Archive for the ‘H’ Category


• Sunday, February 19th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'holi'.


  • (n.) sugar cane

A katava ia takeke holi!
“You’re as tall as a sugar cane!”

Notes: Today’s word is also a fairly simple ikunoala composed of ho with the leg forming the little hand of li. It doesn’t look anything like a sugar cane, though. Kind of looks like a dude with a hand growing out of his foot. Heh, heh…


• Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hu'e'.


  • (n.) geranium

Au nina hu’e li’i.
“My geraniums smell lovely.”

Notes: Kind of a…bizarre sentence…

I do like geraniums. The problem is I don’t like the word “geranium” in English (sounds ugly to me). I actually don’t much care for the word in Kamakawi, either. Huh. Really, though, the flowers aren’t all that bad. I mean, they’re all right. They’re flowery; have a pleasant smell. I’d like to have geraniums, I think. I just wouldn’t refer to them by name. I’d call them “those flowers out front”, or something similar.


• Thursday, February 9th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hawe'.


  • (n.) wishbone

Male i imi i ape o eya: hawe.
“There’ll be good luck for one of us: wishbone.”

Notes: I intended to link to the song I’m quoting above (“Wishbone” by Eleni Mandell), but it’s not on YouTube. This is insane. Eleni Mandell is probably the best thing to happen to LA music since Guns N’ Roses (not that the two sound anything alike), and no one seems to have noticed. Ticks me right off.

So forget today’s iku (which may look familiar): I command you to go to listen to some Eleni Mandell. One of my favorite songs from her early stuff is up (“Meant to Be in Love”), in addition to one of the standouts from my favorite album of hers, Snakebite. Many will have heard her cover of “I Love Paris” that was featured on a Carl’s Jr. commercial, but this one should have been equally as popular (from the same era). From her most recent album, this song is my absolute favorite—and easily one of the best she’s ever done.

I swear. People be crazy sometimes.


• Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hoku'.


  • (n.) elephant

Fumi ipe nili ti hoku.
“That field is good for elephants.”

Notes: You know what? I just decided one day that the Kamakawi Islands would have elephants. Native elephant populations, at that. How would a series of tiny islands support a population of elephants (even little miniature elephants, as the Kamakawi elephants are)? I have no idea. And despite all, I don’t care. I liked the idea of elephants wandering through the jungles and even splashing around in the waves on the beaches. I like to picture Kamakawi children riding on little baby elephants. It’d be adorable. And that was justification enough, way back when I came up with the Kamakawi elephant. And then I came up with this kickass iku to go with it.

So, there you have it. Elephants that exist on tiny little islands. Many elephants. Trumpeting and crashing and splashing about. Miniature elephants, by our standards (perhaps no bigger than a horse, at the biggest). So it was, and so it shall be. Forever.

The end.

Edit: As you may have read in my last post, the Kamakawi Word of the Day took a one-day hiatus to protest SOPA. Unfortunately, if you tuned in during the first hour or so of the 24 hours of the 18th, you wouldn’t have noticed anything different, since I made a counting error (something I do often). Eh. It’s the thought that counts…?


• Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hule'.


  • (n.) o’opu naniha

Iwe levea ti hule.
“The water is full of o’opu naniha.”

Notes: The o’opu naniha is a very small little fish endemic to Hawai‘i, and it has a little cousin that swims the waters of the Kamakawi Islands. They’re nice fish, as far as little fish go.

Believe it or not, this iku is an ikunoala: a kind of blend of hu and le. Unlike most ikunoala, it’s not really built off any one iku. Instead, the two just kind of morphed together over the years. And now we have what we have here.

It seems to me that this would be a great, iconic name for a baseball team. You know how some baseball teams end up with these names that don’t seem fierce at all (the Cubs, the Mudhens, etc.)? I can see a team called the Hule in the Kamakawi baseball league. (Of course, they probably wouldn’t have a league of their own. They’d probably be a part of a main land minor league and have an irregular schedule due to the distance. But that’s another story…)

Update: No Kamakawi Word of the Day tomorrow—but this time not because I’m lazy! Tomorrow I’ll be going off the internet in protest of SOPA. Hope your Wednesday is a happy one.

Edit: LOL Isn’t that just like me? I scheduled the post specifically so it would avoid the whole SOPA protest. I kept on thinking, “Okay, schedule it for the next day”, and so I moved it one day ahead. Unfortunately, the day I moved it ahead of was…yesterday, the 17th (which, at the time, was “today”). So…yeah. Oops!


• Monday, January 16th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hupe'.


  • (n.) marine toad
  • (n.) any kind of toad

Fuleke ia ti’i, he hupe.
“I miss you, toad.”

Notes: The toad is a peculiar animal. They’ve always looked to me like little rocks. When I was in kindergarten, I tried to capture and domesticate a toad. It didn’t go well. I wasn’t sure what he ate, so I gave him little pieces of hot dog. I’m not sure if he knew they were supposed to be food. The toad died in a relatively short amount of time. I feel pretty awful about now. I didn’t know what I was doing, but, crucially, didn’t know that I didn’t know. I assumed I could take care of it. I believe television led me to believe this. Nevertheless, I shall bear the terrible burden for the rest of my days. I apologize, Mr. Toad (for that was, indeed, the name that I gave him). I did wrong by you, but I never made the same mistake again, and have done what little I could to ensure that the mistake isn’t replicated by others (and that includes this blog post). It’s nice to know that your troubles are at an end.


• Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'huva'.


  • (v.) to blow out air

Kavakava novu! A huva ia i amo.
“The soup is hot! Blow on it.”

Notes: Huva is one of those words that arose mainly because of the shape I could make with the iku. It’s built off of hu, of course, and then by adding the little circle for the mouth, it looks like a face blowing out air. And voilà!

I think this is a useful word. It’d be perfect for modern birthdays. Although it occurred to me that I’m not sure if the Kamakawi would have candles—or if they did, if the concept would be borrowed from Zhyler. Apparently the oldest candles were made out of whale fat, and while the Kamakawi have plenty of whales about, they hold the whale in high esteem (indeed: it is one of the three sacred animals. It occurs to me I should add a tag for that and link to it here… […and done!]), so I’m not sure if they would harvest them… Certainly they would have at one point in time, but I’m not sure if they would continue to (it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to without coming to a conclusion).

Anyway, this is a true iku’ui. This is what I meant by that term: a syllabic glyph with an ideographic element to it, combined in a single iku.


• Saturday, January 14th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hiku'.


  • (n.) pile, heap, mound

Oku olomo i ipe hiku o temi.
“Don’t walk on that pile of bones.”

Notes: This is the word that gave birth to the term hikuiku, which describes a word comprising two or more iku. It just means “pile” in the sense of…”pile”. Nothing very fancy about it (well, unless it’s a pile of something valuable, like gold bars). Unlike the English word “pile”, it can also be used with mass nouns, so you can say hiku o ta, “a pile of sand”.

Actually, I’m having a syntax class moment… Is “pile of sand” infelicitous in English? I know “pile of ice cream” is. Oh dang. Or is it…?! Wow. My English grammar thing has just gone haywire. Hooray! :D


• Tuesday, January 3rd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'huya'.


  • (v.) to yell (at), to scold
  • (n.) yelling

Huya ia i’i oku, he mai!
“Don’t yell at me, mom!”

Notes: Today’s iku is a true ikunoala (a combination of hu and ia), but because of the look of it, it tends to be used when a parent is scolding a child—the reason being that it looks like the hu glyph is swallowing up a second person pronoun. It also just means “to yell” in a neutral sense (that was the original meaning, anyway), but it’s picked up this other sense—and one day it might replace the original.


• Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hipa'.


  • (n.) needle

Li ia i ipe hipa e nevi i’i.
“Give me that needle.”

Notes: The earliest Kamakawi needles were made of bone. They were rather long and a hole bored into the end of it. In the iku above, the top swoosh (going to the left) is the thread, and the vertical line is intended to be fabric. The entire thing, though, actually looks like a stylized version of hi, giving the reader a clue to the word’s pronunciation.