Part 2: Ai a ipe i uku ai? What's that?

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2.1: "To Be", or No "To Be"? No "To Be"

That is the answer. Like many languages unlike English (but certainly not all of them), there is no verb that can be translated as "to be". All your old favorites such as "is" and "was" and even "are" are going to have to be tossed aside in your learning of Kamakawi. Such is the way it is with life: All things eventually pass. After finishing with this thorough grammar, you will learn never to use the verb "to be" again in any language you speak. Okay, maybe not all of them. But at least this one. In fact, now that I think about it, definitely this one. Probably every other language you speak, too. Anyway, the sooner you get used to the idea, the sooner you'll be used to it—and you can quote me on that.

2.2: Who or What Is That, Mommy?

To begin with, we shall learn the simple, declarative, present tense, "this is what that is" sentence. But even before that, we're going to learn two pronouns: iko and ipe. These two friendly fellows will be taking care of this and that. To introduce you properly <ahem>, Iko?

Iko: Yes?

David: This is your reader, <insert your name>.

Iko: Well, hello, <insert your name again>! I'm very glad to meet you. I can be translated as "this". That is my purpose in life: "this". Any time you want to refer to something as "this", you can call me up, and I'll come and sit in front of that thing which you wish to refer to as "this". Again, I'm very glad to have met you.

David: Why, thank you, Iko; that was very gracious.

Iko: You're welcome!

David: And now, to introduce you to...hey, where's Ipe?

Ipe: <enters, smoking and coughing> Hold your horses! <coughs>

David: <sighs> Ipe, have you been smoking again?

Ipe: Boy, howdy! <coughs> And don't forget the alcohol!

David: Yes, the... Anyway, Ipe, I want to introduce you to our new friend, <yet again, insert your name—no, I won't do it for you>.

Ipe: Hiya! <coughs; clears throat; expectorates> Lord a'mercy! I just can't seem to get enough of that nicotine and alcohol. <laughs>

Iko: <whispers to David> I really think you shouldn't have invited him; he's really been letting himself go...

Ipe: I heard that! I'm drunk, not deaf! <beat> So, listen, <your name again>. I may be old and reeking of alcohol and tobacco, but I can still work for you. I am Ipe. Any time you want to refer to something as "that", you call me, and I'll come and jump right in front of that "that". Don't you worry! The phone may ring a couple of times, and you may have to leave a message, 'cause I'll be in the tub. But I'll get there, don't you worry! Lickity s...uh...finish my sentence, Iko?

Iko: <groans; mutters under breath> He hava'u lea ti u keva miwimi...

David: Whoa, hold on there! <your name> hasn't even learned the passive yet, let alone how to insult someone in the most noncommittal, nonconfrontational way possible!

Iko: Hey!

David: I speak only the truth; I know no other.

Ipe: Just last week you told me I didn't exist! But if that's true, why did I waltz right into the GAP downtown and buy a shirt, huh? The salesclerk even smiled at me! You don't smile at nothing buying a shirt!

David: Stuff and nonsense! I would.

Iko: Yes, you would.

David: Okay, now you're just getting nasty, so I'm going to stop typing everything you say. <waits> Ha! See? Now don't you wish you'd learned how to type? And read?

Anyway, the words "iko" and "ipe" are used in much the same way as "this" and "that" in English. They precede a noun or noun phrase in order to specify it. All such specifiers precede the noun phrase, but this shall come later. First, let's get a handle on these two rascals:

Iko nawa i nawanaka. This fish is a goldfish.

Ipe nawa i nawanaka. That fish is a goldfish.

And here we have two goldfish—I mean, our sentence. To take the first sentence, "iko" means "this", "nawa" means "fish", and "nawanaka" means "goldfish". Kamakawi doesn't have a word for "a(n)", so you can assume that it's implied. Now, onto a more—

Questioner 1: Hey, wait a minute!

David: Uh...yes?

Questioner 1: You can't fool me! That "i" there looks an awful like "is" to me. But you just got through saying there was no such word! What're you tryin' to pull?!

David: Okay... I was hoping to avoid this, but I guess avoiding things isn't the best way to explain them. That "i", in essence, kind of performs the function of a verb "to be" in this type of sentence. But—

Questioner 1: Ha! I knew it! You're just like all the rest of them...

While I don't know to whom you refer, I'll have to disagree. Now, what I was saying was that while this "i" does appear to take the form of "to be" in this sentence, mistaking it for the verb "to be" will prove harmful in the future. What this "i" thing is is a predicate marker. What it does is indicates that the subject of the sentence is gone, and that the rest of the sentence will now continue. As such, in more complex sentences, the "i" won't be doing anything that looks like the verb "to be" at all—more like the preposition "to" in English. But forget I said that. Let's keep to the task at hand. Now, say you don't want to refer to something as either "this" or "that" (don't worry; I won't tell them that they're not needed at some times. It'll be our little secret). Not a problem. Here's the way to write a sentence which makes no sense:

Nawa i nawanaka. A fish is a goldfish.

As I said, this fish makes—excuse me, this sentence makes no sense. What might make sense is the following:

E nawa i nawanaka. The fish is a goldfish.

And now you've been introduced to "e": The word for "the". It does some other stuff, too, but let's keep it at "the" for the time being. Now, if you think about the sentence in English, you can probably imagine that you wouldn't say it unless you already had some sort of fish in mind. This reaction is perfectly natural, and I encourage it wholeheartedly. Because that is, in fact, what is really happening. That word "the" let's you know what already has been discussed. For instance, when a child points to a police officer, and asks, "What's that, Mommy?", Mommy doesn't say "That's the man who sold his soul to oppress the weak and uphold the socioeconomic stratification that's dragging our society down", does she? No, no. She says, "That's a man who sold his soul to oppress the weak and uphold the socioeconomic stratification that's dragging our society down". If she'd said "the", the child might be prompted to ask, "What man who sold his soul to oppress the weak and uphold the socioeconomic stratification that's dragging our society down?", as if s/he was supposed to know beforehand who this entity was. So, you might expect that the above reply would be elicited from someone who asked, "What kind of fish is that over there?" or something similar. Though, of course, you wouldn't expect them to reply, "The fish is a goldfish", would you? No. Probably something more along the lines of...

Ipe i nawanaka. That's a goldfish.

There we are. Now you can see how "that" can stand in place for "that x", and the same is true for "iko". But that's not all. What if you were asking about more than one goldfish? Let's go back to the above form, just for funsies:

U nawa iu nawanaka.

Now you have "The fish are goldfish". "U" is the plural, definite article. As you can see, when it immediately follows "i", it attaches to it, to form the contraction "iu". The same thing happens with "e", such that:

Ipe ie nawa.

"That's the fish." (Imagine a police lineup. Ten hop out from the left. A man, sweating profusely and pulling at his collar, clears his throat and points: "Yes, officer, that's him; that's the fish". See? Already you're learning something that you can use in the real world!) When indicating the plural, you must always include the plural pronoun:

Ipe iu nawa. Those are fish.

As you might guess, the above sentence is ambiguous. It could be "Those are fish" in general, or it could be "Those are the fish" which we talked about previously. In a later chapter, you will learn how to distinguish between the two. For now, though, you must bask in the ambiguity. Ahhh, the grayness of our wonderful world!

Lastly, how about that example I said was odd? "A fish is a goldfish". It is odd. But what if you wanted to say "Fish are fighters" and make a general statement? Now that odd construction comes into play:

Nawa iu polite. Fish are fighters.

(Remember, this is Kamakawi, not English. "Polite" is pronounced poh-LEE-tay, NOT puh-LIGHT. It is not my intention to try to instill in you the idea that fighting is polite—it's quite the opposite. I can assure you, this crossover is totally accidental.) As you can see, the general idea of "fish" takes no article. As such, the plurality is taken care of by the qualifier "u".

One thing you will notice is that I've mentioned no adjectives. Adjectives are dealt with differently in Kamakawi. I won't tell you how (yet), but suffice it to say that you couldn't say *E Nawa i tikili, where "tikili" is the word for "orange", and that asterisk means "you can't say this". This type of construction doesn't fly. In fact, that sentence would translate, roughly, as "The fish is happiness". Maybe you'll want to say this some time in the future in your private life, but I don't want to give you the illusion that you'll be calling anything orange, because you won't be.

2.3: Who or What Isn't That, Mommy?

Now, the last thing I'll be covering is simple negation. Essentially, you just take all the examples I've already given you and attach "oku" to the end of "i". So:

Iko nawa ioku hopoko. This fish isn't a man.

Ipe ioku lelea. That's not water.

That should be pretty straightforward. Oh, and the same contraction applies with the definite articles. So, you can have "iokue" for "not the" (singular), and "ioku'u" for "not the" (plural). The reason for the glottal stop is that you can't have two identical vowels in a row in Kamakawi—such couplings are always broken up with a glottal stop.

2.4: Reach Down and Touch Those Toes!

Now for some wonderful exercises. After the exercises will appear a vocabulary list. Utilize this for words you don't know.

Translate from Kamakawi to English:

  1. Iko nawa i polite.
  2. Ipe eine i newelimile.
  3. Ipe hopoko i miwimi.
  4. Iko pataki ioku eliti.
  5. Ipe iu pake.
  6. Nawa ioku tiviki.
  7. Tova i hava.
  8. Ipe hopoko ioku nelimile.
  9. Iko iokue peka.
  10. Ipe i tiki.

Translate from English to Kamakawi:

  1. These men are doctors.
  2. This woman isn't a fish.
  3. This fish isn't a mother.
  4. Mountains aren't rivers.
  5. The river is water.
  6. A man is a human.
  7. This person isn't a bird.
  8. This child is an animal.
  9. These people aren't lunatics.
  10. These fish aren't goldfish.

2.5: Vocabulary—Today!

Note: Vocabulary will always be given from Kamakawi to English, and in the alphabetical order of Kamakawi. Also, only the definition which is pertinent to the specific section in particular will be given. Similar words may be repeated again later on with new definitions. Each word contains multitudes! Well, each, but not every, if you follow.

pataki (n.) boy
pake (n.) mountain
peka (n.) country, nation
polite (n.) fighter

tiki (n.) lava
tikili (n.) happiness
tiviki (n.) mouse
tova (n.) mushroom

kanaka (n.) animal
keva (n.) shark

e (art.) the (singular)
emi (n.) person, human
eine (n.) woman
eliti (n.) doctor

mala (n.) mother
mali (n.) child
miwimi (n.) lunatic

nawa (n.) fish
nawanaka (n.) goldfish
nelimile (n.) martyr
newelimile (n.) actor, actress

i (mark.) predicate marker
ipe (adj./pron.) that, that thing/person
iko (adj./pron.) this, this thing/person
ie (contr.) contraction of i and e
ioku (contr.) contraction of i and oku (negative predicate marker)
iokue (contr.) contraction of ioku and e
ioku'u (contr.) contraction of ioku and u
iu (contr.) contraction of i and u

lelea (n.) water

oku (neg.) negative suffix, attaches to i. Also the word for "no"

fuila (n.) bird

u (art.) the (plural)

ha (n.) river
hava (n.) food
hopoko (n.) man

Hop to Part 3!

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