Glyph of the word 'io'.


  • (conj.) but
  • (prep.) sans, except, without, excluding
  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence io

Ka olomo i palei io nea.
“I walked home without her.”

Notes: Kind of a sad sentence not directly indicative of anything. We saw today’s iku yesterday, but there it meant “dove”. Today’s is this kind of conjunction/preposition, and it’s also used for the phonological sequence io. The iku is a combination of…

Uh oh.

Hang on a minute. What the heck is the iku about?! It doesn’t look like a combination of i and o. It doesn’t really look like a dove… What the heck is it?

Dang. Unless something comes back to me before I hit the first comma in this sentence, I think I’m going to have to classify this iku an ikunima’u. How about that.

Update: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh snap! You are not going to believe what I just found! This is the iku that the modern Kamakawi iku for io derives from (I found it!):

Old glyph of the word 'io'.

Look at that! It’s an honest-to-goodness dove! A real, no-foolin’ dove! 8O So the modern iku, then (in the real history of the language), is my stylized representation of that dove. I ain’t never smoked a thing in my life, but…what was I smoking?!

Oh wait. Actually, I kind of see it… I took the complex image there and tried to render it with as few strokes as possible. You can do it with two. So the important part, then, was the dent of the wings on the top, and then you just carry the line down under to form most of the body. Then the tail is done with one stroke and turned slightly (as it probably would over the years). Huh. How about that! Mystery solved.

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4 Responses to “Io”

  1. Ka kavaka Anthony Docimo ti:

    actually, it does look like a dove – not seen from the side, nor from the belly; but at an angle as it flies from one branch to another.

    have fun.

  2. Ka kavaka S Young ti:

    I agree. It looks to me like a dove that’s flying into the air, like when flocks of white doves are released at weddings.

  3. Ka kavaka David J. Peterson ti:

    I should mention that I really like this iku. I’ve thought for a while it was just another one of those accidents that resulted from a chance joining of two phonological iku. Perhaps it was kind of an abstract thing I was doing… But if that’s the case, why the line in the lower right-hand corner?

    Oh! Maybe it’s a tail! Huh. Maybe…

  4. Ka kavaka Anthony ti:

    I thought that was a wing. my bad.

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