Teti

Glyph of the word 'te'.Glyph of the word 'ti'.

teti

  • (n.) a title usually used only with foreigners meaning something like “sir/madam” or “your grace” or “lord” or some equivalent honorific [< Zhyler]

Owe, he teti, i ka oku!
“Ahh, your majesty, there is no second!”

Notes: Hey, here’s fun. I was helping move my grandmother into a new place today, and she decided to empty her storage facilities. Thence was produced this picture:

Picture from my childhood.

This painting hung in my room for about 18 years—until I went to college. I spent a lot of time looking at it, and made several revelations over the years. For example, for the longest time, I simply had no idea what the words could possibly mean. I interpreted the word “second” as referring to the unit of time (as if the one boat was asking, “Could you wait a second?”). It wasn’t until much later that I realized it was supposed to referring to second place.

Another thing that always puzzled me (and, in fact, puzzles me still) is the whole “your majesty” thing. Why would you refer to someone your racing with as “your majesty”? It makes no sense. Is this common in yacht racing?

In addition to this, I believed, for many, many, many years that this was a photograph. In fact, it’s a painting. It may be a photograph or print of a painting, but the original was a painting, which took me by surprise. It looks realistic enough to be a photograph. However, if you look very closely at the waves, you can see the brush strokes, and the illusion is revealed. I think I was 17 when I first discovered this.

Today’s word is the Kamakawi version of “your majesty”, or as close as it gets. It’s basically a title (something like tuan in Indonesian), and comes from the Zhyler word sedi (in the orthography sedi), which means something like “mister/madam”. It’s much more of a nounish noun in Kamakawi than it is in Zhyler.

Back to the picture, I suggested that my grandma get rid of it (she has a ton of stuff), but since I suggested it, she became determined to keep it. The picture, then, gotten for me by my stepdad which hung in my room for 18 years is now hanging in her hallway. It looks entirely out of place to me. It’s like walking into a Hot Topic and hearing Jim Croce: It just doesn’t fit. I suppose I’ll now have to get used to it, though…

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2 Responses to “Teti”

  1. Ka kavaka Anateleu ti:

    I thought the quote looked familiar and checked the America’s Cup entry on Wikipedia. The quote is reputedly addressed to Queen Victoria when the yacht America won the cup at the first race around the Isle of Wright. New Zealanders are fixated with the America’s Cup because a New Zealand yacht won it from America once. I thought it was rather silly to get nationalistic about rich men racing in big boats, and yet we did! Fortunately for me the cup has gone back to being held by an American yacht club now.

  2. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    Ha! Well how about that. 30 years and I never knew what the mystery was behind that quote—and over ten years with the internet and I never once thought to google it. Well, that settles that! Awela, he Anateleu!

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