Posts Tagged ‘behavior’


• Saturday, April 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ivivi'.


  • (v.) to really like

Ivivi iko puka i’i.
“I really like this doorway.”

Notes: Check this out:

A circular doorway.

I recognize that this isn’t practical for humans, given our shape, but man is that cool!

I also don’t know what it says on that sign. One of these days I want to learn either to read Chinese or speak it (not both).

The picture I took here cleverly cuts out the little chain that prevents one from passing through this circular portal. I really wanted to walk through it. Alas, it was not meant to be…

(Note: This word derives from ivi, the verb meaning “to please”.)


• Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'neto'.Glyph of the word 'neto'.


  • (v.) to be lazy
  • (adj.) lazy
  • (n.) laziness

Netoneto ei kiko…
“Lazy today…”

Notes: And I’m listening to a lazy song right now, too (“Mean to Me” by Dave Brubeck). Lost our basketball game tonight pretty badly. Just got outworked. Makes me feel like a tired old man… (Listening to living room blues from the 60s adds to it.)

For those who remember neto, this is the more common variant. Something about lazy seems like it should be netoneto to me (even though it would seem to require less effort to say neto).

Looking forward to a productive Tuesday. Cheers to you all!


• Friday, February 18th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'neto'.


  • (adj.) lazy
  • (n.) laziness
  • (v.) to be lazy

Oku neto ei; e alulei kupaepae.
“I’m not lazy; I’m just taking a little break.”

Notes: Or so says my non-lazy little kitty. I’ll let you be the judge:

My cat taking a little break.


Today’s word is much more common in its reduplicated form (netoneto), but I thought I should introduce it using the unmodified form. Besides, the non-reduplicated form is more dignified, and much more likely to be spoken by a cat of taste and refinement like Keli.


• Monday, February 7th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'i'elupale'.


  • (n.) surprise

Ipe i’elupale elea!
“What a happy surprise!”

Notes: Hey, how about that: I predicted a playoff game correctly! :D And Berkeley and Chico’s own Aaron Rodgers won the MVP! HOORAY! :D

To recap, with my prediction:

  • (6) Green Bay Packers defeat (2) Pittsburgh Steelers 29-27 Packers win 31-25

Not too bad, if I do say so myself! And aside from a few dropped passes and a bad decision on a fourth and goal, it was a picture-perfect game—and highly enjoyable to watch.

Man, Aaron Rodgers is going to get meet President Obama… How cool.

Anyway, today’s word is a nominal derived from the verb helupale, which we’ve had before. The process illustrates one of the odd phonological rules of Kamakawi that I’m going to stick with it, despite misgivings. The rule turns a glottal fricative (h) into a glottal stop () in between vowels. Thinking as a phonologist, this is kind of a strange alternation—almost backwards from what one would expect (imagine a language where /t/ goes to [s] in between vowels. Fairly common, right? Now imagine a language where /s/ goes to [t] between vowels. Yikes…).

The way I figure, it might have been hypocorrection (or hypocorrection… I always confuse those two terms. Someone jump in and correct me), or overcompensation. Intervocalically, see, [h] has a tendency to disappear. To compensate for this, speakers made the thing more emphatic (the glottal stop), and pretty soon it was just assumed to be there, and so the alternation was born.


• Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'imali'.


  • (adj.) curious
  • (v.) to be curious
  • (n.) curiosity

He ma’a ti imali.
“Wisdom begins in wonder.”

Notes: The phrase is Socrates’, but it doubles as the first text on David Bell’s website. Since I was asked to post about it here, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve awarded the 2010 Smiley Award to David Bell’s ámman îar.

Sadly, David Bell is no longer with us. He died a few years ago, though we only learned about it within the last week. His language ámman îar is one of the best artlangs I’ve seen anywhere on the internet, and it saddened me greatly to see his site ( go offline a couple years back. To try to preserve his work, I’ve reconstructed his website and put it back up at If you have a minute, I recommend you go check out his reference grammar for ámman îar. Though incomplete, it’s still one of the best conlang descriptions that exists on the web.

Though he can’t be here to read it, congratulations to David! His language was a true achievement, and I’m going to try my best to make sure it’s not forgotten.


• Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kulu'ume'.


  • (v.) to waste (something)
  • (n.) waste
  • (adj.) wasteful

Ape… Mata neu… Oku kulu’ume ti’a li’ia…
“So… Understand… Don’t waste your time…”

Notes: Always searching for those…what?

The Real Number 10
“Wasted Years”

Iron Maiden's single for 'Wasted Years'

Somewhere in Time (1986)

Yes indeed, at number 10 comes the Iron Maiden single “Wasted Years” from their 1986 album Somewhere in Time. If you take lyrics, melody and instrumentation all together and rank Iron Maiden songs from top to bottom, this is probably the number one most listenable song for those who are not fans of metal music. If you yourself are not a fan of metal, try giving this one a listen and see if you agree.

One of the defining characteristics of metal (aside from its distorted guitars and fast-paced guitar solos) is the way in which songs are constructed. Many metal songs are much more similar to classical pieces in structure than standard rock and pop music. With rock/pop, you generally have a verse, maybe a second verse, then a chorus, then a verse, then a chorus, then maybe an interlude, then a chorus, and that’s it. In contrast, many heavy metal songs move from one musical idea to another, often starting with one motif and never returning to it.

Despite the wonderfully intricate guitar work, “Wasted Years” is actually a rock song. (In fact, I’d say Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” are much more metal [structurally speaking] than “Wasted Years”, despite those bands not being metal bands.) It’s quite obviously a verse-chorus-verse song, and has a very radio-friendly chorus.

But, of course, rock songs aren’t bad, and this one is outstanding. Lyrically, it reminds me (of all things) of Journey’s “Faithfully” (of which I’m a big, big fan), and musically, the intro is one of their best (one of metal’s best), and the chorus seems to jump right out the radio at you.

Tune in tomorrow for this song’s polar opposite. ;)

The etymology of this word (kulu’ume) is complex. I’m also not sure how quite to explain it… Of course, I’ll have an entry (eventually) for its base word, but what does one do about the affixes…? True, they are iku in their own right, but should I have individual entries devoted to affixes? I wonder…


• Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'itule'.


  • (v.) to injure, to hurt
  • (n.) one who hurts or injures someone

Oku male itule ei i ia…
“Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you…”

Notes: Seeing as the word for “lie” is itakepolaolao, I figured there was no way I was going to fit it into this translation. So all this says is, “Never gonna hurt you”.

Not that it matters, of course. Now that I’m going through line by line and translating this song that, for whatever has become of it, I’ve always really liked, I’m noticing how insipid the lyrics are. All these things he’s never gonna do are kind of random—just a bunch of “bad” things picked out of a hat and thrown together. I feel like the paramour in question should turn around and say, “Okay, now I know what you’re not gonna do. Just what are you gonna do? It better be something if you’re gonna be my man!”

Now how about some anti-rickroll stuff for today? Here’s a graph from (whose proprietors evidently have no idea how to spell the word “likelihood”):

Graph of what Rick Astley will do.


• Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'helea'.


  • (v.) to cry, to weep
  • (n.) crying, weeping
  • (adj.) crying, weeping
  • (n.) crier, weeper

Oku male li ei, i ia e heleale…
“Never gonna make you cry, never gonna say goodbye…”

Notes: So…I’m not sure Kamakawi grammar works this way, but I think if the first verse trains the listener, they may accept this. Essentially, it’s just “I will never make you cry”, but it’s done as a serial construction. I’m pretty sure this would not be strictly grammatical, but it may be accepted colloquially (e.g. as “I’m gonna get me some ice cream”—not strictly grammatical, but acceptable in certain circumstances).

The iku for helea is a turned version of the glyph for hu. Hu is being used here not for its phonological character, but for what it portrays: a human face. By turning it upside-down, the implication is that there’s something wrong, and this is what gives us the word for “to cry”.

For today’s Rick Roll moment, I just found this video which is hilarious. It was done by Nanci Pelosi, and purports to be a video about the exploits of two cats at the White House. About halfway through, it turns into a rickroll, of course, but for the first minute or so, you get to see the cats! :D I like to see cats walking around places and looking at things.


• 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.

Kala Poiu

• Saturday, July 31st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kala poiu'.


  • (v.) to convince

Ae male kala i ia poiu…
“I just want to tell you how I’m feeling…”

Notes: Wow. Okay, this sentence means nothing close to what the lyrics are supposed to mean. It actually translates to “I’m going to convince you”. There was nothing I could do to convey the meaning and preserve the meter, so I took the general sense of this line and the next and I’ve kind of changed it and redistributed it.

The phrase kala…poiu derives, of course, from kala, which we’ve seen before. We’ve also seen a phrasal verb like this one before. Therefore shall I celebrate.

Here’s one of my favorite Rick Rolls! My wife and I are big fans of Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. Apparently, one year during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, they Rick Rolled the parade itself. You can see the video here, and read about it here.