Posts Tagged ‘numbers’


• Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'tala'.


  • (num.) eight
  • (adj.) eighth
  • (v.) to octuple

Hekala ia ti “pene” tala potu.
“Say ‘pene’ eight times.”

Notes: My master’s thesis at UCSD involved me getting people to say sentences like the above eight times. Instead of pene, though, they were saying “ban”, “bang”, “bad”, “bane”, “bade”, “Ben”, “bing”, “bin”, “bean”, “bead”, “bed”, “beg”, “bag”, “big”—may have even had them saying “beag” as in “beagle”. Each of those were in the sentence above, and they said each sentence eight times. It was torturous—for them and me. Turned up some interesting results, though.

There’s an interesting expression used above. The phrase tala potu translate literally to “eight thick”. That’s how you say “eight times” in Kamakawi.


• Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'upe'.


  • (num.) seven
  • (adj.) seventh
  • (v.) to septuple

Ei ie peti pou Upe Petití.
“I’m the ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.”

Notes: I figured I should do something here to acknowledge the announcement that I created the Dothraki language for HBO’s upcoming adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire entitled Game of Thrones (got to be a shorter way to say all that…). So, here it is. I just claimed dominion over the Seven Kingdoms—all of them—and I did so Kamakawi-ly. :P

Oh, and if you’re concerned about the fact that this post is yet another number, don’t worry: I just plan to do the digits 0 through 9, the number 10, and then the major 10’s ones after it (100, 1,000, and I think I’ve got an iku for 1,000,000, too…). Otherwise, I do recognize that one could trivially satisfy the word of the day quota by doing a different number every single day (just as I also recognize that as soon as one’s language has a stable number system, one could claim one has an infinite number of words in one’s language—and, yes, that is cheating). ;)


• Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'moko'.


  • (num.) five
  • (adj.) fifth
  • (v.) to qunituple

A mata ei i moko iki!
“I see five chickens!”

Notes: Bleh. No energy for a clever sentence today. Whenever I can’t think up something good, I write, “I see x”. I guess that’s better than “I hit x” (for which, see yesterday’s post). But, yeah… Sooooo tired.

Also, I guess I might technically have included a determined version of the iku above. By now, though, I think everyone knows what that looks like.

Nothing else here. Closing up shop for the night. Night, all. :)


• Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'fe'. and Glyph of the word 'fe'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable fe in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (num.) six
  • (adj.) sixth
  • (v.) to sextuple
  • (suf.) turns any noun, verb, adjective, preposition or adverb into a noun meaning “chicken cover”

A fi’ea ia ie fi’onumeve li ia!
“Don’t forget your chicken cover!”

Notes: In the sentence above, fi’onumeve means “chicken cover” because of the -fe suffix (which becomes -ve, via regular phonological sound change [for more information on that sound change, see the Kamakawi phonology page]). It’s cognate with nawanakave, which means “chicken cover”, and takekenipive which means “chicken cover”, as well as mowoimokove which also means “chicken cover”. It’s also similar to the word aeve, which means “chicken cover”.

The “chicken cover” suffix is written with the undetermined form of the iku, of course. The determined version is reserved for “sextuple”. The other meanings also use the undetermined form of the iku (i.e. “six” and “sixth”).

Regarding its form, remember that these number iku derived from earlier forms comprising dots. The early form of “six” was three dots on top and three dots on the bottom. Each set of three dots became a line, giving us the iku we have today. This iku is used to build the iku for seven, eight and nine, as well, making it look like Kamakawi has a base…six system? Seven? I could never get that right…

Oh, and by the way: APRIL FOOLS! :D


• Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'no'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable no in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (num.) three
  • (adj.) third
  • (v.) to triple
  • (suf.) creates a trial

Au ivi iano i’i.
“I like you three.”

Notes: As with ka, no can be used as a suffix to modify pronouns to create a kind of ad hoc trial form. I don’t know how official it is, but it exists.

You might notice that there’s no determined version of the iku above. This is intentional. To get either the number three or the syllable no, one must use the undetermined version. The reason is that the determined version is reserved exclusively for something else (and that we’ll see later on).


• Thursday, March 11th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ka'. and Glyph of the word 'ka'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable ka in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (num.) two
  • (det.) both
  • (adj.) second
  • (v.) to double
  • (suf.) creates a dual

Au tei iaka eyana!
“You two dance well!”

Notes: The iku for ka is such because you have two dots that connect. So even though it looks like our “one”, or even a single tally, it’s not one: it’s two.

As mentioned previously, the determined version of ka is used for “to double”, but with this one, the real issue is pronouns.

So Kamakawi kind of has dual and trial pronouns, but not really. There are special forms for dual and trial first person inclusive pronouns, but other than that, dual and trial “pronouns” are formed by suffixing a number to the singular pronoun form. It’s roughly the equivalent of saying something “you two” in English.

And this suffixing isn’t restricted to two and three. You can suffix any number (within reason) and produce a new pronoun. The only difference is that the presence of the inclusive first person dual and trial pronouns argue (in a way) for a dual and trial category along with singular and plural. Me, I don’t worry about it so much. I figure it does what it does, and that’s enough.


• Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'to'. and Glyph of the word 'to'.


  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable to in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (num.) four
  • (adj.) fourth
  • (v.) to quadruple

Ka hava ei i to toti!
“I ate four yams!”

Notes: I would have preferred the first number introduced on this blog to be “one” (or even “zero”), but to is a syllabic glyph, as well, so here we are.

The Kamakawi digits from one to nine are more or less iconic, their present forms being derived from a system of dots that were later converted into strokes. With to, the “four” part of it is actually the four corners, not the four sides. Keeping that in mind will actually make understanding the iku for the digits five through nine easier.

The determined form of to is used only for the verb “to quadruple”. Most numbers can be used as verbs meaning “to multiply by x”, where x is the digit in question, but at a certain point it gets silly, so a different expression is used. To is small enough, though, that it’s not unheard of to see it used thus.