Kamakawi Adjectives and Adverbs

I've been linking to this page for years from the page on noun phrases in Kamakawi, but not until today has there actually been a page that link linked to. And unless you're reading this on the day I'm writing it, that sentence I just wrote doesn't mean a whole lot, so let's get right to the issue.

This page is devoted to adjectives and adverbs in Kamakawi. First I'll talk about all the various types of adjectives, then the adverbs, and then I'll close with some talk of phrasal verbs and combination.

Adjectives in Kamakawi/Attributive Adjectives

Wars have been fought over whether the chicken or the egg came first. Though these wars could have been avoided had the participants known that the chicken, in fact, came first, a similar question can be raised about the nature of adjectives in Kamakawi—specifically, which came first: the verb or the adjective? It's hard to say. Here are the facts.

In Kamakawi, there are a large number of verbs which correspond to what we would think of as attributive adjectives in English:

  • elea, "to be happy"
  • meyeli, "to be mossy"
  • nepi, "to be narrow"
  • ikaka, "to be different"
  • lapa, "to be new"

These are used as verbs in sentences like, "It/she/he is x", where x is some sort of attribute:

  • A elea ei, "I am happy."
  • A meyeli ipe leya, "That rock is mossy."
  • A nepi iko kane, "This road is narrow."
  • A ikaka iko ikavaka ie ipe, "This book is different from that one."
  • A lapa pale li'i, "My house is new."

These same words can be used as adjectives within a noun phrase that modify the head noun. When they're used in this way, they follow the noun they modify:

  • Ka mata ei i hopoko elea, "I saw a happy man."
  • Ka lalau ei i leya meyeli aeiu aila, "I threw a mossy rock into the ocean."
  • Ka olomo uei ale kane nepi, "We walked along a narrow road."
  • Ka ilau ei ie ikavaka ikaka, "I read the different (= other) book."
  • A fule pale lapa ti'i!, "I want a new house!"

You can modify a single noun with pretty much as many adjectives as you want. They all follow the noun, and proceed outward in decreasing order of importance:

  • Ka mata ei i hopoko elea, toko, ulo, katava, "I saw a tall, tan, strong, happy man."

When you have a laundry list of adjectives like that, their ordering with respect to one another doesn't really matter. The more that the adjective closest to the noun is identified with the noun itself, though, the more order matters (so a tall strong man would be different from a strong tall man).

That's how adjectives in general work in Kamakawi, and how attributive adjectives specifically work. Now let us together explore the world of other not necessarily attributive adjectives! (Well, they're all kind of attributive, but not in this sense...)

Verbal Adjectives

Many action verbs of Kamakawi (if not all) can be used as adjectives. Here's a random sampling of happy verbs:

  • pato, "to hit (tr.)"
  • tupa, "to bathe (tr.)"
  • kawau, "to fall (int.)"
  • eli, "to love (tr.)"
  • olo, "to sleep (int.)"

These verbs are indeed used as ordinary verbs as one would expect:

  • Ka pato lea i'i!, "He hit me!"
  • Ka tupa ei i ika, "I bathed myself."
  • Ka kawau ei poiu katava, "I fell out of a palm tree."
  • A eli ei i ia, "I love you."
  • Ka olo nea ae fale, "She slept on the grass."

They can also be used adjectivally by placing them directly after a noun:

  • Ka kawala lea ie mali pato, "He scolded the hitting child."
  • Ka hekala nea ie mali tupa ti elea, "She greeted the bathed child."
  • Ka ale ei pokane katava kawau, "I avoided the falling palm tree."
  • Nea i mala eli, "She is a loving mother."
  • Ka mata ei i alama olo, "I saw a sleeping sand crab."

The first two don't have a great English translation, but they sound fine in Kamakawi. There are some general rules for how a verb will be interpreted when it's used as an adjective:

  • If a verb is intransitive, the adjective will be agentive.
  • If a transitive verb is an experiencer verb, the adjective will be agentive.
  • If a transitive verb is a non-experiencer verb, the adjective may be agentive, objective, or both.

There's no easy way to tell if a transitive non-experiencer verb will be agentive, objective, or both when used as an adjective. Often if the nominal form focuses on the process of the action rather than a specific instance of that action, the adjective will be objective. For example, tupa is "to bathe", as a verb, "bathing", as a noun, and "bathed" as an adjective. Pato, on the other hand, is "to hit", as a verb, "(a/the) hit" or "hitter", as a noun, and "hitting" as an adjective.

You can form an objective adjective from an agentive adjective by attaching the suffix -'u:

  • Ka mama eine ie hopoko kala, "The woman hugged the talking man."
  • Ka mama eine ie hopoko kala'u, "The woman hugged the talked to man (i.e., the woman hugged the man who had been talked to)."

Some objective adjectives can be made into agentive adjectives by adding the suffix -mu. Generally the adjectives that can take -mu come from verbs that denote some kind of process, rather an instantaneous action:

  • Ka mama mala ie mali tupa, "The woman hugged the bathed child."
  • Ka mama mala ie mali tupamu, "The woman hugged the bathing child."

Some objective adjectives can't be made into agentive adjectives, though, and a relative clause must be used (for more information about relative clauses, go here:

  • A mata ei ie hopoko eti, "I see the relieved man."
  • A mata ei ie hopoko poe eti, "I see the man who relieves."

The adjectival forms of transitve non-experiencer verbs generally must be learned and memorized. Even so, context can help to clarify most usages—even incorrect ones.

Nominal Adjectives

A less straightforward type of adjective is the nominal adjective. These type of adjectives typically focus on a prominent property of a given noun, and then assert that a noun modified by that nominal adjective is similar to the nominal adjective in that specific way. So, if you have nouns such as the following:

  • eta, "fat (of an animal or human)"
  • me, "wet sand"
  • nu, "wood"
  • ipo'uku, "verb"
  • oliala, "poetry"

They can be used as ordinary nouns:

  • Oku hava ia ie eta!, "Don't eat the fat!"
  • Oku paki ia i pale ae me, "Don't build a house on the wet sand."
  • A pama nu, "Wood is hard."
  • Au lona ipo'uku ie Kamakawi, "Kamakawi has too many verbs."
  • Ka ilau lia i oliala, "The girl read poetry."

If you modify another noun with these nouns, though, they are construed as adjectives:

  • He hava ue ie iko kata eta!, "Let's eat this fat pig!"
  • A leve e'i me o ei, "My sandy feet ache."
  • Ka letale ei i eneta nu, "I sailed a wooden boat."
  • A toku Kamakawi ie ikalai ipo'uku ape, "Kamakawi places the verb phrase first."
  • Ka ivi oala oliala linea ie lia, "His poetic words pleased the girl."

As with transitive non-experiencer verbs, there's no consistent way to tell what the meaning of a nominal adjective will be based on the noun. Generally, though, newer nominal adjectives or novel coinages are closer in meaning to the noun than those that have been in the language for awhile. So if a word were coined today in Kamakawi that meant "computer", a nominal adjective would mean "computer-like" or "computery", or something similar. On the other hand, there are some nominal adjectives that were coined so long ago that now their adjectival forms are no longer related to the nominal forms from which they were coined. One example of these are the various color terms shown below:

  • kuiki, "pink" (from the noun "seashell")
  • ku'uni, "purple" (from the noun "squid")
  • falele, "green" (a reduplicated form of the word for "grass", fale)
  • pata, "brown" (from the noun "dirt")
  • heva, "gray" (from the noun "fog")

So if you say fuilaila heva now, it can only mean, "gray sky"; it can't mean "foggy sky". For situations such as these, new words or prolix phrases have to be used (e.g., hevava, a reduplicated form of heva, is now used to mean "foggy").

Deriving Adjectives

There really isn't much dedicated morphology to deriving adjectives in Kamakawi. Pretty much all you have to do is take a word and modify a noun with it, and it forces an adjectival interpretation. How well it works depends on the speaker and the listener. Nevertheless, there are a couple of prefixes which are commonly associated with adjectives.

There is an old and definitely no longer productive prefix a- that is said to be the source of many common adjectives. It's used with a noun to produce an adjective this is like that noun (something that zero-derivation does anyway, which is probably why this prefix fell by the wayside). Here are some examples:

  • ata "dry" (der. a- + ta, "sand")
  • ane "loud" (der. a- + ne, "seagull")
  • aope "slimy" (der. a- + ope, "seaweed")

These derivations are far from certain, though. (That is, I coined these words a long time ago, and I know this prefix existed, and so I'm guessing that's how they're derived, but I might be wrong. Probably not with aope.)

Another fun prefix is the take- prefix. Take by itself means "to wear". When prefixed to a noun, though, the resulting word means "to act like (noun)". There are tons of these words in Kamakawi, and they're often used as adjectives to describe the behavior of others:

  • takepolao "to trick someone/tricky" (der. take- + polao, "blowfish". Explanation: A blowfish tricks you into believing it's big and tough by puffing itself up and showing off its spikes.)
  • takekeva "to be arbitrary/arbitrary" (der. take- + keva, "shark". Explanation: Sharks don't care who they bite [at least, until afterwards].)
  • takemi "to be carefree/carefree" (der. take- + mi, "butterfly". Explanation: Butterflies just flutter around all day not doing nothing for no one, without a care in the world.)
  • takenevi "to be generous/generous" (der. take- + nevi, "giver/to give". Explanation: One who is generous gives gifts.)
  • takeoku "to reject in a way that seems to suggest the real answer is 'yes'/coy" (der. take- + oku, "no". Explanation: This is someone who plays at saying "no".)
  • takevotu "to be a boyfriend" (der. take- + fotu, "husband". Explanation: Being a boyfriend, in a way, is a dress rehearsal for being a husband.)

As you can see, most of these end up being perfect adjectives. So though there isn't any dedicated adjectival morphology, these two prefixes come close.


Adverbs in Kamakawi generally go last in the sentence, and modify the main action of the sentence. Knowing that will take you most of the way, but there if one wishes to get specific, there is more to the story than that. Kamakawi (as with most languages) distinguishes three types of adverbs: adverbs of manner, adverbs of time, and adverbs of place. Each one works slightly differently, and will be explained below. In addition to that is a class of adverbs we'd classify as auxiliaries in English. For ease of reference, I'll call them auxiliary adverbs. They, too, will be explained below.

Manner Adverbs

Manner adverbs (or madverbs, as I call them) modify the way an action is carried out. For example, you can eat slowly, quickly, noisily, sloppily, neatly, quietly, frustratedly—pretty much anything'edly—in English. The same is true of Kamakawi. The way you form manner adverbs is you take anything that can be construed as an adjective and you put it at the end of the sentence. Here, for example, are some adjectives:

  • ane, "loud"
  • feta, "quiet"
  • iti, "fast"
  • iunu, "slow"
  • tiki, "red"

By putting these words unaltered sentence-finally, they function as adverbs, and act as modifiers to the action in question:

  • A kala lea ane, "He's talking loudly."
  • A olo laya ti'ia feta, "Your daughter's sleeping quietly."
  • Ka mawa ue iti, "We swam fast."
  • Ka olomo nea iunu, "She walked slowly."
  • Ka kama ei ie puka tiki, "I painted the door red."

Notice in the last sentence, the color the door is painted is treated as an adverb.

This is the ordinary way to use manner adverbs. You can front the adverbs, though, for rhetorical purposes (generally to emphasize the adverb, or to de-emphasize the rest of the sentence). In this case, you simply move the whole adverb out in front of the sentence. There is a significant intonation shift between the adverb and the rest of the sentence, though (the main stress [and all preceding syllables] of the fronted word is pronounced with a higher intonation than the rest of the sentence). Here's what those sentences would look like:

  • Ane, a kala lea, "He's talking loudly."
  • Feta, a olo laya ti'ia, "Your daughter's sleeping quietly."
  • Iti, ka mawa ue, "We swam fast."
  • Iunu, ka olomo nea, "She walked slowly."
  • Tiki, ka kama ei ie puka, "I painted the door red."

Notice that the adverb in the last sentence can be fronted, even though it generally wouldn't be in English (?"Red he painted the door"). This is probably because in English, it's not an adverb.

Time Adverbs

Adverbs of time describe exactly when an action took place (e.g., now, yesterday, tomorrow, forever...). Generally these adverbs start life as adverbs, and are simply used sentence-finally, and (rarely) elsewhere as adjectives. Here are some examples using some common time adverbs:

  • A hava ei a, "I'm eating now."
  • Ka keme ei i iumi kolata kipe, "I gathered some pineapples yesterday."
  • Ka noalale ei ie mini'i kiko, "I played the ukulele today."
  • Ka liki ue maleki!, "We will win tomorrow!"
  • A ele ei i ia ipuke, "I'll love you forever."

These adverbs can be fronted very easily, and without a significant intonation shift, as shown below:

  • A hava ei, "Now I'm eating."
  • Kipe ka keme ei i iumi kolata, "Yesterday I gathered some pineapples."
  • Kiko ka noalale ei ie mini'i, "Today I played the ukulele."
  • Maleki ka liki ue!, "Tomorrow we will win!"
  • Ipuke a ele ei i ia, "Forever I'll love you."

Two notes: (1) For the first sentence, recall that the switch/new subject marker is optional in the present, so the first sentence is technically ambiguous. Context, of course, will determine whether one means "now" or not, but if one wanted to be maximally unambiguous, one would say, "A a hava ei," which would be marked and very emphatic. (2) The last sentence sounds bizarre in English, I'll admit, but it's fine in Kamakawi.

There are a couple adverbs that have been adopted as tense markers in Kamakawi in recent history. They began life as ordinary adverbs, but now have two functions. One such adverb is a. It can be used as in the sentences above to mean "now", but it can also be used to form a kind of progressive aspect specifically. It's usually used to mean "in the middle of", or for maximal clarity when combining two clauses. Here are some examples:

  • A hava lea a, "He's eating" (not "He eats").
  • Ka hava lea a, "He was eating" (not "He ate").
  • Ka mawa ei a kape topu ia i'i, "I was swimming when you called me."

Another such adverb is male, which originally meant (and can still mean) "later on". It's been adopted as a future tense marker in Kamakawi. Here are some examples:

  • A hava ei male, "I'll eat later."
  • Male a hava ei, "Later I'll eat."
  • A male hava ei, "I will eat."
  • A male hava ei male, "I will eat later."
  • Male a male hava ei, "Later I will eat."

When used as a tense marker, male comes after the subject status marker; otherwise, it's used as an ordinary adverb.

In addition to that, these two adverbs can be combined to form a different type of tense/aspect marker: male, "to be about to." Here's how it works:

  • A male a aeiu ei ie pale, "I'm about to go into the house."
  • Ka male a aeiu ei ie pale kepe mata i ia, "I was about to go into the house when I saw you."

A counterpart to the examples above is shown below with ea, the Kamakawi word for "yes" which can be used in the following way:

  • Ka ea aeiu ei ie pale, "I just went into the house."
  • Ka ea aeiu ei ie pale kepe mata i ia, "I had just gone into the house when I saw you."

Them's the time adverbs. I rather like them. They make me smile.

Place Adverbs

Place or locational (or locative [hey, why not?]) adverbs describe the location in which (or to which, or from which) an action takes place. Most locational ideas are encoded by verbs or prepositions in Kamakawi, as shown below:

  • Ka aeiu nea ie pale, "She entered the house."
  • Ka olomo uei ale kane, "We walked along the path."
  • Ka peiu ei ie uotava, "I moved away from the volcano."
  • A tiku ei ave mopalelea, "I'm standing in front of a waterfall."
  • Ka olomo uei pokane oe paketepi, "We walked around the anthill."

Occasionally, though, there are adverbs which modify the direction of motion in someway that take no argument. For these, adverbs must be used. Some of these adverbs are exclusively (for the most part) adverbs, and can't be used as prepositions. Here are some examples:

  • Ka olomo uei ave, "We walked forwards."
  • Ka hava uei pe, "We ate there."
  • Kau mawa nawa poiu, "The fish swam away."
  • A male noala nea kana, "She will sing nearby."
  • A kane'u onou, "The path goes right."

Unlike the other adverbs, place adverbs do not easily front. It can be done, but there must be a very specific context to warrant it.

Auxiliary Adverbs

There are certain modals and auxiliaries in English that are rendered as adverbs in Kamakawi. As a result, one has to change one's thinking a bit when writing in Kamakawi. Let's start with a sentence such as the following:

  • A hava ei iu leka, "I'm eating potatoes."

We can now modify this sentence in any number of ways to produce several different types of potato-eating-involving sentences:

  • A hava ei iu leka a, "I am eating potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka tou, "I can eat potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka neika, "I eat potatoes all the time."
  • A hava ei iu leka ea, "I should eat potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka ua, "I might eat potatoes."

These modal adverbs can't be fronted, but they can be duplicated, for emphasis:

  • A hava ei iu leka a, "I am eating potatoes right now."
  • Tou a hava ei iu leka tou!, "I can eat potatoes!"
  • Neika a hava ei iu leka neika!, "I eat potatoes all the time!"
  • Ea a hava ei iu leka ea!, "I should eat potatoes!"
  • Ua a hava ei iu leka ua!, "I might eat potatoes!"

There are a couple auxiliaries that work in a similar way, but which are used so frequently that they've moved around a little. These two auxiliaries are oku, "no(t)", and ai, the question particle. Oku is pretty standard, and works just like a. It generally goes sentence-finally, but can also serve as the subject status marker of present tense sentences, as shown below:

  • A hava ei iu leka oku, "I'm not eating potatoes."
  • Oku hava ei iu leka, "I'm not eating potatoes."

This only works in the present tense. In the past tense, a subject-status marker is required, and oku can only occur sentence-initially with an oku that occurs sentence-finally (as with the emphatic examples above):

  • Oku hava ei iu leka oku!, "I'm not eating potatoes!"
  • Oku ka hava ei iu leka oku!, "I didn't eat potatoes!"

The other funny little particle that works bizarrely is ai, the question particle. In yes/no questions, it can be used sentence-finally or sentence-initially:

  • A hava ia iu leka ai?, "Do you eat potatoes?"
  • Ai hava ia iu leka?, "Do you eat potatoes?"
  • Ka hava ia iu leka ai?, "Did you eat potatoes?"
  • Ai ka hava ia iu leka?, "Did you eat potatoes?"

As with the other auxiliary adverbs, ai can be repeated for emphasis (though ai is used sentence-initially and sentence-finally so commonly that it doesn't do much to emphsize the question, in reality):

  • Ai hava ia iu leka ai?, "Do you eat potatoes?"
  • Ai ka hava ia iu leka ai?, "Did you eat potatoes?"

And you can even go overboard with it, and repeat it to emphasize all sorts of things:

  • Ai ka hava ai Akavo ai iu leka ai i Aya ai?!, "Did Akavo eat potatoes for Aya?!"

So the speaker is surprised that Akavo ate potatoes, of all things, and, furthermore, that he did it for Aya.

There aren't many auxiliary-like adverbs, but now you'll know what to do about them if you encounter them in the future. Be strong! Stand your ground! Don't give them an inch! That's the path to victory.

Phrasal Verbs

There's one left over matter I'd like to discuss related to adverbs. As adverbs are used with verbs rather commonly, it seems reasonable that some would become more closely associated with certain verbs than others, and that, indeed, combinations of verbs plus adverbs might be thought of as separate lexical entries, and take on their own meanings. This has happened (or happens?) quite a bit in Kamakawi. Indeed, the phenomenon is just about as widespread as it is in English, though the two work a bit differently (e.g., in English most phrasal verbs take a verb and a preposition, and that preposition can usually take an argument of some kind. In Kamakawi, adverbs can't take any arguments, as they're adverbs). As such, it's important to be able to recognize these guys, and know how they work.

Let's start with a fairly simple example. Take kava, the word for "fire" which also means "to cook". You can use it as an ordinary two-place predicate as shown below:

  • Ka kava ei i leka, "I cooked a potato."

By adding different adverbs, though, you can change the meaning of the verb in new and exciting ways. Take, for example, each of the following:

  • Ka kava ei ie leka kau, "I cooked the potato until it was done."
  • Ka kava ei ae, "I fired some bricks."
  • A kava ei kane, "I am a professional chef."

By adding kau, you simply modify the action of cooking (indicating that whatever you did, you did it until it was done), but adding ae and kane changes the very nature of the verb itself, producing an entirely new lexeme with an entirely different argument structure (e.g., neither kava...ae nor kava...kane take objects). This is how phrasal verbs work in Kamakawi, and they must simply be memorized, like any other lexeme. Unlike other adverbs, the adverbs in phrasal verbs cannot be fronted; they must occur sentence-finally. Here's a list of some common adverbs used to form phrasal verbs, along with their canonical meanings:

  • ae, "inside"
  • aeiu, "into"
  • ala, "at"
  • aeiu, "into"
  • ave, "forward(s)"
  • pe, "there"
  • po, "outside"
  • poiu, "away (from)"
  • kane, "path"
  • kau, "downward(s)"
  • ko, "here"
  • ika, "again"
  • fei, "upward(s)"
  • heva, "over"

And here are some examples of phrasal verbs along with the verbs they're derived from:

  • Ka mata lea i'i, "He saw me."
  • Ka mata lea i'i heva, "He sized me up."
  • Ka ma'a ei ie ima'a, "I learned the lesson."
  • Ka ma'a ei ie ikavakai fei, "I memorized the letter."
  • Ka ine ei i amo, "I did it."
  • Ka ine ei kau, "I made myself useful."
  • Ka lalau ei ie leya, "I threw the rock."
  • Ka lalau ei ie leya poiu, "I chucked the rock." (Augmentative.)
  • Ka hepale ei ie pale linea, "I took up residence at her house."
  • Ka hepale ei ie nea ae, "I put my faith in her."

Once you get used to them, phrasal verbs aren't bad. Indeed, they're just like any other verb—they simply are comprised of two discontinuous (or non-contiguous) parts.

Combining Various Adverbs

We've seen a lot of different types of adverbs, and I've shown how just about all of them show up in the same place: at the end of the sentence. So how does one combine them into a single sentence? The answer is there's not really a single rule, just some general principles to keep in mind.

Let's say you have a manner adverb (iti, "quickly"), a time adverb (kipe, "yesterday"), and a place adverb (pe, "there"), and the sentence Ka hava ei iu leka, "I ate the potatoes". Now let's say you wanted to say, "I ate the potatoes there quickly yesterday." You could potentially add these three adverbs in any way and get the correct meaning, but generally the place adverb shouldn't follow the time adverb. Here are the various combinations, with a comment about how well each works:

  1. Ka hava ei iu leka pe iti kipe. (Fine.)
  2. Ka hava ei iu leka iti pe kipe. (Still okay.)
  3. Ka hava ei iu leka pe kipe iti. (Fine.)
  4. Ka hava ei iu leka kipe pe iti. (Bizarre.)
  5. Ka hava ei iu leka iti kipe pe. (Extremely bizarre.)
  6. Ka hava ei iu leka kipe iti pe. (Bizarre.)

If I had to give a rank to the top three, I'd say it'd go b, a, c. However, the order can vary slightly depending on what you want to emphasize.

In situations where you have more than one type of adverb, it's best to move one (and only one) out to the front. When it comes to moving them out, there's an order for which moves out to the front the most easily, which is as follows: time > manner > place. The best way to word the sentence above would probably be:

  • Kipe ka hava ei iu leka pe iti.

Now let's say you wanted to throw in an auxiliary like oku, "not", and wanted to say, "I didn't eat the potatoes quickly there yesterday." You could do the following:

  • Ka hava ei iu leka pe iti kipe oku.

In fact, you could even do this:

  • Oku ka hava ei iu leka pe iti kipe oku.

But the best way to do it would probably be this:

  • Kipe, (oku) ka hava ei iu leka pe iti oku.

If you wanted to double the auxiliary, you'd put it where I have it in parentheses.

Now let's say you didn't just...uh...not eat the potatoes, but you didn't devour them. In that case, you'd use the phrasal verb hava...ae. Now what do you do? Well, you could do this:

  • Oku ka hava ei iu leka pe iti kipe ae oku.

This works, technically. (Notice that you put the adverb for the phrasal verb after the time, manner and place adverbs, but not after the auxiliary adverb.) The best thing to do, though, would be to do the following:

  • Kipe, (oku) ka hava ei iu leka pe iti ae oku.

Now let's say someone slipped you a mickey, and you have no idea whether or not you devoured the potatoes there yesterday (quickly or otherwise), but you're hoping you did. You could ask someone, couldn't you? Indeed you could. Let's see what that would like. In fact, let's go for the gusto and translate, "Did I not eat potatoes there quickly yesterday?!" Here it is:

  • Ai kipe, ai oku ka hava ai ei ai iu leka ai pe ai iti ae oku ai?!

It's absurd; it's ridiculous; but it works.

To summarize, here are some generalizations to keep in mind:

  1. Time adverbs should precede place adverbs.
  2. When fronting adverbs, the order of acceptability is: time > manner > place.
  3. When combining adverbs of different types, try to front one.
  4. The adverb that comes last is generally the most important.
  5. Adverbs from phrasal verbs come after time, place and manner adverbs, but before auxiliary adverbs.

As a final note, certain auxiliary adverbs can readily be combined:

  • A hava ei iu leka tou, "I can eat potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka tou oku, "I cannot eat potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka ea, "I should eat potatoes."
  • A hava ei iu leka ea oku, "I shouldn't eat potatoes."

Others cannot:

  • A hava ei iu leka tou, "I can eat potatoes."
  • *A hava ei iu leka tou ua, * "I might can eat potatoes."

If the latter is acceptable in your dialect of English, be careful when translating into Kamakawi.

Also, in cases where two auxiliary adverbs are used, generally you can emphasize the latter, and not so much the former:

  • A hava ei iu leka tou oku, "I cannot eat potatoes."
  • Oku a hava ei iu leka tou oku, "I cannot eat potatoes."
  • ??Tou a hava ei iu leka tou oku, ?? "I cannot eat potatoes."

It's not clear what the latter would mean in Kamakawi. To imply something like the English "I can not eat potatoes" (e.g., "there exists a situation that I have control over in which I do not eat potatoes", i.e., "I don't have to"), you would actually flip the order of the auxiliaries (so oku tou, not tou oku), and you could then double the latter, which is acceptable.

That's about all you should need to know about combining adverbs. If I've missed anything, give me a holler; I'll get right on it.


I've been avoiding writing this section, because I didn't know if I'd be able to say much more than "adjectives follow nouns" and "adverbs go last". Turns out there was quite a bit more to say than I had initially believed. Well, now it's up. Hurrah! Man, did this take a long time...

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