Glyph of the word 'i'.


  • (let.) name of the Zhyler alphabet letter i
  • (syl.) glyph for the syllable i in the Kamakawi syllabary
  • (prep.) for (a kind of dative preposition used with certain verbs, but commonly a benefactive, or fills in for miscellaneous locative prepositions)

He noala ei i inoala i ia…
“Let me sing a song for you…”

Notes: Just to help your day along… That’s a Tim Buckley song from his album Happy Sad (and if you look at the cover of that album, you’ll know what my cousin looks like. I swear, the two are identical twins…).

Today’s syllabic glyph is i—not to be confused with i, which is different. Both of them appear in the example above. In that sentence, the first i is i: the object marker. The second i is our i here, and in this sentence, it functions as a benefactive. Things are a lot easier if you use the romanization, but, well, that’s just not how you do it.

Anyway, here’s a picture of me saying the vowel i:

Me saying eeeee.

Looking at the iku above, you may notice that it looks like an eye (side view). In my mind, there’s a question about where exactly this iku came from. It could be that if you trace the lips, it kind of looks like an eye, as shown below:

Me saying eeeee with an eye drawn over it.

Or it could be the mouth from a side view, with a line indicating that the lower jaw raises. Another idea is that it’s “looking” at its object, but that would only make sense if it were the object marker, and it isn’t… I can’t rule out, though, that’s it’s a front view of half of the mouth (kind of?).

So, there it is. A bit of a conundrum, but what isn’t these days?

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