Archive for the ‘I’ Category


• Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'iana'.


  • (v.) to recognize someone (for something they’ve done)
  • (n.) recognition

Iana’u iko tou!
“This could win an award!”

Notes: Next week I’m going to be giving a talk at SWTX PCA/ACA in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one of the professors volunteering her time to the conference created this video for my talk, which I thought was great. Heh, heh. Fire and blood! (Oh, and hey, Kenakoliku peeps: Check out the modified Halfsies font on there!)

Today’s word was created for a specific reason way back when, but the iku, I thought, really came out well. First it uses the li glyph as an ikuiku (symbolic of giving), and it uses the “good” circle determinative to represent the gift or award. Below it are some lines, which I thought were quite fetching. I thought it came out awesome. Unfortunately, I rarely ever have a reason to use this word—it’s a bit too specific. Oh well. I shall use it today, to say: Nice job, Tamy Burnett! :D Your video made my day.


• Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ile'.


  • (v.) to hate, to despise, to revile
  • (n.) hate, hatred
  • (adj.) hateful

Ile ei iu Patilioto!
“I hate the Patriots!”

Notes: The old Super Bowl is one week from today, and I’m not looking forward to it. Four years ago, the upstart, massively-underdog Giants beat the up to then undefeated Patriots in one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all time—some even call it the best ever. It was one of the best moments in American sports history.

And now they’re playing again.

If the Patriots win, it’ll be pretty much the worst thing ever. Though you can’t actually take away a previous championship, a New England win would make it feel like the first one was somehow a fluke. If the Giants win, that’s fine, but the finish to Super Bowl XLII was so incredible that we don’t need another one. It’s too bad, all around.

The iku for ile is a turned version of the iku for eli, “love”. Call me sentimental.


• Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ite'.


  • (n.) shortness of breath
  • (v.) to pant, to wheeze
  • (adj.) panting, wheezing

Ka ite ei neika kepe kupe.
“I wheezed when I was young.”

Notes: Because I had asthma when I was young. I was lucky enough to grow out of it, so I came to understand that running, for example, could actually be fun. Indeed, I came to love it! Feels so nice to be able to run from one place to another.

I could say more about this iku or this word, but I’ve got a hungry cat! I need to go brush my teeth so we can go downstairs and I can give her her dry food. She loves her dry food.


• Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ipu'.


  • (n.) slug

Oku! Hava ei i ipu okuoku!
“No! I would never eat a slug!”

Notes: Snail shells are about the only thing cool about a snail, which makes slugs the antithesis of…of something. Blech!

Today’s iku always reminds me of yesterday’s. The two look rather similar. As far back as you go they’re pretty similar, in fact (both being built off similar iku and combining with the same iku in the same way). I think both iku are kind of ugly. What can you do, though? They can’t all be birds of paradise.

Not that have anything against slugs, specifically. In fact the club we resurrected at Berkeley was called SLUG. It stood for the Society of Linguistics Undergraduates. And we even put together a symposium. That’s where I did my first ever presentation on conlanging. Know what I used? Overheads. Actual overheads. And they were awesome. In fact, that’s one of my wife and I’s oldest stories. She was the time keeper, and I’d mentioned that I was going last during our symposium so I could take up as much time as I wanted. She had signs that told us how much time we had left, and after I got the STOP sign (and I was still going), she pulled up some other signs she made just for me (signs that said things like “STOP! STOP! STOP!” and “PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD STOP!”). I was so amused, that I got distracted, and pretty soon we were all waiting to see how many signs she had and what they said. Good times…

You know, we had a mascot too that I drew. It was a slug with a Superman cape that was attached via a gold chain that was fastened by a great big schwa that dangled over his chest (or thorax [or bodily mass…?]). In fact, can we get a shot of that guy? Let’s see… Ah! Here he is:

The SLUG mascot circa 2003.

Not the best drawing, but you can see his cape, his schwa, and his sardonic expression. I fear the Society of Linguistics Undergraduates is no more, but it had died before and been resurrected. Should the need ever arise, the Mighty SLUG will rise again from the ashes, like a fiery…slug. So be not sad! His schwa will live on forever.


• Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ilu'.


  • (n.) liver

Toku ilu o ia oku.
“Your liver’s not strong.”

Notes: No idea what that’s supposed to mean. What’s the liver even do, anyway? I know it’s important, but who ever sees it besides doctors? Such an ugly organ…

According to the Wikipedia, the liver apparently helps in “detoxification”. I guess since I don’t drink alcohol that means I’m set for life! Take that, liver! :twisted:

The iku for ilu is built off the iku for lu. Where ordinarily there’s a space, the midline extends up to the top to form an i. I’ve kind of associated this iku with the liver in my mind. Coincidentally (or perhaps not?!), it looks like another ugly thing I don’t like to think about. What will that thing be? You’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out! 8O


• Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'io'.


  • (conj.) but
  • (prep.) sans, except, without, excluding
  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence io

Ka olomo i palei io nea.
“I walked home without her.”

Notes: Kind of a sad sentence not directly indicative of anything. We saw today’s iku yesterday, but there it meant “dove”. Today’s is this kind of conjunction/preposition, and it’s also used for the phonological sequence io. The iku is a combination of…

Uh oh.

Hang on a minute. What the heck is the iku about?! It doesn’t look like a combination of i and o. It doesn’t really look like a dove… What the heck is it?

Dang. Unless something comes back to me before I hit the first comma in this sentence, I think I’m going to have to classify this iku an ikunima’u. How about that.

Update: Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh snap! You are not going to believe what I just found! This is the iku that the modern Kamakawi iku for io derives from (I found it!):

Old glyph of the word 'io'.

Look at that! It’s an honest-to-goodness dove! A real, no-foolin’ dove! 8O So the modern iku, then (in the real history of the language), is my stylized representation of that dove. I ain’t never smoked a thing in my life, but…what was I smoking?!

Oh wait. Actually, I kind of see it… I took the complex image there and tried to render it with as few strokes as possible. You can do it with two. So the important part, then, was the dent of the wings on the top, and then you just carry the line down under to form most of the body. Then the tail is done with one stroke and turned slightly (as it probably would over the years). Huh. How about that! Mystery solved.


• Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'io'.


  • (n.) dove

A hava ipe io iu fa li’i!
“That dove’s eating my seeds!”

Notes: Lousy doves! Always pecking away at all the seeds you worked so hard to sow! How would they feel if we went to their farms and pecked away at their seeds, huh?! :evil:

Okay, actually I got nothing against doves. They’re pretty cool birds. And I can’t imagine doves flying to a farm and eating the seeds lying on the ground…

The iku is an ikunoala, but it requires the “identity” determinative to get the “dove” meaning, so it’s classified as an ikuleyaka. For the other meaning, check tomorrow’s post.

Update: No, it’s not an ikunoala! I figured it out! For a detailed explanation, see tomorrow’s post. Spoiler alert:

Old glyph of the word 'io'.


• Saturday, December 10th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'itai'.


  • (v.) to flee
  • (n.) flight, fleeing
  • (adj.) fleeing

Itai ia!
“Run away!”

Notes: A few days ago, I posted a word whose iku was a bit of a mystery to me. Turns out that iku (whose meaning is “slow”) was based on this one. Now to explain this iku

As I see it, I think this iku is simply iconic. The “ground” determinative is being used literally, and the little “F” figure there is, I think, a dude running away (along the ground). That’s the best explanation I can come up with. Sometimes after I was, like, three or four hours into a glyph-making session, I just started coming up with stuff, and after awhile, like a syntax student looking at semi-grammatical sentences, everything starts to look acceptable.

It certainly does fit the pattern of Kamakawi iku that use the “ground” determinative well, though. Looks just like one of those. And so it is!


• Friday, December 9th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'inana'.


  • (n.) (a/the) lick

A inana li’i i ia!
“I have a lick for you!”


Okay, so this picture turned out a little dark, but I hope you’ll agree it was worthwhile. Every so often Keli, when she’s particularly tired, will allow her tongue to hang out a little bit. It’s like she’s so tired she doesn’t want to put forth the effort to retract her tongue.

And it’s adorable:

Keli with her little tongue hanging out.

Woo hoo! :D So glad I eventually got that on film!

Today’s word derives very regularly from nana, but it’s a good word. I’d use it.


• Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'iunu'.


  • (v.) to be slow
  • (adj.) slow
  • (adv.) slowly

Ale iunu, ale iunu…
“Go slow, go slow…”

Notes: This one’s a quote from a Fela Kuti song “Go Slow” (great one).

This iku is a bit of a mystery to me. We have the “ground” determinative there and also the “bad” line determinative, and that’s obvious enough. That “F” shape, though, has me puzzled… Could be something going fast (maybe a bird), and then the “bad” line determinative tells you it’s not that—i.e. it’s not fast, but slow.

OH! Ha, ha. Actually, it’s built off another glyph. So this one is both an ikuleyaka and an iku’ume. We haven’t seen that word yet, but now that I know it exists, I’ll be sure to put it up. I think it’s pretty good, the relationship; it makes sense.