Archive for the ‘Iku’ui’ Category

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.


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).


Latu

• Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'latu'.

latu

  • (v.) to suck in (air or some other substance), to inhale
  • (n.) sucking in
  • (adj.) sucked up

Ka latu lea i levea lona ima!
“He drank too much salt water!”

Notes: This is a difficult word to describe to those who haven’t spent a lot of time looking at other natlangs without the conversation devolving into smut. Those who have (like most conlangers) know that a word like this is actually quite common in the world’s languages, and it isn’t always associated with sexual activity. In fact, there’s actually two words for this in Kamakawi: One that has to do specifically with air, and this one, which applies to everything else (but also includes air). If the Kamakawi had cigarettes, this is the verb they’d use.

As for the iku, it actually uses the box from tu (making this iku partly phonetic) and makes it into a mouth inside the boxish Kamakawi head you see in a lot of glyphs (e.g. huva, the opposite of this word). In this way it’s pretty solidly an iku’ui (I know there aren’t many, comparatively speaking).


Tawe

• Monday, January 30th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'tawe'.

tawe

  • (v.) to open (something)

Ka tawe ei ie puka.
“I opened the door.”

Notes: This is one of those rare words that exists kind of in a vacuum. It means “to open”, but is only said of things like doors and windows. Its iku features the syllabic glyph ta inside of a house (where the door would be). It has a very limited, very specific use.


Payu

• Friday, January 27th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'payu'.

payu

  • (v.) to show, to display to
  • (n.) displaying, showing

Ai fulele ia ae mata ie palei li’i ai? Ale ko! He male payu ei i ia!
“You want to see my home? Come on in! I’ll show it to you!”

Notes: For a present, we got something in a brown paper bag. We set it on the ground, and Keli had found a new little home:

Keli hunkering down in a bag.

I suspected she would exit the bag if I approached her, so I took out my camera and started taking pictures from a distance, and continued to do so as I edged closer. This was the best of the bunch (since, indeed, she did exit the bag when I got closer).

Today’s word is built off the iku for moko (“eight”), but in this case, it’s actually serving the function of an ikunoala. See, the glyph for pa is an upside-down triangle, and the glyph for iu is a right-side-up triangle. By setting one above the other, you get payu. Of course, it couldn’t be identical to moko, so to disambiguate the pair, a notch was added to the top.


Huva

• Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'huva'.

huva

  • (v.) to blow out air

Kavakava novu! A huva ia i amo.
“The soup is hot! Blow on it.”

Notes: Huva is one of those words that arose mainly because of the shape I could make with the iku. It’s built off of hu, of course, and then by adding the little circle for the mouth, it looks like a face blowing out air. And voilà!

I think this is a useful word. It’d be perfect for modern birthdays. Although it occurred to me that I’m not sure if the Kamakawi would have candles—or if they did, if the concept would be borrowed from Zhyler. Apparently the oldest candles were made out of whale fat, and while the Kamakawi have plenty of whales about, they hold the whale in high esteem (indeed: it is one of the three sacred animals. It occurs to me I should add a tag for that and link to it here… […and done!]), so I’m not sure if they would harvest them… Certainly they would have at one point in time, but I’m not sure if they would continue to (it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to without coming to a conclusion).

Anyway, this is a true iku’ui. This is what I meant by that term: a syllabic glyph with an ideographic element to it, combined in a single iku.


Kupe

• Thursday, December 22nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'kupe'.

kupe

  • (v.) to be young
  • (adj.) young
  • (n.) youth (young man or woman)

Nemei lia kupe ie aeko o ei!
“Young girl, get out of my mind!”

Notes: Man, talk about a creepy song! You can give it a listen here, or read the lyrics here.

So this iku is a bit of a mixed bag. It features part of the iku for ku, which gives the reader a clue how to pronounce it, but it also features the “ground” determinative. Here, though, that “ground” determinative is being used rather literally. The idea is that it will look like a flower springing out of the ground (recall that ku means “aloe”), and thereby stand for youthfulness. By definition, then, I believe this is an iku’ui, even though it looks like an ikuleyaka.


A’iki

• Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'a'iki'.

a’iki

  • (n.) coral reef

I a’iki kavi pe.
“There’s a large coral reef there.”

Notes: A’iki is certainly an older word, and its iku is one of those that defies exact description. It’s, of course, built off the iku for “white”, a’i, but there’s no etymological relationship between the two. It features the “ground” determinative (used with places and locations), and it also kind of looks like a coral reef, but that could just be me. So it might’ve been an ikuleyaka, but usually those don’t have any phonological component.

Hey, apropos of nothing, if you want to see something good, check out the latest series at the Kēlen Word of the Day blog. Sylvia’s translated “The Jabberwocky” into Kēlen and is discussing the translation line by line. I never thought of the “slithy toves” as lizard, but that’s part of the fun!


Nu’e

• Monday, October 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nu'e'.

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”.


Pata

• Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'pata'.

pata

  • (n.) dirt, earth, ground, soil
  • (adj.) brown
  • (v.) to be brown
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Toku ia ie pa ie pata.
“Put the bowl on the ground.”

Notes: I actually took a double take with this iku. I thought pata was a simple ikunoala, but it isn’t. It’s built off the syllabic glyph for pa, but has the glyph for water, lelea, superimposed over it. The way I think of it is the pa glyph somehow represents the earth (the top of the triangle is where the people walk, and it goes down to the core of the earth), and the lelea over it is used to indicate that it’s the substance that’s meant: the dirt.

The word pata is also used as a name for boys. To learn more about that name, go here.


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