Archive for the ‘N’ Category


• Monday, October 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nu'e'.


  • (v.) to pick up (e.g. from the ground)

Ka nu’e pataki ie muve.
“The boy picked up the feather.”

Notes: There aren’t as many iku’ui, I know, but this is a nice example. The glyph is built off of the iku for nu. If it were an ikunoala, it would be either nuli or linu (neither of which exist in Kamakawi). Instead, the combination of the two in a traditional ikunoala way evokes the meaning of li, which is “to take hold of” or “to get”. Thus, the word kind of reads like, “The nu word that has to do with grabbing”.


• Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'na'u'.


  • (v.) to be far from
  • (adj.) far
  • (prep.) far from

Na’u uei iu ileleya.
“We are far from home.”

Notes: I just installed the latest OS for the iPhone. Look at all this crazy stuff! Clouds, automatic syncing, free text messaging… We’re getting closer and closer to Star Trek: The Next Generation. And me, I like it! Makes my life easier.

Today’s post is special. With na’u, I now have three hundred and sixty-five foma: One for each day of the year. I’m nowhere near to being done with the foma of Kamakawi (figure I’ve got about two hundred to go), but if I wanted to, I could produce a Kamakawi Word of the Day daily desk calendar with nothing but foma (and, now that I think about it, I probably could’ve done so long ago if it was one of those calendars that rolls Saturday and Sunday into a single day…). Pretty cool.

Regarding today’s iku, it’s actually built off of hu: the little na is built off the horizontal line (the brow) that sits in the middle of the hu head. It might’ve been pronounced huna, but that glyph has an ikuleyaka for its iku, so this one was free for na’u.


• Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'neyana'.


  • (v.) to be better
  • (adj.) better

Neyana ia ti eleumi!
“You’re the best!”

Notes: And today, Best was best—Jahvid Best, that is.

For those following my epic fantasy football season, my boys came through for me today in a huge way! They started slow, but then Stafford through a 73 yard bomb to Calvin Johnson. The game was won for me when Jahvid Best broke off an 88 yard rushing touchdown—and it just went up from there. Down by 60 points before the Sunday night game—and 49 points before the Monday Night Football game yesterday—I won 95-85, because the Detroit Lions killed it again. Keep it up, boys! He ale!

Today’s word means “better”, in a sense (you may notice that it’s related to eyana [or…you might, if I’d done an entry for eyana. Seriously?! One of the most basic words and I haven’t done it yet?!]), but it’s used in the example sentence to mean “best”. Basically in a comparative construction (when “better” is wanted), you use this verb with an object phrase headed by ti (that’s where the thing the subject is better than goes). If you want to say something is the best, you say ti eleumi or ti emiemi (which mean “than everything” and “than everyone”).

Anyway, guess I’d better do eyana pretty soon. How embarrassing…


• Friday, September 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'no'a'.


  • (n.) animal rage (specifically, for an animal to be enraged)
  • (v.) for an animal to be enraged
  • (adj.) enraged (as applied to animals)
  • (v.) to be mad (extremely insulting when used with humans)

Male fukave ei i ia ti no’a o ei kau!
“I will destroy you with my animal rage!”


I may previously have mentioned Keli’s precious red string (both her enemy and her dearest friend), and may have even included a picture of it, but now I’ve got a video of Keli and her red string in action!

A video of Keli attacking her string.

And that’s not even her at her most vicious. She can go after that string with gusto!

I forget when I came up with today’s word, but it was specifically inspired by a dog whose hair is standing up on end. I remember my old dog Brandy was the most mild-mannered and lazy beagle the world had ever known. One day, though, I jumped over the fence to get into the house (forgot my key), and she was there snarling with the hair standing straight up on her back, and was so ferocious she didn’t even recognize me at first. Even when she did recognize me, it took her a full minute to calm back down and get back to normal. It’s quite a thing—and it’s visible—and that’s what gave me the idea for the word.


• Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nova'.


  • (n.) manta ray

Au mawa nova ika!
“And the rays swim again!”

Notes: I was planning to do another word for today’s word of the day, but I happen to be watching the Rays and Yankees, and have been lucky enough to bare witness to one of the most incredible comebacks in pre-post season history. Down 7-0 pretty much the entire game, the Rays scored 6 runs in the 8th, and then, with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, their season nearly over, their pinch hitter hit a home run to right to tie it. Just incredible. At the time of writing, the game is still going (it’s in the top of the tenth), so they may still lose it—and the Red Sox are still playing, so even if they lose, there’s still a slim chance they could get to the playoffs—but even so, what an incredible game! Baseball has done it again.

The Tampa Bay Rays used to be called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Though a nova is not a devil ray, it’s in the ray family, so I figured it was close enough. Even though it’s curvy, I like this iku; kind of reminds me of the Queensrÿche logo.


• 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


• 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.


• Friday, August 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nukoa'.


  • (n.) meat
  • (v.) to have or be meat (said of an animal)
  • (v.) to be edible, to be nutritious
  • (adj.) edible, nutritious

Ka li ia i nukoa ke nevi i’i! Ae eli i ia!
“You have given me meat! I love you!”


After an utterly inexplicable one week absence, Caturday has returned! And to make it for it I thought I’d do something special.

I’m not quite sure when it started, but Keli and I have a tradition. Some time after Erin has gone to sleep, she meows to let me know that her food dish is empty. If she needs wet food, I give it to her, and she goes up and sniffs it and then leaves it there (the expensive food we buy for her specially doesn’t excite her in the least). If she needs dry food, though, that’s a different story.

We store the dry food in an airtight tupperware container, and what she does is she meows and follows me to the container, I open it, it makes a loud sound, and she runs away (every time!). Then I give her one or two scoops of dry food, she goes over to the dry food, and then (and this is the strangest part): she thanks me.

Every time!

She goes up to her food bowl and puts her face in as if she’s about to eat, but then she stops, turns up her head to me and gives me a look (or, if she’s feeling especially grateful, gives me a little meow), and I pat her head and she starts eating.

Though filming this little ritual ought, by rights, to be a two person job, I’ve tried my best to get the whole thing on video myself. The results are below:

A video of Keli getting dry food!

Unfortunately, she didn’t give me her darling little mmmrow this time, but her little head tilt is on camera. I’ll try to get another one where she makes her thank you noise in the future.

The Kamakawi are very much a meat-centric people. A meal isn’t a meal unless there’s a meat dish involved. Hence, something that’s “good” for you is derived from the word for “meat”. Meat is supposed to give you strength and vitality and renew your spirit; fruit and vegetables is for flavor and (for lack of a better word) regularity.

The iku for meat (in case you’re wondering. It looks right to me, but I know what I was basing it on, so you can let me know if you saw it before the following explanation) is a hunk of meat roasting on a spit (the ends of the rotating pole are on the right and left of the iku, and the line in the middle is the meat [the glyph has been simplified over time]). The Kamakawi do a lot of spit-roasting like this. Some day I’ll have to put up the vocabulary that surrounds such roasting. Some day soon… :)


• Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nute'.


  • (n.) wrasse

I nute pe.
“There are wrasses in there.”

Notes: Preparing for a wedding, time kind of slipped away from me. The wrasse is a really neat looking fish. I wholeheartedly encourage you to google it and take a look. Some wonderful shots on the web of wrasses!

I don’t have much to say about the wrasse as a fish. I think it’s a great looking fish, and I’m sure the Kamakawi would have more to say about them than I do presently. But I am who I am, so I’ll leave it at this.


• Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nanu'.Glyph of the word 'nanu'.


  • (v.) to sniff (something)
  • (n.) sniffing

Nanunanu kaneko oi’i ie mowonu o ei ipuke aeta hava ei.
“My cat always sniffs my mouth after I eat.”

Notes: This is actually the word I wanted to use yesterday, but I hadn’t done nanu yet, so I figured I’d better do that first.

This is actually true, by the way. I have no idea why, but my cat insists on sniffing my mouth after I’ve eaten something interesting, or after I come back home. Sometimes she just does it perfunctorily, but sometimes (if I’ve been eating a meat I don’t usually eat) she will actually reach up with her paw and hold my face in place while she sniffs my mouth—just to make sure I don’t try to get away! It’s the most adorable thing (probably difficult to get a picture of, though).

And, yes, it is quite difficult to admit that this word is, indeed, nanunanu. I can assure you, the similarity to Mork’s greeting is purely coincidental.