Archive for September, 2011


• Friday, September 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'no'a'.


  • (n.) animal rage (specifically, for an animal to be enraged)
  • (v.) for an animal to be enraged
  • (adj.) enraged (as applied to animals)
  • (v.) to be mad (extremely insulting when used with humans)

Male fukave ei i ia ti no’a o ei kau!
“I will destroy you with my animal rage!”


I may previously have mentioned Keli’s precious red string (both her enemy and her dearest friend), and may have even included a picture of it, but now I’ve got a video of Keli and her red string in action!

A video of Keli attacking her string.

And that’s not even her at her most vicious. She can go after that string with gusto!

I forget when I came up with today’s word, but it was specifically inspired by a dog whose hair is standing up on end. I remember my old dog Brandy was the most mild-mannered and lazy beagle the world had ever known. One day, though, I jumped over the fence to get into the house (forgot my key), and she was there snarling with the hair standing straight up on her back, and was so ferocious she didn’t even recognize me at first. Even when she did recognize me, it took her a full minute to calm back down and get back to normal. It’s quite a thing—and it’s visible—and that’s what gave me the idea for the word.


• Thursday, September 29th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nova'.


  • (n.) manta ray

Au mawa nova ika!
“And the rays swim again!”

Notes: I was planning to do another word for today’s word of the day, but I happen to be watching the Rays and Yankees, and have been lucky enough to bare witness to one of the most incredible comebacks in pre-post season history. Down 7-0 pretty much the entire game, the Rays scored 6 runs in the 8th, and then, with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the ninth, their season nearly over, their pinch hitter hit a home run to right to tie it. Just incredible. At the time of writing, the game is still going (it’s in the top of the tenth), so they may still lose it—and the Red Sox are still playing, so even if they lose, there’s still a slim chance they could get to the playoffs—but even so, what an incredible game! Baseball has done it again.

The Tampa Bay Rays used to be called the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Though a nova is not a devil ray, it’s in the ray family, so I figured it was close enough. Even though it’s curvy, I like this iku; kind of reminds me of the Queensrÿche logo.


• Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ove'.


  • (v.) to dissipate
  • (n.) dissipation
  • (adj.) dissipating

He kupiki ue ie ove o heva.
“Let’s wait for the fog to clear.”

Notes: Here’s an iku I thought worked out very well by happenstance. It’s a standard ikunoala (combination of o and fe), but it’s reminiscent of several similar words. Compare, for example, heva, which describes a wide area (e.g. one that something would disperse across) or is the word for “fog”. There’s also kawi, the word for “cloud”, which is a thing that may or may not disperse.

Another coincidence is the word ovethat in Dothraki, which means “to fly”. I don’t know if I ever gave much thought to the phonetic sequence [ove], but it seems to have cemented itself in my head as…airy, in some way. Actually what comes to mind specifically is the sound of a large bird’s wings flapping. Ove, ove ove… Is that just me? I think it might be…


• Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'olu'.


  • (adj.) wide
  • (v.) to be wide
  • (n.) width
  • (v.) to be open (said of mouths, eyes and similar things)
  • (adj.) open

Témepa, olu lau o lea.
“Temba, his arms wide.”

Notes: That quote is from the famous (or infamous) Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Darmok”, where the alien Tamarians have a language that they apparently refuse to use—or understand. A truly puzzling one to think about as a language enthusiast.

Today’s iku is, I think, the real base for fala, the Kamakawi word for “father”, as opposed to opu, the Kamakawi word for “flea”. This one’s a true ikunoala (a straightforward blend of o and lu), and fala is the same glyphed simply flipped around.

And, of course, it’d make sense (perhaps?) for there to be a word for “father” before a word for “flea”, so it seems likelier that the glyph for fala had a notch added to it to produce opu, rather than the notch having been removed from opu to produce fala.

So, yes. I’m glad to have that figured out. On to the next mystery…


• Monday, September 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'olomoko'.


  • (v.) to walk with (someone)
  • (n.) used to describe the settling of a disagreement (or used to mean “the settling of a disagreement”)

Kava olomoko i’i.
“Fire walk with me.”

Notes: Just acame across the coolest thing for Twin Peaks fans (and that should be all y’all, nahmean?). For those who weren’t following the internet back then, someone produced an NES-style side-scrolling game version of The Great Gatsby which is an absolute riot (I highly recommend it!). To me, that was the crowning achievement of faux-retro literary gaming, but today’s revelation is definitely worth of note.

An…entity referred to as jak locke has released (apparently awhile back, so excuse me if you’ve seen this before) an Atari-style game called Black Lodge 2600. You take control of Dale Cooper as he tries to escape the Black Lodge with his life and his identity. It’s everything you’d hope it should be. I haven’t gotten too far, but hopefully one day I’ll make it out.

I dusted off the ol’ Kamakawi applicative (derivation? inflection? a little from column A, a little from column B…?) to create today’s word. In Kamakawi, I have a very clear idea of how you’d use the nominal form, but I can’t seem to define it very well in English (possibly [or probably] because I have a massive headache). Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, though.


• Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oku'.Glyph of the word 'ka'.


  • (adv.) never, never again

A male hava ei i omi okuka.
“I will never eat a macadamia nut again.”

Notes: Going along with yesterday’s post, Kamakawi has two words for “never”. Yesterday’s “never” (okuoku) is used with things that one will never do, and has never done (or things that have never happened and will never happen). Okuka is used with things that one has done (or with things that have happened) and implies that one will never do it again.

This wasn’t a planned distinction of Kamakawi; it just kind of arose naturally based on the morphology. I think it’s a nice distinction to have, though. I’m not sure if it’d make enough sense to port into any of my other conlangs, but it’s nice to have here.


• Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oku'.Glyph of the word 'oku'.


  • (adv.) never, never ever

Awei! Male puke ei okuoku!
“Bah! I will never finish!”

Notes: And I really won’t, at this rate. I’ve got until midnight on October 1st to finish La Morte d’Arthur, and I don’t think I’m going to do it. I’d set myself a regimen of reading 40 pages a day, and that would’ve had me finishing it on September 30th, but I just can’t keep up with it. In order to catch up, I need to read about 70 pages before I go to sleep tonight—and tomorrow I’m going to be gone for a large portion of the day.

Nothing more to say but: Awei! :(


• Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uke'.Glyph of the word 'uke'.


  • (n.) rottenness, rot
  • (adj.) rotten

I ukeuke i ipe foye.
“There is a rottenness on that papaya.”


Today’s word has nothing to do with today’s cat picture (another from when Keli was sitting on top of the couch):

Keli reclining.

To complete the cycle of rottenness, we have ukeuke. On occasion, a stem by itself becomes a kind of verbal noun. Sometimes it takes the -kV suffix. In this case, a full reduplication was used for the nominal form, giving us “rottenness”.

Since the full reduplication is so often associated with adjectives, though, ukeuke can be used adjectivally to mean the same thing as uke.

And with that, I have finished! No more of rottenness, or rotting: Let us speak only of cats! Cats and meowing and murring! ~:D


• Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ukemu'.


  • (v.) to rot
  • (adj.) rotting

A uke ipe nukoa…
“That meat is rotting…”

Notes: In conjunction with yesterday’s post, we continue with our rotten theme. The verb uke is a stative verb which describes something which is rotten. In order to describe the process of rotting, one uses the inchoative suffix -mu to get ukemu, which is “to rot”.

When used adjectivally, this sets up a nice dichotomy. Specifically, one uses uke to describe something that is rotten (e.g. nukoa uke, “rotten meat”), and ukemu to describe something which is currently rotting (nukoa ukemu, “rotting”). In this way, the two words complement each other, and almost look like English participles.

I don’t know why I chose “rotting” to serve as the example for this discussion… I swear, it just happened; I didn’t actually intend for it.


• Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uke'.


  • (v.) to be rotten
  • (adj.) rotten

Ai uke ipe, ua…?
“Is that rotten, or…?”

Notes: You know that feeling when you’re looking at food and you can’t tell if it’s moldy or not? Tough experience, that one. For example, I had these leftover bratwursts, and they kind of looked like they might have the beginnings of mold growing on them, but it could just as easily have been congealed grease—I couldn’t tell! So…I went ahead and ate them. I’m not dead yet. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, oddly enough, uke is a good word to illustrate the occasional nature of certain Kamakawi lexemes. Often a lexeme can be used as a verb, adjective and noun, and often the meanings will be predictable. Sometimes the predictability breaks down, though it often does so in predictable ways.

In the case of uke, it’s used only as a verb or adjective; never as a noun. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming days.

The iku for uke is fairly straightforward: the base is u, and the little tooth from ke fits on top right in the middle. ALl the ke words have the little tooth kind of glommed on somewhere where it seems to fit. This one always reminded me of a bird in a nest.