Archive for February, 2012

Fape

• Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fape'.

fape

  • (adj.) smooth
  • (n.) smoothness
  • (v.) to be smooth

Ale fape ia ima!
“Because you’re so smooth!”

Notes: Heh, heh. From that Santana song that came out a few years back. Of course, the Kamakawi word implies “smooth to the touch”, not “smooth” as in “smooth operator”.

To me it’s clear that there should be different words for this and for gentle (yesterday’s word). There’s also a third idea that I think also deserves its own word, and it’s something like “sleek”. What it means is both smooth and wet. My ideal for this concept is a dolphin’s skin (in the water). Provided it doesn’t make that awful rubbery sound like a balloon, a dolphin’s skin (while wet) is the ideal surface, and it’d be nice if everything in the world was like that. As it is, we have to deal with all these horrible rough surfaces. Just…awful…


Una

• Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'una'.

una

  • (adj.) gentle
  • (n.) gentleness
  • (v.) to be gentle

Una ia!
“Be gentle!”

Notes: This iku is a bit of a mystery. It contains neither u nor na, and almost kind of looks like fupu. I’m pretty sure the two words aren’t related (why would they be?), but I’m not sure just what I was thinking here… Of course, the “good” circle determinative is used, so it’s clear that this means something positive, but how the rest of it is supposed to relate to una I have no idea.

The thing is, looking at this, I know I had some specific idea in mind. But what was it?!

OH!

Oh, duh. And, yeah, that makes perfect sense.

Okay, never mind. This iku is built off the iku for kopu. It means “hand” and also “to feel” or “to touch”. By adding the “good” circle determinative, then, it means “good to touch” or “soft to the touch”—hence “gentle”. Makes perfect sense.

(By the way, if you go back and check out that post on kopu, I have since purchased my wife an Oven Squirrel.)

:D


Fene

• Monday, February 27th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fene'.

fene

  • (adj.) brief
  • (n.) brevity
  • (v.) to be brief

A fene hala’i.
“Life is short.”

Notes: Brevity seems like a concept central to human experience, as it defines just about everything we can experience. For that reason I decided to make it a basic term in Kamakawi. It might seem a little bizarre to have it be a central concept (specifically brevity as it relates to time), but that’s why this is an artlang.


Fupu

• Sunday, February 26th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fupu'.

fupu

  • (n.) spider

A ile ei iu fupu.
“I hate spiders.”

Notes: Bleh. I do. I hate them. I hate them and I fear them—and they disgust me! It’s pretty much the worst thing in the world, me and spiders. I gave them what I thought was the stupidest-sounding word in the world (fupu) in order to try to sap their strength. It didn’t work. They still have the power to utterly destroy me.

It’s too bad the iku actually ended up looking pretty all right… I mean it’s not bad.

Blech. Oh well. Lousy spiders…


Utaka

• Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'utaka'.

utaka

  • (adj.) ordinary, common, commonplace, usual
  • (n.) a plant or animal that is common to a particular region (not necessarily native/indigenous)
  • (v.) to be common, to be ordinary, to be usual
  • (v.) to cover, to be all over (something)

Au utaka katava i Kalivónia Eiliki.
“Palm trees are ubiquitous to Southern California.”

Notes: Though you wouldn’t know it by looking outside today (which is, actually, two days in the future from the date it says on this post). Raining like a rain parade outside! It’ll happen in the winter, of course, but this one came out of nowhere. It’s been hot here! Like a mini summer!

This is one of those iku that I’m not particularly proud of. The “W” shape of the u is truncated, and the whole thing looks a bit haphazard. Clearly this iku was built because I wanted more with ta in them (because that one’s one of my favorites), but it didn’t come off so naturally. Oh well. It’s here to stay!


Nuku

• Friday, February 24th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'nuku'.

nuku

  • (n.) a go-between for married couples

E kaneko ie nuku oieika
“The cat is our nuku.”

Notes: HAPPY CATURDAY!!! :D

Keli has a new chair, and she found herself a new little blanket to go with it:

Keli sleeping under a little pillow.

Today’s word is a unique one, I think. The word describes a person integral to Kamakawi marriage. See, when two Kamakawi get married, they have a nuku. This nuku is usually an older woman (though not always) who’s either a widow or has been married many years, and who usually is not directly related to either the bride or the groom. The job of the nuku (who doesn’t live with the couple, but drops by from time to time) is to not only help married people settle in to married life, but to covertly pass messages back and forth between couples—usually things that one doesn’t want to say to the other directly.

For example, let’s say the wife discovers that her husband snores loudly in his sleep, but doesn’t want to say anything. She tells the nuku privately, and then some time later (not the next day, but maybe a couple days later), the nuku comes by when just the husband is there and gives him several bits of advice. She might say, “Always rinse your hands after you’ve been cleaning fish”, and, “Don’t stomp around so loudly in the morning”, and, “Don’t eat opeope right before bed”, and, in addition to all that, “Don’t sleep flat on your back; you snore too loudly!” The husband won’t know which of those things is true, but he’ll know one of them probably came from his wife. Then it’s his job to try to take what advice he can and change things as he sees fit.

Now, due to the nature of their profession, the nuku has a lot of power, and must exercise caution and skill. So as not to be too obvious, the skilled nuku will often drop by with advice that wasn’t given by one or the other spouse. The best nuku will know both spouses well, and so will be able to figure out what advice makes sense for each one—and will also be able to dole it out efficiently over time so as to be able to couch all the real complaints in with the other advice. And, provided everything works out well, the nuku will eventually stop coming around often, and, finally, will simply be a friend of the family.

Of course, on account of the delicacy of their position, it’s pretty easy to be a bad nuku. The bad nuku won’t be able to disguise the true advice very well, which can lead to arguments or hurt feelings. But worse than that is the nuku who comes around too often (and at highly inconvenient times), and doesn’t know when to stop coming around (usually somewhere around year two, or after the first child has lived a full year). Then the nuku becomes a nuisance that the couple wishes to be rid of. Such a nuku is sometimes referred to (behind closed doors) as a paopu (“worm”), on account of the similarities between its iku and the iku for nuku.

Of course, the similarity between the two iku is entirely accidental. The iku for paopu is actually a combination of the iku for pa, o and pu (though it’s hard to tell at this stage). The iku for nuku is quite different.

In examining today’s iku, first take a look at the iku for ho, which is used to mean “man”. Keep that image in mind. That shape is the general shape used for a person (seen also in the iku for ei, “I”, and kupi, “sit”, among others). The iku for nuku actually has those shapes mirrored, facing each other. So rather than being built off pa, the triangle shape is an accident of the combination. The line in between the two essentially represents the nuku: the thing that’s in between the married couple.

And, of course, Keli has always served well in her role. We’re looking to keep her around for quite a while. :)


Lu’a

• Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'lu'a'.

lu’a

  • (v.) to chant
  • (n.) chanting
  • (adj.) chanted

He lu’a ue ie eili kau.
“Let us chant the sun down.”

Notes: Today’s iku is a bit odd. Using the Kamakawi “head” glyph base, the syllabic glyph for ha is used as the mouth. This both gives a clue as to the pronunciation of the glyph, and also serves as a kind of evocative reminder of what the word means (the chant being a river that comes from the mouth).

On the Kamakawi islands, there’s an old tradition of going to the western edge of the island and chanting as the sun goes down. It’s not done every day—or even once a month—but on special occasions (weddings, births, funerals)—but even then, not all of them. Just certain ones. Someone will lead, but others can join in, with the chant leader setting the phrasal chanting patterns, and others joining in. I have a very specific idea for how this works, and could probably write about it, but that’ll have to wait for another day.


Kau

• Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'kau'.

kau

  • (adv.) down, downwards
  • (adj.) down, lower
  • (v.) to go down, to go downwards, to descend

Lalau ia i amo kau!
“Throw it down!”

Notes: Following up on yesterday’s word, here is a very high-frequency Kamakawi word: kau. It kind of shows up everywhere. It can serve as the adverbial part of a number of compound verbs, as well as the elements listed above.

I was a bit surprised when typing up this iku to see that it resides in the ikunoala section of my font. Then I looked at it and said, “Oh.” And I do see what I was thinking; might not have made the same choice were I doing it now, but kau is so much a part of the script that there’s no changing it.

If you take a look at the iku for u, you’ll see that the “W”-looking glyph has three peaks, and that the peaks are connected. That’s basically what this is, except that the connecting line is on the bottom, and the three peaks are all ka. So the shape is purely phonological, and you can look at it and see how it’s pronounced, but its construction is not as straightforward as some of the other ikunoala.


Fili

• Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fili'.

fili

  • (v.) to put down, to let go of, to release, to let drop, to drop
  • (adj.) dropped
  • (adj.) dropping

Fili ia i ipe!
“Put that down!”

Notes: Today’s iku may look familiar. In fact, it’s a smallified (totally dig that word I just coinified) version of…wow. WOW. I seriously haven’t done kau yet?! And here I thought I was running out of iku

Well, take my word for it: The top part is a miniature version of kau, which means “down” or “downwards”. It has the familiar “ground” determinative beneath it to give the sense that something is moving towards the ground. And there you have the iku for fili. :) Up next some time: the iku for kau


Ulo

• Monday, February 20th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ulo'.

ulo

  • (v.) to be tan
  • (adj.) tan
  • (n.) tan person
  • (n.) islander

Oku lea i ulo.
“He’s not tan.”

Notes: So today’s word doesn’t quite mean “tan” is it’s used in English. Basically this is the word that means “skin color”, as the default Kamakawi skin color is what someone living in the mountains would consider tan. So perhaps a better translation of this would be “flesh-colored”. I’m not sure that would give the right impression, though.

Looking at today’s iku, you might think it was an ikunoala, and that the word is actually pronounced hulo. That’s not, in fact, the case (though ulo is sometimes pronounced hulo on account of the spelling). Actually, here the iku for hu is used for two reasons. First, it’s used because the vowel is the same as the first syllable of the word (so does give some clue as to how the word is pronounced), but most importantly, it’s being used as a face. Then the iku for lo is dropped in there for phonological reasons, and to kind of look like coloring on the face. The idea is to show that this is the color that one’s face is (since one’s face is usually the tannest part on one’s body).

In modern times (in the fictional world where Kamakawi is spoken), ulo is used to refer to someone who lives on the islands. It kind of means “native” or “local” (in the colloquial sense).


This page was last modified on October 28, 2013.
This website was last modified on .
This page can be viewed normally, as a milk or dark chocolate bar, in sleek black and white, or in many other ways!
All languages, fonts, pictures, and other materials copyright © 2003- David J. Peterson.

free counters