Kamakawi Pronouns

Whoever told you that pronouns in Kamakawi were difficult is a two-bit, lying gator-snatcher, and you can tell 'em I said so!

Pronouns are, in fact, not difficult in Kamakawi. There are a lot of them, true, but they're all house-broken, and very mild, very sweet. Pretty soon you'll never know how you got along in life without them.

Basic Concepts

In Kamakawi, there are a few extra things to consider that one doesn't have to consider in English. First, Kamakawi makes a distinction, in the first person, between inclusive and exclusive states. In English, we almost get that with the word "us", but not quite. The concept behind it is that "we" is ambiguous: It can refer to the speaker and the addressee, or it can refer to the speaker and a group s/he associates him/herself with, and not the addressee. In English, there's no distinction; in Kamakawi, there is.

There is also a difference, in Kamakawi, between the dual, trial and plural. Thus, it becomes important not just whether there's one or more persons or things concerned, but one, two, three or more, and there are different proforms to correspond to each.

Finally, there are five different third person pronouns, and they each have their own special use.

These are just some things to keep in the back of your mind as you take a look at (are you adequately prepared for this?): The Grand Pronoun Chart!

The Grand Pronoun Chart

Person Singular Dual
First ei eya/eika taea/eino ue/uei
Second ia iaka iano uia
Third: Male lea leaka leano ulea
Third: Female nea neaka neano unea
Third: Neuter amo amoka amono uamo
Third: Non-Gender Specific pea peaka peano upea
Third: General kou kouka kouno ukou

Some Notes on the Grand Pronoun Chart

Many of the forms above are regular, but some are not. Such is life.

Now there are some important things to note about the third person pronouns. In general, the masculine, feminine and neuter forms are used just like they are in English. The other two, however, have special functions. First, the third person general pronoun. This is used where we use "one", or "you", or "they", or "s/he", or archaic "he", in sentences like, "One should be careful, lest one prick one's finger on a spinning wheel". Kou fills in for "one" in that sentence.

The other form is referred to as a non-gender specific pronoun. What this means is that if you wanted to refer to a baby before you knew what the sex was you'd use this pronoun, and not the neuter. Its usage, however, has blossomed beyond this point. Since this pronoun came to be thought of as a kind of neutral form, it came to be used as a second person pronoun in polite situations. This is now its most common use. The true second person pronoun is used amongst family and friends, and even among acquaintances in non-formal settings. This pronoun tends only to be used in formal settings. For example, if a son was going to a doctor who happened to be his mother, he'd address her as pea (but probably only if others were within earshot).

A Morphological Note

The only morphology that happens with these pronouns is that when the first person singular pronoun is preceded by the predicate marker i, it's contracted, the result being i'i. Here's an example:

  • E mata eine i'i! = "The woman sees me!"


There are a whole slew of genitive prefixes. Luckily, they all act the same way: They (all except for one) prefix directly to a pronoun (or any noun). This construct (I'll call it the possessor) is then preposed by the thing that's possessed. This forms a genitive/possessive construction. The various prefixes, however, have varied uses, verily. Here's a list of those uses:

  • po-

This is used to indicate professional relationships (you can remember it because it starts with the same letter as pea): bosses to employees, a customer to a seller, business partners. etc. It also is used to indicate one's relationship with a place (e.g., "I am from Hawai'i ala). It also works to handle phrases such as "with respect to", "regarding", "in the opinion of", etc. (e.g., "the report with respect to the trial"). It's also used as a quantifier, in sentences like "How many apples...?" ("Fatu ai poieletapana...?"). Finally, it's used at the beginning of every relative clause.

  • ti-

This prefix is restricted to attaching to authors/creators. So, for example, an author's book, a mother's child, a check writer's check, a hen's egg.

  • li-

This prefix is used when the possessed is something that is: (a) Inanimate, and (b) not a product of the possessor. So, for example, a candle-maker's book, or a boy's fork, or a girl's CD.

  • o

Remember: This is not a prefix: it's a preposition. So, this preposition indicates possession where the possessed is an integral part of the possessor. For example, a tree's leaves, a car's paint job, or a mirror's reflection. This preposition is also used along with ape ("one") to from count nouns out of mass nouns: teve "blood"; ape o teve "drop of blood".

  • oi-

This prefix is used when the possessor has a non-professional relationship with the possessed. So, for example: the woman's lover; the boy's pet doggy; the man's father.

The possessor, possessee and genitive, when combined, form a unit—a definite noun phrase—which takes the form X Y-Z, where X is the possessee, Y is the genitive, and Z is the possessor. To follow are examples of each of the five genitive markers (the possessor and genitive will be underlined):

  • A fe'a ei ie peti poipe peka. "I know that country's king."
  • Ai ka ilau ia ie ikavaka ti'i ai? "Have you read my book?"
  • A li ia ie la li'ia! "Get your spear!"
  • A iu ia ie puka o pale. "Go through the door of the house."
  • Ka kala lea ie fala oie lia. "He talked to the girl's father."


Reflexives are fairly simple. Whenever a reflexive is needed, you put the invariable pronoun ika in the appropriate object slot. Here are some examples:

  • A mata ei i ika! = "I see myself!"
  • A mata unea i ika. = "They see themselves."
  • A mata eine i ika. = "The woman sees herself."

Wrapping It On Up

That pretty much does it for pronouns. Notice: Pronouns never take a definite e or u. Other than that, that's it. Stay cool!

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