Glyph of the word 'te'. and Glyph of the word 'te'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable te in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (let.) name of the Zhyler alphabet letter t
  • (prep.) on, on top of
  • (v.) to be on top of something
  • (n.) top
  • (n.) roof (of a hut or house)
  • (prep.) from (only in the sense of “from off of the top of”)
  • (v.) to be sandy
  • (adj.) sandy

A mata ei i lea te e nake.
“I see him on the cliff.”

Notes: Te is polyfunctional, but deservedly so (this word earned it). For most of the “top” meanings (nominal, verbal) the determined form is used; the undetermined form is used for the rest (including the prepositional forms).

Then there are these words having to do with “sandy”. The story with those is that there existed an old derivation process whereby ablaut changed a given substance-like word into a word meaning “covered with that substance”. Te, then, is the ablaut form of ta: yesterday’s word which means “sand”.

A word on this iku. I described in the entry for po the strategy whereby a kind of three-sided “box” is used as a point of reference for a number of structural/relational iku. This makes use of the same system. In te, the wedge shape is on top of the box, which itself has been shrunk to fit in the square occupied by the iku. That short box appears in several other iku, many of which you’ll likely see in the days, weeks, months, years, decades and…no, I guess that’s it—to come.

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