Glyph of the word 'e'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a singular subject that is identical to the previous subject in the discourse
  • (art.) the singular definite article (i.e. “the”)

Oku male li ei, i ia e fili po…
“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…”

Notes: I had to do some fun stuff to the chorus. See, while Kamakawi lexemes are (for the most part) minimally disyllabic, I can mix things up when it comes to verbs and their subjects. Here, I borrowed the serial verb construction used with li (linking to that entry; hoping it explains serial verbs) and created a single clause that takes the place of the two in the song.

I had to make a decision early on. In the original, the words “never gonna” are repeated each time. If something were to be repeated in the Kamakawi version, it would have to be “oku male”. That would leave me three syllables to translate “give you up”, “let you down”, etc. The word for “you” as an object (i ia) is three syllables already. The verbal part would have to fit into a two syllable verb, and to sing it, you’d have to run i ia together into one syllable. I thought it would sound too jumbled, so I gave it up.

Instead, what we have is a phrase that means, “I will never let you go”. Literally, though, it’s “Never will take I you and let go”. The nice thing about the serial construction is that it takes with it the object, so the second verb is intransitive.

The second time around, unfortunately, the lines are much more contentful. We’ll see what I manage there…

The iku above isn’t simply e. When used by itself it is, but it will often cooccur with the present tense glyph (which I haven’t done yet), or the past tense glyph, or the plural glyph, etc. It could very well be realized as e, u, ke or ku. It’s difficult to define in terms of sounds. It makes much more sense in the original orthography.

For today’s Rick Roll moment, how about a change of pace? See, when I was a kid, I really loved this song, and the other one by Rick Astley. I didn’t know who did them, had no idea what he looked like (or how he danced), or any of it: I just loved the sound of the songs, and the sound of his voice. In case you haven’t heard in awhile, here’s a link to Rick Astley’s other big hit from the 80s: “Together Forever”.

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