Glyph of the word 'ae'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a singular subject that is different from the previous subject in the discourse, but which, otherwise, is not new to the discourse

Ka nu’e ei ie alama kae mamaka i’i!
“I picked up the sand crab and he pinched me!”

Notes: Today’s word is a grammatical word, but I hadn’t done it yet, so I figured today was as good a day as any.

As I mentioned previously, in Kamakawi there are switch-reference markers that occur sentence-initially. These tell the hearer the status of the subject: whether it’s brand new to the discourse, whether it’s the same as the subject of the previous sentence, or, in this case, if it comes from somewhere else in the discourse other than the subject position.

The place to use such a marker is exactly as shown above. In the example, alama, the sand crab, is the object of the sentence (it gets picked up). It then serves as the subject of the next clause, so you use ae (or, in this case, kae, since it’s in the past tense) to let the hearer know. And then, since the subject is clear, you can drop it and don’t need to use a pronoun to refer to it, either. This is one of the things that helps to shorten up Kamakawi sentences.

I’m still trying to figure out how to present the writing of the grammatical bits, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, since I’m going with one word a day (or, actually kae is one word, even though it’s written with two glyphs…). Essentially, though, using kae as an example, you write it with two glyphs: the past tense glyph and then the glyph for ae. But you can still use the past tense glyph by itself where it stands for ka (though to be maximally clear, it’s best to use the past tense glyph along with the switch-subject glyph, which is required when there’s a new plural subject in the past). It seems a lot more confusing than it is. Maybe I should actually add something to the actual Kamakawi webpages… (Something I haven’t done in ages.)

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