Posts Tagged ‘culture’


• Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'i'avava'.


  • (n.) feast
  • (v.) to have a feast

I’avava uia eyana!
“Have a good feast!”

Notes: Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone who’s having Thanksgiving! :D I’m enjoying a great one today. If you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, then have a splendid non-holiday! :D Hopefully you eat something nice today. :)


• Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'taketuli'.


  • (n.) girlfriend

Iko i taketuli oi’i.
“This is my girlfriend.”

Notes: The counterpart to yesterday’s word is today’s word for “girlfriend”. I like this word. It’s kind of funky, kind of bouncy. I think it’s just right.


• Monday, November 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'takevotu'.


  • (n.) boyfriend

Ai takevotu oi’ia i emi ai?
“And who’s your boyfriend?”

Notes: The past couple words have been fotu and tuli: words for “husband” and “wife”, respectively, that don’t enjoy much regular use. Today’s word does, though.

This is the basic word for “boyfriend” and it means, literally, something like “pretend husband” or “practice husband” or maybe even “trial husband”. And that’s how the Kamakawi see it. The “dating” or “courtship” phase is trying people out: Seeing how they might fit as a spouse, and, at the same time, learning how to be a spouse, in a non-permanent, non-binding way.

Incidentally, in Kamakawi it’s bad luck to marry your first ever boyfriend or girlfriend. It happens, certainly (what society is uniform?), but it’s regarded with suspicion (perhaps something like a Hollywood marriage, where everyone wonders when it will end). The idea is that your first sees you before you’re ready—before you become who you’re going to become—and general consensus is that such marriages can never last.


• Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'fotu'.


  • (n.) husband (formal term)

Ea, ipe i fotu oi’i.
“Yes, that’s my husband.”

Notes: Pretty sure I’ve heard my wife say that once or twice. ;)

Today’s word is a counterpart to yesterday’s word tuli, which means “wife”. The common word for “husband” is hopoko, the word for “man”. This one only shows up in formal situations (or when one is mad with the other).

The iku for fotu is based on the iku for hopoko, but it has a line above it like the iku for ei, which means “I”. That line used to have more of a function in the olden days; now it shows up in just a few iku. This is one of them.


• Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tuli'.


  • (n.) wife (formal term)

Eli ei i ia, he tuli oi’i!
“I love you, O wife of mine!”

Notes: In Kamakawi, the common word for “wife” is simply eine, the word for “woman”. There is, however, an older, traditional term that’s used in formal situations (or, perhaps, defensively), and that’s tuli. It’s counterpart is fotu, which we’ll see tomorrow. :)


• Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'mopi'.


  • (n.) candlenut

A male neo uei iu mopi.
“We’ll make use of the candlenuts.”

Notes: In Hawaiian, these are called kukui. In English, they’re called, “What the heck is a candlenut…?”



• Friday, October 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'palei'.


  • (n.) home

Ipe i palei lapa li’i.
“This is my new home.”


Recently Erin slightly rearranged some items upstairs. She put all my stringed instruments together in one corner so they leaned against the wall. This make it much less convenient to get at them, but it made a wonderful new little cave for Keli, and it’s become her new favorite spot:

Keli in her hidey hole.

I realize it’s kind of hard to see because Keli is such a dark kitty, but if you can make out her eye, it’ll help you make out the rest of her face.

Today’s word (the diminutive of pale) is the word for the concept of “home”. It can also be used to mean “little house” or to refer to one’s own house (or hut), but it’s the idea of “home” that it encapsulates.


• Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ote'.


  • (n.) plate, dish, tray
  • (v.) to serve
  • (n.) serving, portion

Li ia ie ote li ia e nevi i’i.
“Give me your plate.”

Notes: Today’s word is an old word that means “to serve”, and it’s still used in that capacity, to some extent, but now it’s most commonly used to mean “plate” (or a serving).

The iku is a rather straightforward compound of te and o. It might look familiar, but temi, its closest cousin, has two horizontal strokes across the middle rather than one.


• Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oliala'.


  • (n.) poet, singer
  • (n.) poetry
  • (v.) to be poetic
  • (adj.) poetic

He noala oliala ie noala o u Nova…
“Sing ye poets the song of the Rays…”

Notes: I may be a day late, but, gosh darnit, it’s the MLB playoffs, and it’s time to make some predictions! I know that most people that come here aren’t baseball fans, but there’s at least one who writes poetry about baseball, so my predictions are going up!

(By the way, Doug Ball can verify that these predictions predated the start of the playoffs. I e-mailed them to Doug on September 29th, and the predictions below are copied directly from that e-mail.)

American League


  • Detroit Tigers def. New York Yankees 3-1.
  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Texas Rangers 3-2.


  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Detroit Tigers 4-2.

National League


  • Philadelphia Phillies def. St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.
  • Milwaukee Brewers def. Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2.


  • Philadelphia Phillies def. Milwaukee Brewers 4-1.

And for the World Series:

  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Philadelphia Phillies 4-1.

Last year’s predictions did not, in fact, go very well at all, but I’ve got a good feeling this year. Granted, the rain delay has thrown the entire Yankees-Tigers series into utter chaos, so anything can happen there, but outside of what would be a wonderfully bizarre matchup of twin expansion teams (Rays-D’Backs), it seems to me like the Phillies are destined to come out of the NL, and that either the Rays or Tigers are coming out of the AL. We’ll see how well I do this time around…

Today’s word derives form oala, but has a special relationship with noala, as you may have guessed. Kamakawi seems like a great language for poetry, and poetry, as it was, was expressed in song. That’s why the word for “poet” is the same as the word for “singer”—and, in fact, oliala and noliala (which we haven’t seen yet) are as synonymous as synonyms get, with only a slight shadow of meaning to distinguish the two.

If you’re not a fan of baseball, try to catch a Rays game on TV. There’s something about that team this year. The magic may wear off, though, so catch them quick, in case they burn out.


• Monday, September 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'olomoko'.


  • (v.) to walk with (someone)
  • (n.) used to describe the settling of a disagreement (or used to mean “the settling of a disagreement”)

Kava olomoko i’i.
“Fire walk with me.”

Notes: Just acame across the coolest thing for Twin Peaks fans (and that should be all y’all, nahmean?). For those who weren’t following the internet back then, someone produced an NES-style side-scrolling game version of The Great Gatsby which is an absolute riot (I highly recommend it!). To me, that was the crowning achievement of faux-retro literary gaming, but today’s revelation is definitely worth of note.

An…entity referred to as jak locke has released (apparently awhile back, so excuse me if you’ve seen this before) an Atari-style game called Black Lodge 2600. You take control of Dale Cooper as he tries to escape the Black Lodge with his life and his identity. It’s everything you’d hope it should be. I haven’t gotten too far, but hopefully one day I’ll make it out.

I dusted off the ol’ Kamakawi applicative (derivation? inflection? a little from column A, a little from column B…?) to create today’s word. In Kamakawi, I have a very clear idea of how you’d use the nominal form, but I can’t seem to define it very well in English (possibly [or probably] because I have a massive headache). Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, though.