Archive for the ‘E’ Category


• Thursday, February 16th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'eta'.


  • (n.) fat (of an animal)
  • (v.) to have lots of fat
  • (adj.) having lots of fat, fatty (in the corporeal sense)

Oku meimei nukoa oku: eta kupae.
“There’s no meat left: only fat.”

Notes: Today’s word refers only to the substance “fat”; it’s not a descriptive adjective.

Describing this iku as an ikuleyaka is a bit convenient… It’s clear that the iku is based on the iku for nukoa, “meat”; what isn’t clear is what’s going on underneath. What it looks like to me is that the meat is roasting on a spit, and the fat is dripping off (hence the three lines, instead of the one). I’m not sure if this is what I intended, though, so calling it an ikuleyaka seems like a safe way to characterize the difference between it and nukoa.

Also, if you’d like to go back in time, now you can see how feta was built off of this iku. :D


• Friday, December 2nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'e'i'.


  • (n.) foot
  • (n.) bottom
  • (adv.) under, underneath
  • (prep.) below, under
  • (v.) to go under

Li’u po e’i!
“Death from below!”


Erin just uploaded a bunch of pictures to my computer from her phone, and I found this one quite amusing:

Keli below the laptop.

So sinister! My sneaky little feline.

Today’s iku is built off the iku for hi. The right and left edges are joined to the low point to make a “V” shape indicating the e. Kind of looks like a bat… Too bad I already have an iku for “bat” (see fine).


• Monday, November 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'epelupelu'.


  • (n.) hide (of an animal)

Fule to epelupelu ti’i.
“I need four hides.”

Notes: I’m going to be on autopilot during the Thanksgiving holiday, so forgive me for just putting up words without much explanation. Today’s word derives from…oh criminy. I could’ve sworn I’d already done epelu! And so the trend I started way back when continues…


• Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eyana'.


  • (v.) to be good
  • (adj.) good
  • (n.) goodness
  • (n.) good person

Huita’u eyana o lea ti neviki o lea neape.
“His goodness is exceeded only by his charity.”

Notes: Since I brought it up yesterday, I figured I should do an entry for eyana. Eyana is the basic word for “good”, insofar as something can be good. It is old, general and basic. Its iku is the “good” circle inside of a square, which is about as conceptual as these glyphs get. The idea is that the iku embodies the quality of goodness—or, perhaps, quality itself.

I really did think that I’d done this one ages ago, since it’s so basic. Oh well. Happy day, everyone!


• Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eko'.


  • (n.) scrimshaw
  • (v.) to scrimshaw
  • (adj.) scrimshawed (not as common as reduplicated form)

Ka eko lelitale ie temi o ielou.
“The sailor scrimshawed the whale bones.”

Notes: This may not be as familiar to some, scrimshaw. It’s the practice of carving writing or pictures into bones (or tusks or teeth). Often fancy scrimshanders will illuminate their drawings with ink, but such a thing was uncommon with the Kamakawi. They carved on bones only, and typically wrote, rather than drawing scenes.


• Friday, August 5th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'elenetia'.


A liki ei i iko elenetiá kau!
“I lay claim to this pillow!”


And look at this! The cat who doesn’t know the meaning of “lap”, and who is possessed of an irrational fear of soft and fluffy things, couchant upon…a pillow!

Keli lounging about on a pillow.

And we didn’t even put her there! She clambered on up of her own accord. Truly a startling development!

Today’s word has two different Zhyler sources. The word erenja (in the orthography, ereñja) in Zhyler means “bed”. Then there’s a separate word, erenša (ereñ,a), which means “pillow”. Both beds and pillows (and cushions) are imports to the Kamakawi islands, and so the words were borrowed. Additionally, since the words end up sounding the same in Kamakawi, a single word is used to cover both “bed” and “pillow”. Since that happened, the word is also used to cover all kinds of fluffy things you sit or lie upon—hence, the definition “cushion”. Elenetiá is used for all soft, stuffed or plush items, as well as beds, mattresses and pillows.

Since it’s come up, take a look at the word in Kamakawi above. In particular, take note of the last glyph. Then look again at the Zhyler form for “pillow”: ereñ,a. Notice the similarity?

In Zhyler, there are a number of noun classes which govern the entire lexicon. One of these noun classes is used for all manner of small manmade objects. The characteristic ending for this class is -ša (in the orthography, -,a).

Before the influx of Zhyler speakers to the islands, Kamakawi lacked an instrumental agentive suffix (something like the /-or/ in “radiator” or “flux capacitor”). With the advent of many new manmade products to the islands (and new processes), the Kamakawi fastened on the characteristic noun class ending as a kind of derivational suffix. And, noting the spellings, they treated the final two consonants as a kind of glyph, and created a glyph that stands for that ending (rendered -tiá in Kamakawi).

So, if we move ahead, say, 100 years, there are probably hundreds of words in Kamakawi that all end in -tiá, and all have the new “instrumental agent” iku on the end.

And that does it for the history lesson. (Or, actually, future lesson. Is there such a thing as futury…?)


• Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'emimu'.


  • (v.) to be born
  • (n.) birth
  • (adj.) newborn, having just or recently been born

Ka emimu nakanaka oi’i kiko io mou ulili.
“My little sister was born ten years ago today.”

Notes: Happy birthday to my little sister! :D

Unfortunately, as with last year, I’m not done with her children’s book. :(

Oh, and for those that don’t know, I write and illustrate a children’s book for her every year. The illustrating is what takes the most time (small sample of a quarter of one page below). It can take two months. I’ve finished one page. :oops:

Sample of Crazy Coyote Rescues the Sun.

Bleh. I’ll get it done, eventually…

Incidentally, this word was named after my little sister. Or, rather, not this word, but the word from which it derives, emi. See, my little sister’s middle name is Emi, and since the glyph show a little person being born, I thought emi would be an appropriate word for “person”. And so it was. (In fact, Kamakawi and my little sister were born around the same time, come to think of it…)

Anyway, here’s to her! Been glad knowing her these ten years. She’s shaping up to be a fine little human. :)


• Saturday, July 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eka'i'.


  • (n.) abalone

Nievu eika iu eka’i kau.
“We dive for abalone.”

Notes: When I was very young, my stepfather brought me an abalone shell, and I kept it as decoration in my room until I left for college. Since then, it’s been lost to the winds (or, more likely, the trash heap. Happened to a lot of my stuff without my knowledge).

You’ll recognize the iku for eu in this glyph. It’s kind of used as a leyaka to stand for a shellfish, and then ka is added as a phonological clue. Of course, it rather looks like the “bad” line determinative, so there are some superstitious folks that think it’s bad luck to disturb or harvest abalone for their meat or shells. It’s kind of a motif in Kamakawi lore (perhaps like black cats or broken mirrors in Western culture).


• Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eika'.


  • (pron.) first person dual exclusive pronoun

Kau oinemu eika.
“We two are married.”

Notes: Erin and I, that is. :)

And now I’ve done about…25% of the pronouns in Kamakawi. Hooray! :D

Though this may look like a foma, it’s technically two iku. Here, the ka is just written very close to the ei customarily. Perhaps it’s on its way to becoming a foma! One can always dream…


• Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'eiliki'iu'.


  • (v.) to travel south

Kiko eiliki’iu ei.
“Today I travel south.”

Notes: Indeed, today I’m heading down to the Bad Yellow: My old stomping grounds. I’ll have to take in one of my favorite restaurants (so many!), and salute the ol’ Lightbulb Factory.

The iu part of the iku above is written without the line because there’s really one thing it could be. With the directions, the appended triangle always refers to movement (rather than the number three), so no “line” determinative is needed (and it’s never written).