Archive for the ‘O’ Category


• Saturday, February 11th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'oli'.


  • (n.) fruit
  • (v.) to pick (fruit, nuts, etc.), to harvest
  • (adj.) picked, harvested

Ai ipe i oli ai?
“Is that fruit?”

Notes: Fruit sounds good right now. I may have to go and harvest me some.

So this iku is a bit of a mystery. It doesn’t contain either o or li, and it doesn’t really look like an ikuiku. (What do you think? Does that look like a piece of fruit?) My first idea, on looking at it again, was that it kind of looked like a harvested field, but that doesn’t seem likely.

No, I think I may have intended this to be some sort of bizarre iconic representation of the category “fruit”. I’d say it looked like a coconut, but this is what a coconut looks like to the Kamakawi. Yes, I have to say that this one is a true mystery. We may never know what it’s supposed to represent…

Well, aside from the word oli.


• Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Glyph of the word 'oka'.


  • (v.) to be dull
  • (adj.) dull

A oka tiva.
“The knife is dull.”

Notes: As with the example sentence, this is only “dull” as in “not sharp”, not “dull” as in “boring”.

I wanted to do something different with this iku. I had no ideas for it (couldn’t be an ikunoala), so I thought I’d play it by ear. Then I came up with this. And then I decided to stick with it. I still don’t get it…


• Sunday, January 1st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'oko'.


  • (n.) drum

Au noala oko!
“The drums are sounding!”

Notes: The frost if off the ground: Moving day is at hand.

It’s a new year, and it’s time for some news. I’ve done 731 words of Kamakawi so far, and it’s been fun. But this pace is absolutely exhausting (as evidenced by when this post and the last one went up in real time), and I can’t keep it up. There’s no way I’ll be able to put up every word of Kamakawi (there are several thousand, and I’m not even at a thousand yet), but I did vow to at least get all the foma up, and that I’ll do. Once I’ve got them all up, though, this blog will become the Kamakawi Word of the Every-So-Often-If-That (or something similar). I may drop in and do a word now and then, but there won’t be a word everyday.

That said, there’s got to be at least 200 foma left, and they don’t always fit with the caturday pictures, so there may yet be another full year of “daily” Kamakawi word posts. But I’m letting my many fan (no typo. I elea, Anatoni!) know that the end is coming. Probably some time after the new Mayan calendar begins, but it’s coming.

Thanks for following along or dropping in every now and then! It’s nice to have an online catalogue of all these glyphs, so they exist somewhere other than in my computer. Have a happy new year!


• Saturday, December 31st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oto'.


  • (v.) to growl
  • (n.) growl
  • (n.) growling

Ka mata kaneko i’i ke oto.
“The cat saw me and growled.”

Notes: I forget if I talked about this before, but even though Kamakawi has some coordinating conjunctions (“and”, “but”), for the most part, they’re not used (they usually end up getting used for emphasis). The reason is that the subject status markers pretty much handle all coordination. Since ke above indicates that the subject of the following clause is the same as the previous—and also indicates that a new clause is coming—there’s no need for “and”. And there’s also no ambiguity (e.g. “The man saw him and he ran”).

Today’s word, suggested by yesterday’s, has an iku that’s pretty easy to figure out. It’s an ikunoala and a straight-up combination of o and to.


• Friday, December 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'otoko'.


  • (v.) to be serious
  • (adj.) serious
  • (n.) seriousness

Otoko ia?
“Are you serious?”


Before I go any further, let me assure you that Keli had a wonderful Christmas. She got a new tunnel which she seems to like, and we gave her all meat baby food twice—plus, she got a ton of new boxes to play with! And she had quite a good time jumping around in the tissue paper. So don’t feel too sorry for her when you see this:

Keli with a sleep mask on.

Now that’s a look that could kill! I can’t believe how patient she is with us. She’ll let us put pretty much anything on her, and will actually pose for pictures.

But it doesn’t means she has to like it. ;)

And, of course, just to be fair, I also took a picture of me with the penguin mask on. So we’re even, she and I.


• Friday, November 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oa'.Glyph of the word 'oa'.


  • (v.) to be shy
  • (adj.) shy
  • (n.) shy person

Kanekoi oi’i i oaoa kiko!
“My kitty’s being shy today!”


Ordinarily, Keli is quite the poser, but today she didn’t feel like being photographed. In fact, she went and hid behind her stool:

Keli behind her stool.

It’s very hard to scoop her up while holding the iPhone at the same time (especially since it’s case is open, in order to take pictures. It’s gone sliding out before, and we have tile, not carpet!).

Today’s word reduplicates the iku for oa, which itself isn’t a word (or is no longer a word). Aside from this word, oa appears in other words as a phonemic glyph.


• Saturday, October 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ote'.


  • (n.) plate, dish, tray
  • (v.) to serve
  • (n.) serving, portion

Li ia ie ote li ia e nevi i’i.
“Give me your plate.”

Notes: Today’s word is an old word that means “to serve”, and it’s still used in that capacity, to some extent, but now it’s most commonly used to mean “plate” (or a serving).

The iku is a rather straightforward compound of te and o. It might look familiar, but temi, its closest cousin, has two horizontal strokes across the middle rather than one.


• Friday, October 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'opa'.Glyph of the word 'opa'.


  • (v.) to burrow
  • (n.) burrowing
  • (adj.) burrowing

Ai opaopa ei ie iko himola le koku ai tou oku?!
“Why can’t I burrow into this blanket?!”

Notes: It’s the best day of the catting week—the day that rhymes with “Saturday”, but for some reason isn’t Saturday: Iiiiiiiiiiit’s CATURDAY! HAPPY CATURDAY!!! :D

Today Erin sent me this picture:

Keli near my Arabic pillow.

She explained to me that Keli had tried to burrow into the yellow chair cover you see there. It wasn’t much of a blanket, though (it’s just a chair cover), so she couldn’t manage. Then she tried to tug at the chair cover to have it topple over her to form a little cave, but that didn’t work. Then she looked to Erin for help, and Erin took her picture. I believe the expression on her face says something like, “That’s not helping.”

Today’s word is a reduplication of opa, which means “dig”. I thought “burrow” was a good way to translate opaopa. It’s kind of like scurrying and digging at the same time, which is what this is: little digging motions into something.

Say, I wonder where Keli is right now…? It’s about time she started begging for food… Hmm… I’m hungry too, come to think of it. Maybe it’s time for a trip to the kitchen…


• Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'oliala'.


  • (n.) poet, singer
  • (n.) poetry
  • (v.) to be poetic
  • (adj.) poetic

He noala oliala ie noala o u Nova…
“Sing ye poets the song of the Rays…”

Notes: I may be a day late, but, gosh darnit, it’s the MLB playoffs, and it’s time to make some predictions! I know that most people that come here aren’t baseball fans, but there’s at least one who writes poetry about baseball, so my predictions are going up!

(By the way, Doug Ball can verify that these predictions predated the start of the playoffs. I e-mailed them to Doug on September 29th, and the predictions below are copied directly from that e-mail.)

American League


  • Detroit Tigers def. New York Yankees 3-1.
  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Texas Rangers 3-2.


  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Detroit Tigers 4-2.

National League


  • Philadelphia Phillies def. St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.
  • Milwaukee Brewers def. Arizona Diamondbacks 3-2.


  • Philadelphia Phillies def. Milwaukee Brewers 4-1.

And for the World Series:

  • Tampa Bay Rays def. Philadelphia Phillies 4-1.

Last year’s predictions did not, in fact, go very well at all, but I’ve got a good feeling this year. Granted, the rain delay has thrown the entire Yankees-Tigers series into utter chaos, so anything can happen there, but outside of what would be a wonderfully bizarre matchup of twin expansion teams (Rays-D’Backs), it seems to me like the Phillies are destined to come out of the NL, and that either the Rays or Tigers are coming out of the AL. We’ll see how well I do this time around…

Today’s word derives form oala, but has a special relationship with noala, as you may have guessed. Kamakawi seems like a great language for poetry, and poetry, as it was, was expressed in song. That’s why the word for “poet” is the same as the word for “singer”—and, in fact, oliala and noliala (which we haven’t seen yet) are as synonymous as synonyms get, with only a slight shadow of meaning to distinguish the two.

If you’re not a fan of baseball, try to catch a Rays game on TV. There’s something about that team this year. The magic may wear off, though, so catch them quick, in case they burn out.


• 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…