Archive for October, 2011


• Monday, October 31st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'fe'a'u'.


  • (v.) to be known

Fe’a’u amo!
“It is known!”

Notes: Okay, so I may have cheated with this word, but I wanted to give a shout out to Bryce Homick, who put together an authentic Halloween costume of Khal Drogo from scratch! It’s quite impressive! To take a look at this handiwork, check out today’s Dothraki post.

But regarding passives, there are some theories of syntax which hold that—necessarily!—passive versions of active verbs must be listed separately in the lexicon. That’s just crazy! The relationship between a passive and active version of a verb is so systematic, and so rarely produces actual different lexemes, that treating them like different lexemes is, to me, indicative of a failing in the theory, and not very illuminating about language. But that’s just what I think.


• Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'pea'.


  • (pron.) third person singular gender-neutral animate pronoun

Ai pea i hopoko oi eine ai?
“Are they a man or a woman?”

Notes: Kamakawi has a bunch of pronouns, and one of them is an animate gender-neutral third person pronoun. Basically, it’s used in the place where we would use singular “they” in English. You use it for a human whose gender you don’t know, or can’t identify right away—or for when gender isn’t important or isn’t stated. It’s better than using amo, because it’s animate (it refers to humans). I end up using it quite a bit, though I’m not sure how it would survive in a natural language.

The iku is a standard combination of pe and a, but it looks pretty cool (kind of edgy!). In fact, a number of the pronouns end up looking pretty good. I’m pleased enough with them.


• Saturday, October 29th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ue'.


  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence ue
  • (pron.) first person plural inclusive pronoun

Ue ie inotu.
“We are the world.”

Notes: Today’s iku completely mystifies me. It kind of looks like ua, but it shouldn’t be related to the word for “hill”. And yet, I think that’s what I was doing. I think by adding the line below, that kind of made it an e sound…somehow. Perplexing.

Anyway, Kamakawi, like many languages, distinguishes between a “we” that includes the addressee and a “we” that excludes the addressee. This is the one that includes the addressee—and today, that means you! :D So jump on in and enjoy the inclusivity!



• Friday, October 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'palei'.


  • (n.) home

Ipe i palei lapa li’i.
“This is my new home.”


Recently Erin slightly rearranged some items upstairs. She put all my stringed instruments together in one corner so they leaned against the wall. This make it much less convenient to get at them, but it made a wonderful new little cave for Keli, and it’s become her new favorite spot:

Keli in her hidey hole.

I realize it’s kind of hard to see because Keli is such a dark kitty, but if you can make out her eye, it’ll help you make out the rest of her face.

Today’s word (the diminutive of pale) is the word for the concept of “home”. It can also be used to mean “little house” or to refer to one’s own house (or hut), but it’s the idea of “home” that it encapsulates.


• Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ilo'.


  • (n.) oar (of a boat)

Au utu ilo o eneta.
“The oars of the ship are broken.”

Notes: Yesterday’s word was iloa, which is right next to today’s word alphabetically, so I thought I’d throw it up. Nothing special about oars, I suppose—or this iku. The iku comprises a pair of oars. For boats. And rowing. Hooray! :D

The iku itself is still pretty simple (just four strokes), so I figure it works out well enough. By the way, for those who have never tried to row a small boat or canoe: not as easy as it looks! I was surprised. Also, it looks completely automatic, the rowing motion. It’s not. That’s something you’ve got to work at. Good workout, though.


• Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'iloa'.


  • (n.) shoulder

Te kanekoi ie iloa o ei!
“There’s a cat on my shoulder!”

Notes: It’s not Caturday yet, but I’ve got a cat picture for you! A friend of mine just rescued a very young kitten, and I got to visit him yesterday. I present to you Chapps:

Chapps on my shoulder.

Isn’t he adorable?! I want to grab him and put him in a little hot dog bun! It’d be big enough to serve as his bed! :D

A truly adorable little kitten. He was malnourished and suffering from fleas, but my friend cleaned him up and gave him food, and he’s on the mend. I expect we’ll see more of him here at the Kamakawi Word of the Day as time goes by.

The iku for iloa comprises the top and left sides of ko, you may notice. That’s why this iku gets classified as an iku’ume, as opposed to an ikuiku (though its suitability is, of course, based on the fact that it kind of looks like a shoulder and arm dangling).


• Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'futa'.


  • (n.) knee, elbow
  • (n.) a hard knot on a tree or log

Au pama futa o ia ima!
“Your elbows are hard!”

Notes: In Kamakawi, there’s one word for either your elbow or your knee (or an elbow or knee). The two things are basically the same: It’s a hard piece of bone that sticks out at a limb joint. And if you get kneed or elbowed in the face, it doesn’t really matter which you got hit by: it hurts!

The iku is the reversed version of ti, and was chosen because the darn thing really looks like a knee or elbow (in fact, the original ti is a stylized version of an arm).


• Monday, October 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nu'e'.


  • (v.) to pick up (e.g. from the ground)

Ka nu’e pataki ie muve.
“The boy picked up the feather.”

Notes: There aren’t as many iku’ui, I know, but this is a nice example. The glyph is built off of the iku for nu. If it were an ikunoala, it would be either nuli or linu (neither of which exist in Kamakawi). Instead, the combination of the two in a traditional ikunoala way evokes the meaning of li, which is “to take hold of” or “to get”. Thus, the word kind of reads like, “The nu word that has to do with grabbing”.


• Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'teva'.


  • (n.) delta (of a river)

Palei li’i ie teva.
“My home is in the delta.”

Notes: This is a song by Muddy Waters I quite enjoy. You can hear it here.

The iku for teva does, indeed, look like a stylized delta, but it’s based on the iku for kalio, which means “sea anemone”. The iku for teva is simply a rotated version of kalio. This is the second iku we’ve seen that’s a modified version of kalio. The first one was mena, which is the word for “scallop”.


• Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ane'.Glyph of the word 'ane'.


  • (v.) to be really loud
  • (adj.) really loud

Aneane ipe lona ima!
“That’s way too loud!”

Notes: Some aspects of reduplication are predictable in Kamakawi. One of the common uses of reduplication (especially full reduplication) is intensification. A large number of stative predicates can be intensified by using full reduplication (in this case, ane).