What happened when I tried to learn Toki Pona in 48 hours using memes
Only around 100 people in the world understand this language. This is Toki Pona, created in 2001 by Sonja Lang, a Toronto-based linguist, and I’m one of a group of 17 who recently took on a challenge to learn it in 48 hours. Being far from a natural linguist myself – mere mention of verb conjugation brings me out in a cold sweat – this might have seemed like folly.
To attempt it, we gathered in the East London warehouse that is the head office of Memrise, an online platform for language-learning. Our group is mixed, although the majority seem to speak at least one additional language. Prem Gill, a 22-year-old student of marine geography from Reading, jokes that the TokiPonathon is his easy route to bilingualism: “By the weekend, there’s going to be a whole community that can speak in Toki Pona that wasn’t there a week ago.”