ___
- tomo mi my house
- having the appearance, characteristics or properties of ___
- moku telo water-like food; soup
Noun → transitive verb
- to use ___ on; to apply ___ to
- telo water → to use water on; to wash
Transitive verb → noun
- something that you ___
- moku to eat → food
- sona to know → knowledge
- toki to say → speech
- the act of ___ing
- toki to communicate → communication
- a system used for ___ing
- toki to communicate → language
Anything → interjection
- a short, sudden or emotional expression of ___; how...! what a ...!