Archive for December, 2011


• Wednesday, December 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ma'o'.


  • (n.) lavender

Ikiki o ma’o!
“Morning of lavender!”

Notes: Lavender is also an incredible flower. Check out this field in Japan which is covered with it:

A field of lavender.

The iku should look slightly familiar. It’s basically the same as the iku for male, but without the midline. I think both of them pass the ikunoala test, though. (Translation: I’m not going back and changing the category of male, on account of my unaccountable laziness.)

Also, in case you haven’t heard it elsewhere, the 2011 Smiley Award went to Matt Pearson’s Okuna! It’s a great language, and if you have some time, I recommend you give it a look.


• Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'mote'.


  • (n.) heliotrope

Meya mote!
“The heliotrope is blooming!”

Notes: Hey, when it comes to flowers, heliotrope ain’t half bad. Here’s a non-copyrighted picture of heliotrope to look at:


Not bad! The iku for “heliotrope” is supposed to look like heliotrope. It might be a bit much, but, honestly, have you seen Egyptian hieroglyphic?! Take a look at how crazy some of these glyphs are (Unicode chart go)! Kamakawi’s iku are tame by comparison.


• Monday, December 19th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'muto'.


  • (n.) silversides

Au mawa muto u takoikoi i kawi.
“The silversides swim and look like a cloud.”

Notes: Silversides are small little fish that are shiny on their sides (hence the name). They look like little minnows or grunions. Oh! Ha. Wouldn’t you know it? Grunions are a type of silversides. Shiver me timbers! Anyway, they’re shiny little fishes with a silver streak going across their side (actually I just think it’s their spine you can see through their little bodies). They’re wonderful sports. They swim in great big packs, and give the ocean charm.

Coincidentally, the iku for muto kind of looks like a stylized silversides. Rather fat for a silversides, but the little midline of mu kind of looks like the spine-line you can see on a silversides or grunion.


• Sunday, December 18th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'mono'.


  • (n.) canoe
  • (v.) to go by canoe

A male mono ei poiu a…
“And now I’m going to canoe away…”

Notes: Something like, “And now I’m taking my ball and going home.” It’s the first week of the fantasy football playoffs, and I’m not in them. I finished with a 7-7 record, behind even the terrible division winner who finished with an 8-6 record. Total bummer. On the other hand, in my friend’s league, which I’ve been helping out in, we finished with a 12-1-1 record and got a bye in the first round in a three tier playoff system. We’ve been relying on the Jets’ defense, but picked up the Broncos’ D at the last minute, so I think we should be good.

Today’s iku is another that’s based off mo, which is one of my favorites. All the iku based off mo turned out to be pretty good, in my opinion (that one and nu). And to me, it kind of looks like a canoe (or somehow the triangle reminds me of rowing a canoe). If I ever have a canoe, I’ll probably paint this on there. Or on an oar. Maybe both…


• Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'hake'.


  • (v.) to visit
  • (v.) to pollenate
  • (adj.) pollenated

A hake ei i ia male.
“I’ll visit you later.”

Notes: The original meaning of this word was “pollenate”, and it came to mean “visit”, in the conventional sense. When used as “visit”, it’s only used as a verb, with other derivations used for the adjectival and nominal forms.

The iku is a standard combination of ha and ke. Kind of funny to think of these things by the definition of their composite iku. By that logic, a visit would be a river tooth. Love it.


• Friday, December 16th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'hematale'.


  • (v.) to wake up, to awaken

Oku! Hematale ia i’i oku! A meliki ei lona!
“No! Don’t wake me! I’m too beautiful!”


Some don’t believe me when I say that Keli actually likes to have things draped about her (especially string-like things). I draped the sash from Erin’s robe over her while she was awake, and she snuggled right up with it:

Keli napping with Erin's sash.

She loves her strings! That and plastic. She loves plastic. She likes to bite it. We have to try to keep it away from her.

Today’s word derives rather regularly from hemata. Just an old-fashioned causative.


• Thursday, December 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'leota'.


  • (n.) fire ant

I Ánatoni: A leota! Male awape eya okuka!
“For Anthony: A fire ant! We will never be lonely again!”

Notes: These guys are bad business. Don’t mess around with them!

Now for this…iku. One of the ones I’ve been avoiding. This may, in fact, be my least favorite iku of the entire bunch. I hate it. In fact, this isn’t even the original version: It’s the redone version. I still hate it. In fact, I hate it so much that I’m keeping it. After all, no writing system can be perfect (cf. “Q”).

Anyway, this thing is a combination of le, eo and ta. The things that look like antennae on the top come from le. I’m pretty sure that was intentional. Anyway, the whole thing is just a disaster.

And to add to it, I have no idea how to classify it. It’s composed entirely of phonological iku, which suggests an ikunoala, but it’s actually built off of a single iku, which suggests iku’ume. The antennae, however, make it look kind of antish, so it could be an iku’ui. Or I could just throw up my hands and say it’s an ikunima’u. Absolutely crazy.

Update: So…as occasionally happens, I forgot to do an example sentence. Long-time commenter Anthony caught me on it, so, Anthony, this one’s for you!


• Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

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.


• Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'io'.


  • (n.) dove

A hava ipe io iu fa li’i!
“That dove’s eating my seeds!”

Notes: Lousy doves! Always pecking away at all the seeds you worked so hard to sow! How would they feel if we went to their farms and pecked away at their seeds, huh?! :evil:

Okay, actually I got nothing against doves. They’re pretty cool birds. And I can’t imagine doves flying to a farm and eating the seeds lying on the ground…

The iku is an ikunoala, but it requires the “identity” determinative to get the “dove” meaning, so it’s classified as an ikuleyaka. For the other meaning, check tomorrow’s post.

Update: No, it’s not an ikunoala! I figured it out! For a detailed explanation, see tomorrow’s post. Spoiler alert:

Old glyph of the word 'io'.


• Monday, December 12th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'luti'.


  • (n.) box crab

I luti pe!
“There’s a box crab there!”

Notes: Not much time to do a real post today, so here’s the word for box crab! Box crabs are bizarre looking creatures. Take a look at one here (though a Google image search will probably serve you better). I remember seeing these as a kid at the old Cabrillo Park Aquarium. I’ve always been a big fan of crabs. :)