Glyph of the word 'uku'.


  • (n.) substance
  • (n.) stuff
  • (n.) thing
  • (v.) to be strange
  • (adj.) inexplicable, strange
  • (pron.) what (free relatives only)

E uku poe po’u’u ti’i le elea…
“The things I do for love…”

Notes: The premiere of Game of Thrones is tomorrow, so I thought I’d translate something appropriate.

For those who can parse the sentence, you might be wondering why it translates literally to “The stuff that’s done by me for love”. Aside from the purely lexical matter of the first noun, Kamakawi can only relativize a subject. Certain languages do this (though none come to mind at the moment), and it just so happens that English (and a lot of Indo-European languages, in fact) is rather permissive with its relative clauses.

What this means is that to say anything like “The things I do for love” or “The house I walked out of” or “The fish whose portrait I drew”, Kamakawi requires one to use some combination of the passive and applicative to target an argument other than the subject of the relative clause.

The word uku is a fairly standard combination of the syllabic glyphs for u and ku. Basically, if you look at ku, all you do is draw two connecting lines on the top to make a w-like character that serves as the u sound.

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2 Responses to “Uku”

  1. Ka kavaka Anthony Docimo ti:

    Congratulations on the show – which, from what I hear, has been renewed!

  2. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    Nothing firm yet, but it’s almost a sure thing, yeah. :)

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