Archive for the ‘Ikunima’u’ Category


• Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ane'.


  • (v.) to be loud
  • (adj.) loud

Ane uia, he Kemevene!
“Be loud, Lions!”

Notes: The Detroit Lions have started off 4-0, and face yet another test in the Chicago Bears. I need them to come up big to claw above the .500 mark in fantasy. Let’s see it!

So I’m looking at the iku for ane, and…I’ve got no clue what I was thinking. There appears to be an hour in there, but it looks like it’s pointing down… It almost looks like it’s built off the iku for keva, “shark”, but the shape isn’t quite the same, and it wouldn’t make any sense, anyway (sharks are silent). It’s definitely an ikunima’u.


• Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'au'.


  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence au

Oku eteke au ti okuku.
Au doesn’t mean anything.”

Notes: I’ve had the iku for au sitting in my little “to do” folder for…over a year. It’s an iku we’ve seen before (in, for example, the words awela and awei), but it has no meaning of its own. Or, to be more precise, the meaning has been lost to the ages.

It’s clear that the iku for au is not an ikunoala (compare the iku for a and u). It’s probably not a facial expression. If it were some sort of shellfish or crustacean, presumably it would still be in use. Since no one knows, though, it remains a mystery, though the iku still enjoys use as a phonetic glyph.


• Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'u'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a plural subject that is identical to the previous subject in the discourse
  • (art.) the plural definite article
  • (art.) many

Ku hemata uei iu kuaki ae iolui kau.
“We spotted the ducks in the pond.”

Notes: I thought I’d do a short grammatical post today. We’ve already seen the singular counterpart to this (p)article. Basically it marks plurals. It’s used in several ways, though, including as a stand-alone subject status marker, and in conjunction with other subject status markers.

Though it’s quite simple in the romanization (or schematically), writing it is a different story. This iku is used in conjunction with the plural new status marker au, as well as with the same-subject status marker u. The iku for e is also used, but you don’t pronounce it—it’s just there in the orthography. The ordering, though, can sometimes be a little tricky, since it’s purely a formal element. Some writers put the e one first; some the u one; some leave the e out entirely. I’d imagine that eventually it’d disappear entirely (or the whole thing would morph into some other iku or series of iku).

As for the iku itself, it’s kind of a combination of the glyph for ka, no and to (without the top). The idea is that the plurality marker is used with duals, trials and plurals. That marking is only realized on pronouns (and optionally on nouns); the non-singular status is what’s important to the verbal system (and the definite marking of non-subject nouns).

At some point, this system will have to break down, and it will likely mean the end of the dual and trial. That will happen some day down the line, though; not now. :)


• Friday, May 20th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ine'.


  • (v.) to do so, to do (pro-verb)

Oku kopuku ei i ia tou ae ine i ipe, he Teve.
“I can’t allow you to do that, Dave.”

Notes: After a one week hiatus, I’m happy to announce that, once again…

…iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit’s CATURDAY!!! :D

Of course, Keli was in good hands with Erin, but my kitty did miss me. I walked in the door, and poor Erin and she jumped up at once, and Erin accidentally bumped into her. :( Anyway, then we scooped her to give her hugs and pets, and she did this:

Keli sitting on top of me.

Yes: She got on top of my shoulder, climbed onto my back forcing me to stoop over, and then settled down there quite happily. (She began purring.) I figured it was her due for leaving her for several days. I stayed in that position for about four minutes until it got too exhausting and we had to pick her up.

Now Keli is sitting on her chair beside me quite happily and enjoying a little grooming session. Momentarily we will venture downstairs to eat some food. Too bad there isn’t a playoff game on now…

By the way, this iku started out life as an ikunoala, but then the stick that formed an elongated i on the right there kind of sidled down a bit and formed the characteristic diamond shape of ine. It’s stayed that way ever since.


• Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

Glyph used with the present tense.


  • (part.) marks the present tense (as well as a switch in subject, if no other marker is present)

A mata ei ie kavaka te mopa tou…
“I can see the writing on the wall…”

Notes: Continuing with shots from the Huntington:

A rock with writing on it.

If anyone can read Chinese, let me know what that says! I’ve been curious ever since the first time I saw it.

I’ve already posted every word that’s in today’s sentence (oh, well, almost, I’m just now realizing), so I decided to post the glyph associated with the present tense. The thing is, this glyph isn’t always realized by a sound. In this particular sentence, it’s realized as a. However, even if no a were pronounced (remember that it can be left off in present tense sentences), the glyph would still be written. In that case, it would correspond to nothing.

Furthermore, in other sentences with a different subject marker (say, e), the glyph would still be written, but it wouldn’t correspond to any sound.

So having this glyph corresponding to a is a bit of a misnomer, but it serves for this particular sentence, so I figured I might as well (just to introduce it).


• Saturday, January 8th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oala'.


  • (v.) to speak
  • (n.) speaker
  • (n.) speech (abstract)
  • (adj.) speaking, able to speak
  • (adj.) spoken

E Leya Oala.
“The Talking Rock.”

Notes: Today’s post serves double duty. The example sentence above is the title of the text I wrote for the LCC2 Relay. It’s about a talking rock.

It just so happens that the LCC2 Relay is going to be the topic of the next few posts over at the Kēlen Word of the Day blog. If you’re curious about what a conlang relay is, the first post in the series there offers a good explanation.

In addition, since we’re talking about the LCC already, this is as good a time as any to announce the Fourth Language Creation Conference! :D

LCC4 is going to be held in Groningen, in the Netherlands. If you live in Europe, and are free on May 14th and 15th, I strongly encourage you to attend. The LCC is pretty much the only international conlang event there is (aside from stuff for specific conlangs, e.g. Esperanto), and it’s a wonderful experience.

Also, if you’re interested in giving a talk, the LCS is looking for presenters. For more information, take a look at our call for presenters. I’ve given a talk at the first three LCCs, and it’s an immensely rewarding experience.

Regarding the actual purpose of this blog, the iku for oala is actually a combination of the syllabic glyphs for a, o and la. The thing is, it’s such an unorthodox combination, and even kind of looks like it employs the glyph for li, that I’m not sure how to classify it. As I imagine it, these classifications are made by the speakers themselves (well, not all speakers, but the highly literate ones—the intelligentia, if you will), and I’m not sure how they would classify it. I’m guessing there would be arguments about it. That’s why this iku has three different classifications. It’s probably one of them, but which, I can’t say.


• Monday, November 22nd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'noe'.


  • (n.) leaf
  • (v.) to have leaves (used with trees that have leaves)
  • (adj.) leafy (i.e. to describe a tree that has leaves)
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Noe falele i kopoloi.
“Green leaves on a little tree.”

Notes: The iku for noe was one of those iku whose execution I was unhappy with. I fixed it and I think it’s better, but I’m not sure it’s quite right still. All in all, though, it’s look pretty good from a distance.

I am not sure, though, what it means… I think I had an idea of a tree and a floaty leaf, and that that’s somehow embedded in the image (in a non-literal way). It just kind of looks leafy to me.

I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s Kamakawi Word of the Day. It came a bit late, though, but that seems to be the way I’m doing things lately (a little late).

Oh, hang on! I had a picture for today’s post! Here it is:

A nice fancy tree.


• Friday, October 29th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'o'.


  • (prep.) genitive preposition used when the possessed is an integral and inseparable part of the possessor (for more information, see the section on Kamakawi pronouns)

Mata ia ie mata o ei heva…!
“Look into my eye…!”


No, this sentence doesn’t come from the Indiana Jones ride at Disneyland. It was inspired by the following picture:

Keli looking at the camera.

Heh, heh, heh…! I like that shot.

So I don’t remember where the iku for this genitive preposition came from, but I had a really good reason for making it look the way it does. The sentence above actually shows the only evidence for this thing being a preposition, as opposed to a prefix, like all the other genitive particles. For the rest, curious things happens when the particles come in contact with pronouns. With o, though, both entities remain distinct.


• Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'e'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a singular subject that is identical to the previous subject in the discourse
  • (art.) the singular definite article (i.e. “the”)

Oku male li ei, i ia e fili po…
“Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down…”

Notes: I had to do some fun stuff to the chorus. See, while Kamakawi lexemes are (for the most part) minimally disyllabic, I can mix things up when it comes to verbs and their subjects. Here, I borrowed the serial verb construction used with li (linking to that entry; hoping it explains serial verbs) and created a single clause that takes the place of the two in the song.

I had to make a decision early on. In the original, the words “never gonna” are repeated each time. If something were to be repeated in the Kamakawi version, it would have to be “oku male”. That would leave me three syllables to translate “give you up”, “let you down”, etc. The word for “you” as an object (i ia) is three syllables already. The verbal part would have to fit into a two syllable verb, and to sing it, you’d have to run i ia together into one syllable. I thought it would sound too jumbled, so I gave it up.

Instead, what we have is a phrase that means, “I will never let you go”. Literally, though, it’s “Never will take I you and let go”. The nice thing about the serial construction is that it takes with it the object, so the second verb is intransitive.

The second time around, unfortunately, the lines are much more contentful. We’ll see what I manage there…

The iku above isn’t simply e. When used by itself it is, but it will often cooccur with the present tense glyph (which I haven’t done yet), or the past tense glyph, or the plural glyph, etc. It could very well be realized as e, u, ke or ku. It’s difficult to define in terms of sounds. It makes much more sense in the original orthography.

For today’s Rick Roll moment, how about a change of pace? See, when I was a kid, I really loved this song, and the other one by Rick Astley. I didn’t know who did them, had no idea what he looked like (or how he danced), or any of it: I just loved the sound of the songs, and the sound of his voice. In case you haven’t heard in awhile, here’s a link to Rick Astley’s other big hit from the 80s: “Together Forever”.


• Sunday, August 1st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ima'.


  • (part.) used for emphasis
  • (v.) used as a way for repeating previously given commands
  • (expr.) a kind of exhortative used to incite others to action
  • (adv.) already (situational)

A toko eli ti’i ima…
“Gotta make you understand…”

Notes: And the total teardown is complete!

This sentence actually means “My love is very strong”. Combined with the last phrase, I translated “I just wanna tell you how I’m feeling / Gotta make you understand” as “I’m going to convince you / That my love is very strong”. That’s basically the same thing (one has to admit that the original is pretty content-less).

The exciting chorus is coming up next!

This iku enjoys a lot of use, but I’m not quite sure how it works. It kind of looks like ma when you add the vertical line, but not enough to call this an ikunoala. Thus I stuck it in the “other” category.

Here’s an amusing pie chart I found over at Richie’s Randoms. I think the best part about this graphic is it makes absolutely no sense as a pie chart at all.

Rick Roll pie chart.