human being, person, somebody
usage of jan differs a lot between groups of speakers, but many speakers use it broadly to refer to any sentient creature. But this can break down when you consider what sentience is and where we draw lines between ourselves and nature. This also gets complicated when we take into account nonhuman identities such as radical reclamation of dehumanization, which is awesome. many toki pona speakers specifically choose to not be a type of jan, so jan broadly cannot be applicable to all speakers of language. It's still used frequently to refer to a group of people, some of whom may not be humans, and especially "somebody," i.e. a hypothetical unspecified agent. If someone is not a jan, it's often rude to call them one--just stick with whatever word they've chosen for themselves.
person⁵, human⁵, people⁵, anybody⁴, dude⁴, anyone³, character³, somebody³, guy³, being³, individual², civilian², whoever², citizen², participant², Hominidae², personal²
NOUN human being, person, somebody
core · 100% usage
found in pu
Cantonese · 人 jan ‘person’
by jan Sonja
There are two sides to the concept, "sentient entity" and "homo sapiens", which matters for whether to use the word in edge cases (i.e. aliens, humans turned into werewolves, etc). Which sense is more central to the word remains controversial.
head radical; pictogram of a person showing the shoulders