Glyph of the word 'ulu'.


  • (v.) to be weak
  • (adj.) weak
  • (n.) weakness

A ulu iloa.
“My shoulder is weak.”

Notes: Ahh, finally! Another ikuleyaka! I have a ton of these, but I guess they’re underrepresented in my totally random sampling of words (I probably should develop some sort of systematicity when it comes to choosing words to put up here…).

The iku for ulu works as follows. First, you have the glyph for “man”, hopoko (also the syllabic glyph for ho). This glyph is then modified with the “bad line” determinative, as I call it (similar to the syllabic glyph ka, but it’s always used to modify other glyphs to indicate a bad version of the former). So in a culture where male strength is prized, a weak man is a bad version of a man. Hence, the glyph.

So…perhaps this is sexist. In my defense, here the “man” glyph refers to humans, in general, but that, too, I suppose, is sexist, even if it’s crosslinguistically common (though note: not universal!). But, geez, making an ikunoala out of the syllabic glyphs for u and lu would’ve been a nightmare! This made sense to me at the time, and so I guess I’ll stand by it.

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3 Responses to “Ulu”

  1. Ka kavaka Sylvia Sotomayor ti:

    Just because the culture you created is sexist doesn’t mean you are. At least, I hope that’s true, because the Keleni are sexist, too, just in different ways.

  2. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    Huh. I suppose that true. I guess, though, I was more bothered by the fact that this formation immediately made sense to me and I never questioned it until now. The old mine’s getting lazy…

  3. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    And as proof: I just wrote “mine” when I meant to write “mind”. Yikes!

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