Posts Tagged ‘structural’


• Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ui'.


  • (v.) to join, to conjoin
  • (n.) joining, conjoining, coming together
  • (n.) joint (body part)
  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence ui

He ui eya i peaka!
“Let’s conjoin them!”

Notes: I’ve classified today’s word as an ikuiku, but I’m not sure about the classification. It derives from a figure that looks pretty much like this one, but it started out abstract. It’s, essentially, an abstract representation of joining (perhaps originally a drawing of a knot, though it no longer means “knot”). So the thing looks like what it’s supposed to look like, but it’s not very…picture-y. Aside from throwing up my hands and calling it an ikunima’u, though, all I can do is classify it an ikuiku.


• Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hiku'.


  • (n.) pile, heap, mound

Oku olomo i ipe hiku o temi.
“Don’t walk on that pile of bones.”

Notes: This is the word that gave birth to the term hikuiku, which describes a word comprising two or more iku. It just means “pile” in the sense of…”pile”. Nothing very fancy about it (well, unless it’s a pile of something valuable, like gold bars). Unlike the English word “pile”, it can also be used with mass nouns, so you can say hiku o ta, “a pile of sand”.

Actually, I’m having a syntax class moment… Is “pile of sand” infelicitous in English? I know “pile of ice cream” is. Oh dang. Or is it…?! Wow. My English grammar thing has just gone haywire. Hooray! :D


• Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'io'.


  • (conj.) but
  • (prep.) sans, except, without, excluding
  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence io

Ka olomo i palei io nea.
“I walked home without her.”

Notes: Kind of a sad sentence not directly indicative of anything. We saw today’s iku yesterday, but there it meant “dove”. Today’s is this kind of conjunction/preposition, and it’s also used for the phonological sequence io. The iku is a combination of…

Uh oh.

Hang on a minute. What the heck is the iku about?! It doesn’t look like a combination of i and o. It doesn’t really look like a dove… What the heck is it?

Dang. Unless something comes back to me before I hit the first comma in this sentence, I think I’m going to have to classify this iku an ikunima’u. How about that.

Update: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh snap! You are not going to believe what I just found! This is the iku that the modern Kamakawi iku for io derives from (I found it!):

Old glyph of the word 'io'.

Look at that! It’s an honest-to-goodness dove! A real, no-foolin’ dove! 8O So the modern iku, then (in the real history of the language), is my stylized representation of that dove. I ain’t never smoked a thing in my life, but…what was I smoking?!

Oh wait. Actually, I kind of see it… I took the complex image there and tried to render it with as few strokes as possible. You can do it with two. So the important part, then, was the dent of the wings on the top, and then you just carry the line down under to form most of the body. Then the tail is done with one stroke and turned slightly (as it probably would over the years). Huh. How about that! Mystery solved.


• Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'paketepi'.


  • (n.) anthill

Oku olomo pe! Ipe i paketepi!
“Don’t step there! That’s an anthill!”

Notes: Since we recently had a word for ant, I thought I’d put up “anthill”. Works pretty much the same as English, except that rather than “hill” it’s pake, the word for “mountain”. This isn’t my favorite Kamakawi word for “anthill”, but it kind of reminded me of the song “Worm Mountain” by the Flaming Lips (easily one of my favorite songs off their album Embryonic), so I threw it up today.

In other news, I’m probably going to win my fantasy football matchup today, but probably not going to make the playoffs (even though the leader in one division is sub-.500). Lot of bad, bad luck this year and bad matchups. One can one do?


• Saturday, December 3rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ala'.


  • (n.) to be located at
  • (prep.) at
  • (adj.) placed
  • (n.) place
  • (v.) to have (subject is possessee; object possessor)

Ala oko i’i.
“I have a drum.”

Notes: Here’s a really common word I haven’t done yet. Ala actually works as a locative copula—the only type Kamakawi has. It’s general, and can be used in conjunction with locative prepositions, but it usually just means “at” or “near” or “around”.

The iku is a bizarre combination of a and la that I call the “broken spear” iku because the darn thing looks a lot like utu. The difference is so slight (a shorter stick on utu), you’d think the two would’ve merged, and yet the distinction is preserved.


• Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'e'i'.


  • (n.) foot
  • (n.) bottom
  • (adv.) under, underneath
  • (prep.) below, under
  • (v.) to go under

Li’u po e’i!
“Death from below!”


Erin just uploaded a bunch of pictures to my computer from her phone, and I found this one quite amusing:

Keli below the laptop.

So sinister! My sneaky little feline.

Today’s iku is built off the iku for hi. The right and left edges are joined to the low point to make a “V” shape indicating the e. Kind of looks like a bat… Too bad I already have an iku for “bat” (see fine).


• Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'umu'.


  • (n.) lip
  • (n.) rim, edge

A kavi umu o ia!
“Your lip is big!”

Notes: Presumably from a fight. I think umu is an iku’ume. I mean, that seems right. Looks pretty good, for what it is. Not much else to say, other than iTunes won’t play right now, so I’m restarting my computer. So take that.


• Monday, November 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'epelupelu'.


  • (n.) hide (of an animal)

Fule to epelupelu ti’i.
“I need four hides.”

Notes: I’m going to be on autopilot during the Thanksgiving holiday, so forgive me for just putting up words without much explanation. Today’s word derives from…oh criminy. I could’ve sworn I’d already done epelu! And so the trend I started way back when continues…


• Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ae'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a singular subject that is different from the previous subject in the discourse, but which, otherwise, is not new to the discourse

Ka nu’e ei ie alama kae mamaka i’i!
“I picked up the sand crab and he pinched me!”

Notes: Today’s word is a grammatical word, but I hadn’t done it yet, so I figured today was as good a day as any.

As I mentioned previously, in Kamakawi there are switch-reference markers that occur sentence-initially. These tell the hearer the status of the subject: whether it’s brand new to the discourse, whether it’s the same as the subject of the previous sentence, or, in this case, if it comes from somewhere else in the discourse other than the subject position.

The place to use such a marker is exactly as shown above. In the example, alama, the sand crab, is the object of the sentence (it gets picked up). It then serves as the subject of the next clause, so you use ae (or, in this case, kae, since it’s in the past tense) to let the hearer know. And then, since the subject is clear, you can drop it and don’t need to use a pronoun to refer to it, either. This is one of the things that helps to shorten up Kamakawi sentences.

I’m still trying to figure out how to present the writing of the grammatical bits, but I don’t think it’s going to happen, since I’m going with one word a day (or, actually kae is one word, even though it’s written with two glyphs…). Essentially, though, using kae as an example, you write it with two glyphs: the past tense glyph and then the glyph for ae. But you can still use the past tense glyph by itself where it stands for ka (though to be maximally clear, it’s best to use the past tense glyph along with the switch-subject glyph, which is required when there’s a new plural subject in the past). It seems a lot more confusing than it is. Maybe I should actually add something to the actual Kamakawi webpages… (Something I haven’t done in ages.)


• 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.