Glyph of the word 'oea'.


  • (v.) to flow (as of lava or water)
  • (n.) flow
  • (adj.) flowing

Oku fe’a ei. Amo i lelea oea oi…uku…
“I don’t know. It’s flowing water, with…a thing…”

Notes: The picture that prompted the above sentence, and my Polynesian investigation, is shown below:

A fountain amid succulents.

There is no Kamakawi word for “fountain”, and that got me wondering: Did the Hawaiians have fountains? All signs point to “no”. But many, many ancient peoples did (just consider our word “fountain”, which derives from the Latin, where it meant “fountain” [time didn’t really touch this one]). Wikipedia suggests that what a civilization needed for a fountain was a source of fresh water that was above ground level. On the Hawaiian islands, though, the only source of fresh water was above ground level. So what gives?

It would seem that in addition to a source of water above ground level, a civilization would also need some sort of piping or conduit technology, whether it be made of wood, metal or stone. That’s something I’m not sure the ancient Hawaiians had (no need), and something that the Kamakawi most certainly didn’t have. The islands aren’t large, and it’s easy to get from a fresh water source back to the village. In a small place, such piping would seem decadent and unnecessary—like an Electoral College (can you imagine!).

So there’s no word for “fountain” in Kamakawi—or at least not yet. Certainly there will be one in Zhyler (in fact, there probably is, but I’m too lazy to check right now), and it’ll be borrowed into Kamakawi, by and by. All in good time…

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