Glyph of the word 'kopuku'.


  • (v.) to wave at
  • (v.) to allow
  • (n.) allowance (not that kind)
  • (adj.) allowing (perhaps “sanctioning” is a better English translation)

Oku kopuku ei i ia tou ae liwi ie katativa li’i poiu!
“I cannot allow you to steal my bacon!”

Notes: That’s me talking tough to an egret! Egrets, let me tell you, will walk right up and snatch your bacon right off your plate if you’re not stern with them. Granted, it’s adorable, but with only so much bacon to go around, one must draw a line in the sand!

We’re one post away from the word that was actually used in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This one, though, helps to illustrate something that’s a little different about the Kamakawi.

In America, if you wave at someone, you’re greeting them (or maybe just trying to get their attention; it depends on the type of wave and the urgency of the motion). On the Kamakawi islands, a wave means, “Go ahead!” So to “wave at” something means to allow it. And that’s how we get today’s term. As for tomorrow’s…

Tags: , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply