Archive for September, 2011


• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'fila'.


  • (v.) to be heavy
  • (adj.) heavy
  • (n.) weight
  • (nm.) a boy or girl’s given name

Fila nea ima…
“She’s so heavy…”

Notes: From the Beatles’ song of the same name (a good one!). Fila is a straightforward combination of fi and la, which, honestly, I’ve never liked the look of. Especially in the font, it looks kind of jumbled. But that’s the way of it with characters like these.

Fila is also a name, believe it or not. It’s generally given to babies that are heavier than usual (perhaps a kind of revenge for a mother that’s had a particularly difficult labor). To learn more about the name, go here.


• Monday, September 19th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uma'.


  • (v.) to squeeze
  • (adj.) squeezed
  • (n.) squeezing

Oku uma ia i’i oku! Ae ne’ava…
“Don’t squeeze me! I’m full…”

Notes: I’ve been going over to my good friend’s on the weekend to watch football, and man, does he make a breakfast! And I’m not one who usually eats before…sunset. I was losing weight for a time, but now I think I’m putting it back on. Oh well. More pull-ups for me!

Today’s iku is a modified version of u. It’s highly iconic, as I see it: You have the “W” shape of u, and it’s getting…squozen. (By the lines, you see.) I’m pretty sure the line at the top is supposed to be a head, and the line in the middle is where the squeezing happens. I think the line at the bottom is for the feet… Yeah, if there were two lines under each divot, the lines would’ve been connected over time (just easier). I’m fairly certain that’s the story of today’s iku.

As for “squozen”, well… Some English verbs just feel like they should be irregular. “Squeeze” is one of them (to me).


• Sunday, September 18th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nowoni'.


  • (n.) stomach ache
  • (v.) to have a stomach ache

Nowoni ei ima…
“I have a stomach ache…”

Notes: Not a very interesting (or pleasant) word of the day, but it’s true, nonetheless. Blech… :(

Today’s word derives from noni, the word for “stomach”. It has the “negative” infix, which in this case surfaces as -ow-. It’s basically a “bad stomach”.

And that’s what it is. Bad stomach! Bad, bad stomach! :x


• Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'upi'.


  • (v.) to float (on the water)
  • (adj.) floating

Ka mata ei i kuaki poke upi ie lelea!
“I saw a duck floating on the water!”

Notes: I kind of forgot about this word for awhile. I assumed, just looking at it, that it was an ikunoala. Then I went to actually look at it, and I saw that line, and thought, “That looks nothing like u…”

And, sure enough, it’s not an ikunoala. Rather, what it is is the iku for pi with a line over it to indicate the water line (the same line used in me). And while the pi is under the water, it kind of makes sense to me—like something is floating above, but you just can’t see it.

I’m sure the reason I did this is because the glyph for pi is such a meaty glyph. It can stand on its own easily, and should serve as a base for other glyphs wherever possible, says I.


• Friday, September 16th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'kapalele'.


  • (adv./conj.) in this way, in this manner, and so, así, thus, thusly, like this
  • (adv.) so (with stative predicates)

Ea. Olo ei kapalele.
“Yes. I sleep like this.”


I was quite happy to come back home to see both Erin and Keli. And Keli was quite pleased to see me. After awhile we sat on the couch, and she came up behind my head, curled up, and went to sleep. Here she is:

Keli reclining.

I can’t for the life of me remember how this word works. I know I had a very, very specific reason for building it this way. I wanted a word that worked (basically) like así does in Spanish, and I spent a lot of time thinking of how exactly it would be derived in Kamakawi. This is what I came up with. And, as I said, I know I had a very good reason for deriving it, ultimately, from pale: I simply can’t remember what that reason is.

But anyway, it’s quite a useful word, so don’t let it’s dubious etymology deter you from dropping into everyday speech (even in English [especially in Dutch]). I know I had a good reason for making it the way I did; I just access that information at this time.


• Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'na'ao'.


  • (n.) lemon
  • (adj.) lemon-tasting, lemony

Ka hava ei i novu oi na’ao, kae ivivi amo i’i ima!
“I had a soup with lemon, and I really liked it!”

Notes: Which is unexpected, because I hate lemons—and sour things, in general. Honestly, I don’t even believe those who say they “like” sour things. It’s not possible: sour means bad! Think about it: Would you rather talk with a sweet person, or a sour one? And bitter, too! It makes absolutely no sense to me.

But, of course, when mixed with other flavors, sourness has its place, and this soup (artichoke and lemon) was quite enjoyable. I told my wife about it, and she thinks it sounds awesome; she’s going to try making it (and I’m excited about that prospect!).

Today’s word is kind of a compound. The word na there should be recognizable as “tongue”, and ao has no meaning. Rather, it’s what your mouth does when you bite into something sour: it kind of puckers and draws in (to try to protect your injured tongue!). So it kind of translate as “ao tongue”, and that’s the word for “lemon”.

On the plane ride from Fargo to Denver today I had a wonderful conversation with artist and journalist Jennifer Heath (bio here). She was at the symposium in Concordia to talk about the satellite installation of her art exhibition The Veil: Visible & Invisible Spaces. She actually gave me the idea for a different type of relay, which I might try to get started over on the relay list (and something similar might have been done on Conlang a couple years back; it’s just at the edge of my memory). The idea is a “write-around” story (i.e. one person writes a line, then passes it to the next person who writes the next line, and so on), except each line would be written in a different conlang. I think it could work—and that the results could potentially be hilarious! (Or poignant or exciting, I suppose; it’d depend on where the participants decided to take it.)

Got to get home first, though. I’m in the great mall of Denver waiting for my plane… CPU says it’s 4:12 p.m., which means it’s 3:12 p.m. here, and the plane’s supposed to take off at 3:44 p.m… Hey, that’s not too far away. Better get ready to shut this down.


• Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'hu'u'.


  • (n.) heart
  • (v.) to beat, to throb, to sound regularly
  • (v.) to pulsate
  • (adj.) great, big, huge, important, significant
  • (suf.) chief, important, central

Tomi’u amo ti hu’u.
“It’s called a heart.”

Notes: The quote above is the title of a song by Depeche Mode, and, every so often, it’s fun to listen to a little Depeche Mode.

Well, the symposium is all finished. It was a terrific event! Concordia is a nice college with an active student body, and I met a host of wonderful people (also am coming home with a ton of movie recommendations). I’ve also experienced the very beginning of the cold weather here in Minnesota/North Dakota. I can only imagine what it must be like here in January. Glad I’m going back home to the Pacific Ocean when I am! But what a treat this was. I feel privileged to have been a part of it.

ObKamakawi, there’s a lot of crossover between Dothraki and Kamakawi (which is not something one would expect, I suppose). I can’t remember when, but some time ago I came up with the idea of turning hu’u, “heart”, into a suffix, and it attaches to a whole bunch of things to pick out, say, the leader of a group, or the most important part of a set (we saw one example yesterday). I really liked the idea, and so I borrowed it over into Dothraki, using qoy, “blood”, in place of “heart” (and the form itself, of course, was recommended to me by “blood rider”).


• Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'peka'u'u'.


  • (n.) homeland

Kiko nemei ei ie peka’u’u li’i.
“Today I leave my homeland.”

Notes: I’m currently sitting in the John Wayne Airport (not at my actual gate, since there—and nowhere else—the outlets aren’t working) getting ready to fly to the wilds of eastern North Dakota. I won’t be there long, though, as I’ll immediately head over to western Minnesota for the 2011 Faith, Reason & World Affairs Symposium to spread the good word about conlanging. It should be fun, provided it isn’t going to be as cold as the Weather Channel seems to think it’s going to be (no room for a jacket). Plenty nice in the airport, presently.

We’ll see if I can keep up with the word of the day posts. If anything, I should only miss a day—two at the most. I’ve got other things to do with the computer right now, though, so I’m going to attend to those. Happy day to one and all!


• Monday, September 12th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'topu'.


  • (v.) to call out (to), to shout (at), to holler (at)
  • (n.) yelling, shouting

He topu ei ai?
“Shall I shout?”

Notes: Well, today was a heck of a day of football. Tomorrow I need for Dan Carpenter to hit three field goals (or two and a couple of extra points), or I’m sunk. Who’d’ve guessed that Larry Fitzgerald and Roddy White would both have off days…?

Got to tell you. I’m watching Roberta again, and that dope John Kent is as dumb as a bucket of flames. He takes issues with the best looking dress in the movie (the one that covers the least)! And on top of that, he’s just plain stupid. Lousy hayseed… His character’s surely a stereotype of the time, but, I mean, come on!


• Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'pata'.


  • (n.) dirt, earth, ground, soil
  • (adj.) brown
  • (v.) to be brown
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Toku ia ie pa ie pata.
“Put the bowl on the ground.”

Notes: I actually took a double take with this iku. I thought pata was a simple ikunoala, but it isn’t. It’s built off the syllabic glyph for pa, but has the glyph for water, lelea, superimposed over it. The way I think of it is the pa glyph somehow represents the earth (the top of the triangle is where the people walk, and it goes down to the core of the earth), and the lelea over it is used to indicate that it’s the substance that’s meant: the dirt.

The word pata is also used as a name for boys. To learn more about that name, go here.