Posts Tagged ‘reptile’


• Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'kenipi'.


  • (n.) gecko

I kenipi te e’i o ei.
“There’s a gecko on my foot.”

Notes: So, somewhere, somehow, there’s this awesome picture of my foot with a gecko on it that I took in Hawai’i. I can’t find it right now (amongst my 11,000 pictures), and may not have it, since I took it before the time I was putting pictures on my computer. But it’s somewhere.

There are geckos all over Hawai’i, and for “pests”, they’re quite charming. I decided to port them over to the Kamakawi Islands, as well. I can’t remember for certain if this word for gecko came after my visit to Hawai’i or before, but since it’s on the particular version of my font that it’s on, I’m going to guess it came after.

This iku comprises three syllabic iku: ke, ni and pi. I put ke where I did (rather than building this iku off kepi, for example) in order to make it look like the head of the gecko. So while the iku is a true ikunoala, it kind of looks like a stylized gecko (imagine the spikes of pi being the legs).


• Saturday, September 18th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'kanaka'.


  • (n.) animal
  • (adj.) animal (bestial; used to describe something that is animal in nature)
  • (v.) to be natural (said of beings)

Mata ia iu ipe kanaka!
“Look at those animals!”

Notes: Today’s post is an advertisement for Sylvia Sotomayor’s Kēlen Word of the Day blog, because…man! Take a look at this post!

Reluctant to click? Let me list just some of the animals Sylvia has taken pictures of in Australia:

  • Bats
  • Koalas
  • Penguins
  • Sea Lions
  • Tree Frogs

And there are more. And they’re all on the same page! There are some incredible shots there. Let me tell you, this didn’t make my day: It made my month. (And I didn’t even mention the hopping kangaroo!)

So, yeah. Head over there. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. (And if you are, this animal fanatic doesn’t want to hear about it.)

This iku is a strange one, because I’m certain I had a reason for designing it the way I did, but what that reason is completely escapes me. The word, of course, is based on the Hawaiian word kanaka, which means “man”. Perhaps it was an inside joke that the iku is built off the glyph for hopoko, the Kamakawi word for “man”.

Anyway, let’s think about this. There’s a little notch on the right side which means…something. And then a slash through the leg. I think my original idea was to draw a connection between humans an animals, which is why this iku is built off hopoko. As for the notch and the slash… I get the impression that the slash is supposed to be a claw of some kind. I don’t know. It’s a puzzle. Anyway, there it is. What, what, rah-ther, and all that.

It’s all right to have some mysteries in one’s writing systems, so long as there aren’t too many (I mean true mysteries, not just etymologies that have been lost to one’s imagined speakers). With Kamakawi’s system, I think there’s just the right amount.

Now, to bed! Or…water first, then bed! And teeth brushing… Something or other.


• Friday, January 1st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'molo'o'.


  • (n.) komodo dragon (or some like monitor lizard)

A huita molo’o i hoku ti toko.
“The komodo dragon is stronger than an elephant.”

Notes: The molo’o is a revered animal for the Kamakawi. Indeed: It is one of the three sacred animals of the Kamakawi. He’s kind of like a lion on the islands: the most feared and fearsome predator. I imagine them to be a bit larger than komodo dragons, and able to lift their heads a bit higher. Nevertheless, a komodo dragon is pretty close.