The Zhyler Kamakawi Alphabet

So, how do you have fun? Hang gliding? Yeah, hang gliding's cool, I'll grant you that. But you know where the real action's at? Check this out.

In the made-up made-up world of the Kamakawi (i.e., the made-up world actually doesn't exist, because I didn't create it—I'm just pretending I did), there's a small series of islands where everyone lives, and off-shore a couple hundred miles away is a much larger island occupied by the folk that speak Zhyler. For fun, I decided to pretend to pretend that the Zhyler speakers look down on the Kamakawi as inferior beings. Seeing that they wrote their language with a bunch of "pictures", as shown below...

Ka li ei i nawa ke nevi i eine.

Ka li ei i nawa ke nevi i eine.

"I gave a fish to a woman."

...some Zhyler scholars thought they'd do the Kamakawi a favor and create a proper alphabet for them. Thus, I made up the alphabet, made up a font, and made up this page. Now that's fun!

Unsurprisingly, the alphabet the Zhyler scholars devised (which is called Kamakawi Veskay) works exactly like Zhyler's alphabet. This means that punctuation comes at the beginning, the last letter of a proper name and the last letter of a sentence are capitalized, and words proceed from left to right with spaces in between them.

According to the Zhyler folk, their own alphabet accomodates the phonemic inventory of Kamakawi perfectly. In reality, there are some sounds that were missing, and, based on a general misanalysis of Kamakawi, some letters had to be invented. The main differences are as follows:

  • The allophones f and v have two letters to spell them, as in the romanization system.

  • The allophones h and ' also have two letters to spell them. Since neither sound is present in Zhyler, the glyph for Zhyler x was used for h, and a new semi-letter was invented to take care of ' (since, according to the Zhyler scholars who devised the script, ' doesn't qualify as a full sound).

  • Words that begin with initial i and u and are followed by a vowel are spelled with the letters for y and w, respectively, though they remain fully vocalic in pronunciation.

  • Zhyler speakers who used this alphabet to spell Kamakawi were often inconsistent with y and w and i and u. Thus, the Kamakawi word kau might be spelled with a u or a w, and even a word like oe might be spelled with an i or a y instead of an e. Additionally, the glottal stop ' sometimes surfaced as an h, or not at all.

Below is a list of all the letters used in the Zhylerization system of Kamakawi. First will be listed the letter (in lower then upper case form), then the romanized veresion of that letter, than a word written in the script featuring that letter, followed by a romanized version of that word and its translation. After that, just for fun, is a column showing what those words look like in Kamakawi's script. Since it's Zhyler's alphabet, they got to decide on the alphabetical order, so the list below is presented in Zhyler's alphabetical order, by and large.

Lower/Upper Case




Kamakawi Glyph

a a ape ape, "one" ape

v v keva keva, "shark" keva

f f ape fale, "grass" fale

m m mono mono, "canoe" mono

n n nivu nivu, "to drink" nivu

e e eyoe eyoe, "tropicbird" eyoe

y y taya taya, "dorsal fin" taya
  i ieolu ielou, "whale" ielou

i i inu inu, "stick" inu

p p hopu hopu, "ash" hopu

t t kata kata, "pig" kata

k k kaneko kaneko, "cat" kaneko

u u uvo uvo, "swordfish" uvo

l l leta leta, "wing" leta

h h hala'i hala'i, "life" hala'i

w w kawi kawi, "cloud" kawi
  u uomo uomo, "moon" uomo

o o olo olo, "life" olo

' ' hala'i a'i, "white" a'i

The sentence shown above in Kamakawi Veskay looks like this:

Ka li ei i nawa ke nevi i eine.

Ka li ei i nawa ke nevi i eine.

"I gave a fish to a woman."

And there you have it.

You know how things work in the real world. I'm sure that after awhile, this system would replace the old system, since it'd be necessary for commerce and trade (the number system in Kamakawi Veskay is identical to the number system of Zhyler), and all that. The fancy glyphs of Kamakawi would become a relic of the distant past, paved over by the Zhylerization system to make way for bus stops, cellular telephones, cineplexes, and shopping malls. Who are you to resist it, eh? Mwa, ha, ha! Buy! Sell! Buy! Mortgage! Lease! Credit rating! Low financing! Zero APR!

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This page was last modified on Thursday, January 14, 2010.
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