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How to say, 'Haters gonna Hate' in Toki Pona

Constructed Languages Asked on August 20, 2021

The closest I could find was

jan ike | awen pali e ona | pilin ike tawa
enemy | continue | hate

But I’ve not figured out if that the right way to combine those phrases

2 Answers

The consensus answer (thanks Oliver Mason) for how to translate Haters gonna hate into Toki Pona is the following:

 tenpo ale la jan ike li ike

Tenpo ale la translates as at all times and captures the sense of inevitability in haters gonna hate in English. It also serves to rule out other possible readings such as the tautological bad people are bad. Here ike is used as "commit evil acts", one of which is presumably hating.


I interpret Haters gonna hate as a phrase for dismissing all criticism as inevitable or unfounded regardless of its content.

I don't think hate in this context literally refers to feeling hatred/enmity, but to hating on, which is not quite the same thing and covers things like insults and ridicule.

I think we strip out a lot of the detail of haters gonna hate and get something reasonable.

jan    ike    li   ike
person bad    PRED bad
bad    people are  bad

Since jan ike is so much broader than bad person in English, I think this does a good job of conveying the intent of the expression. People predisposed to ridicule or insult you are going to ridicule or insult you regardless of what you do.


The right way to combine the phrases you gave above would be

jan ike li awen pali e pilin ike tawa.

However, there are a few constructions in there I'm not sure about

li   awen  pali
PRED keep    do

I don't know whether you can use awen like this as an auxiliary verb of sorts to mark habitual or progressive aspect, as you seem to be doing here.

pilin   ike  tawa
feeling bad  towards

I don't know whether you can use an objectless preposition attributively like this. My guess is yes since prepositions besides e (if analyzed as a preposition) do not form a distinct word class in Toki Pona. I'm having trouble finding an explicit citation for the non-existence of prepositions as a distinct word class, this is the closest I can find.

Answered by Gregory Nisbet on August 20, 2021

I'd say something like

jan pi lawa ike li wile e ijo ike tawa sina lon tenpo ale

Which means: "People of bad heads want bad things for you, always".

You could also use:

jan pi toki ike li wile e ijo ike tawa sina lon tenpo ale

Which means: "People of bad talking want bad things for you, always".

Answered by ᛤᗑᛥᛣᗑ on August 20, 2021

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