Glyph of the word 'ka'. and Glyph of the word 'ka'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable ka in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (num.) two
  • (det.) both
  • (adj.) second
  • (v.) to double
  • (suf.) creates a dual

Au tei iaka eyana!
“You two dance well!”

Notes: The iku for ka is such because you have two dots that connect. So even though it looks like our “one”, or even a single tally, it’s not one: it’s two.

As mentioned previously, the determined version of ka is used for “to double”, but with this one, the real issue is pronouns.

So Kamakawi kind of has dual and trial pronouns, but not really. There are special forms for dual and trial first person inclusive pronouns, but other than that, dual and trial “pronouns” are formed by suffixing a number to the singular pronoun form. It’s roughly the equivalent of saying something “you two” in English.

And this suffixing isn’t restricted to two and three. You can suffix any number (within reason) and produce a new pronoun. The only difference is that the presence of the inclusive first person dual and trial pronouns argue (in a way) for a dual and trial category along with singular and plural. Me, I don’t worry about it so much. I figure it does what it does, and that’s enough.

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