Archive for September, 2010


• Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'funa'.


  • (n.) skipjack tuna
  • (n.) idiot

Ei i funa.
“I am an idiot.”

Notes: I live in a condo complex where a permit is required for overnight parking. I have a permit, of course, as I am a residence. The past few days, it’s been blazing hot in Southern California (over 110° at midday), and so when I went to the gym, I opened up all the windows in my car to get a breeze going. Since the permit is flimsy and attaches to the rearview mirror, I thought it prudent to put the permit in my glove compartment so it wouldn’t blow away.

Then I forgot to put it back.

I realized this today when I went out to my car to go to my parents’ house for my stepdad’s birthday. My first thought was, “Oh, geez, the car didn’t get stolen again, did it?” Then the obvious answer dawned on me, and I was ashamed.

Unlike the first time my car was towed (parking in LA is a violent pastime), this time it’ll cost, at the most, $150. That’ll about halve my reserves, but at least I can afford it.

The origin of this word comes from the fact that the skipjack tuna swims in great big schools right up near the surface of the water where even the laziest shark can snap them up. Perhaps they think the odds are on their side (“If there are three hundred of us, what are the odds that hammerhead will get me?!”), but in the long run, they probably get eaten. They’re large, foolish, and yet remarkably fertile fish: the rabbits of the sea, but far more foolish, and not nearly as cuddly.

So, yeah. I’m a skipjack.


• Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'oea'.


  • (v.) to flow (as of lava or water)
  • (n.) flow
  • (adj.) flowing

Oku fe’a ei. Amo i lelea oea oi…uku…
“I don’t know. It’s flowing water, with…a thing…”

Notes: The picture that prompted the above sentence, and my Polynesian investigation, is shown below:

A fountain amid succulents.

There is no Kamakawi word for “fountain”, and that got me wondering: Did the Hawaiians have fountains? All signs point to “no”. But many, many ancient peoples did (just consider our word “fountain”, which derives from the Latin, where it meant “fountain” [time didn’t really touch this one]). Wikipedia suggests that what a civilization needed for a fountain was a source of fresh water that was above ground level. On the Hawaiian islands, though, the only source of fresh water was above ground level. So what gives?

It would seem that in addition to a source of water above ground level, a civilization would also need some sort of piping or conduit technology, whether it be made of wood, metal or stone. That’s something I’m not sure the ancient Hawaiians had (no need), and something that the Kamakawi most certainly didn’t have. The islands aren’t large, and it’s easy to get from a fresh water source back to the village. In a small place, such piping would seem decadent and unnecessary—like an Electoral College (can you imagine!).

So there’s no word for “fountain” in Kamakawi—or at least not yet. Certainly there will be one in Zhyler (in fact, there probably is, but I’m too lazy to check right now), and it’ll be borrowed into Kamakawi, by and by. All in good time…


• Tuesday, September 28th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'lututa'.


A meya teli o lututá oi tieyalele.
“The desert flower blooms in the summer.”

Notes: Here’s a good looking cactus blossom:

A cactus blossom.

Today’s word comes from the Zhyler word for desert, rÿzða. Though the speakers of Zhyler currently live on a great big island, they used to live on the mainland, and they carried with them a lot of words for concepts utterly foreign to the Kamakawi, one of them being a desert.

To the Kamakawi, a desert seems like just about the most awful place on the face of the earth. They conceive of it as an endless beach with no ocean. In Kamakawi lore, if one finds oneself in this awful place, one can hear (and, perhaps, even see) the waves off in the distance, but no matter how far one goes, one can never reach them.


• Monday, September 27th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ni'.Glyph of the word 'li'.


  • (n.) cultivated field

Iape! E ale e pupu ae nili.
“You there! Go work in the field.”

Notes: I mean, what else do you do in a field?

A cultivated field, anyway.

I’ve never been told to go work in a field. I suppose that’s a plus. I can’t imagine it would be pleasant. Lot of bending over. They should raise the soil up to waist level. ;)


• Sunday, September 26th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'iko'.


  • (dem.) this
  • (pron.) this one, this thing

A eli ei i iko kaneko!
“I love this cat!”

Notes: Keli is being really cute right now. I wonder what she’d look like in a football helmet…

Last week I said I needed a 5-0 week to get back on track, and, wouldn’t you know it, that’s just what I got. Here’s a summary:

Week 2

  • Green Bay 48 Buffalo 12
  • Denver 24 Seattle 21
  • New York Jets 28 New England 27
  • Indianapolis 37 New York Giants 23
  • New Orleans 31 San Francisco 22

That brings me up to 7-3 overall. That’s more like it! Here are my predictions for this week (should be a tough one):

Week 3

  • New England 35 Buffalo 16
  • New Orleans 29 Atlanta 19
  • Houston 37 Dallas 33
  • New York Jets 21 Miami 17
  • Green Bay 27 Chicago 24

As for today’s word, I couldn’t post about Ipe without including his good friend Iko! She’s more level-headed and practical, but she’s got a wild and violent temper, if angered. Don’t rouse her!

Oh, and a stray note: After more than a hundred posts with iku with a white background, I’ve switched to a transparent background. I know why I didn’t do it before (the program I used was terrible at doing transparency), but I’ve got a new one (Photoshop Elements) that’s much, much better. So…hooray! :D


• Saturday, September 25th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ipe'.


  • (dem.) that
  • (art.) such, so
  • (pron.) that one, that thing
  • (art.) what a(n) x! (emphatic)

A kopuku ipe teli’ineyu ti’i!
“That cactus is waving at me!”

Notes: I figure I’ve been using the word ipe enough that I might as well make it a word of the day entry. Here’s the picture that phrase describes:

A cactus waving at me.

Check out that cactus! It’s waving at me! And it has polydactyly, just like me! :D

This another picture from the Huntington. We started at the succulent garden and moved on, so we’ll be seeing lots of cacti in the days to come.

Ipe is actually a compound of i and pe. In the TY exercises, he’s anthropomorphized as an absent-minded drunk. Such is the way of things.


• Friday, September 24th, 2010

Glyph of the word 'eka'.


  • (n.) hat

Mata ia ie eka li’i!
“Look at my hat!”

Notes: It’s the best day of the catting week. That’s right: IT’S CATURDAY! HAPPY CATURDAY! :D

For today’s word, I’ve got the best of something like forty pictures I took a few weeks back:

Keli wearing a hat.

I wanted a better picture, but that was the best I could get. She didn’t necessarily hate the hat, but she wouldn’t sit still with it atop her head. She kept trying to get out from under it. Even so, I’m happy with this picture.

This iku, you’ll notice, is actually the glyph for te, but with a face inside. Thus, it becomes a picture of a person wearing a hat.

What Kamakawi hats look like is actually pretty close to the hat Keli is wearing in the picture, only they’re much, much bigger. They’re frayed at the edges, and kind of wear down over time. If I could make hats, I’d make one and take a picture of it—and might even wear it around—but hat makery, I’m afraid, is something that’s far beyond me.


• Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'fuila'.


  • (n.) bird
  • (adj.) flying
  • (v.) to fly

Takemi takeke fuila.
“Free as a bird.”

Notes: The word for “bird” in Kamakawi is a bit like the word for “fly” (the insect) in English—the only difference is the designation. I don’t know how the fly (the insect) got the honor of being the zero-derived nominal form of the verb “to fly”. It’s crazy! Buzzy little things, flittin’ around this way and that… That honor belongs to the mighty bird! And so it is in Kamakawi.

If the stray stroke at the bottom of the iku for fuila is a determinative, it’s the only one that occurs in Kamakawi. It’s like a little swoosh of air. It does the job.


• Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Glyph of the word 'teli'ineyu'.


  • (n.) cactus

A liki ono i leveleve… A fule teli’ineyu ti’i…
“My head hurts… I need a cactus…”

Notes: I’m not a person who gets headaches, but man… My head hurts right now. I hate it. Just want to go to bed. And the last thing I want to do right now is think up some sentence that uses the word “cactus”. I mean, I can always say “I saw a cactus”, because I did—here’s the proof:

A cactus with a flower.

But I say that a bunch.

Gorgeous cacti, though, at the Huntington. Never thought a cactus would take my breath away. Got some wonderful specimens there.

Those who remember teli will realize that today’s word translates literally as “spiny flower”. Most of the time when one pictures cacti, the flowers are left out of the mental image, but most cacti have wonderful blossoms. Really worth looking out for.

Uggghhh… Head… Must be the winds; they do it to me every time.


• Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

Glyph of the word 'ineyu'.


  • (n.) sea urchin spine
  • (adj.) spiny, spiky
  • (v.) to be spiny, to be spiky, to be covered in sharp spines

Ae ineyu ie e’i o ei.
“There’s a spine in my foot.”

Notes: If I may follow up on yesterday’s post, the trick is not to actually walk on the ocean floor, if you can avoid it. If you’re up to the point where you can tread a little bit, you should try to stay off the ocean floor, putting down a foot here and there gingerly to make sure you’re not stepping on any of the many little ocean critters that populate our shores.

So many things to do today, and so little day left… I best be off.