Posts Tagged ‘body parts’


• Monday, March 5th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'fewa'.


  • (n.) the non-white part of the eye (pupil and iris)

Au ele fewa o lea takeke leveya.
“His eyes are blue like the sea.”

Notes: In Kamakawi, you refer to the fewa’s color specifically, not just the eye (which is mata).

Today’s iku is, of course, the iku for i. As it looks like an eye from the side, the “identity” determinative is put beneath it for the word fewa.


• 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


• 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.


• Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'tako'.


  • (n.) vein

Mata ei iu tako e’i epelu o ia tou.
“I can see the veins under your skin.”

Notes: This is only for the types of veins that are in your body, not something like a vein of ore in a rock. The main body of the iku is ko, and there’s a ta inside of it (kind of like the vein is inside the body).

I have always been very, very uncomfortable imagining, talking about, or thinking about veins. Internal organs? No problem. Veins? Very troubling. Troubling in the same way as discussing a vasectomy is troubling. (Guys will know what I’m talking about.) Just an icky, icky feeling pulses its way through the entire fiber of my being. Makes me shudder. :(

So. Let us drop this topic and never speak of it again.


• Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ui'.


  • (v.) to join, to conjoin
  • (n.) joining, conjoining, coming together
  • (n.) joint (body part)
  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence ui

He ui eya i peaka!
“Let’s conjoin them!”

Notes: I’ve classified today’s word as an ikuiku, but I’m not sure about the classification. It derives from a figure that looks pretty much like this one, but it started out abstract. It’s, essentially, an abstract representation of joining (perhaps originally a drawing of a knot, though it no longer means “knot”). So the thing looks like what it’s supposed to look like, but it’s not very…picture-y. Aside from throwing up my hands and calling it an ikunima’u, though, all I can do is classify it an ikuiku.


• 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


• 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).


• Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'umu'.


  • (n.) lip
  • (n.) rim, edge

A kavi umu o ia!
“Your lip is big!”

Notes: Presumably from a fight. I think umu is an iku’ume. I mean, that seems right. Looks pretty good, for what it is. Not much else to say, other than iTunes won’t play right now, so I’m restarting my computer. So take that.


• 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…


• Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'mata'.


  • (n.) eye
  • (v.) to see, to look at

Ka mata eine ie nawa.
“The woman saw the fish.”

Notes: This may not be the first Kamakawi sentence, but it may have been the second. If you go back through my example sentences, mata is the most common verb, without a doubt. It means “eye” and is also used as the verb “to see”.

This word is a bit of an inside joke. When I was taking historical linguistics at Berkeley, the professor (Andrew Garrett), in discussing the comparative method, noted how one needs to compare a whole set of vocabulary items to guard against the influence of chance resemblances. For example, the word for “eye” in Ancient Greek is, I guess, mata, which is identical to the word for “eye” in (I think?) Indonesian. They’re both basic terms, and they’re nearly identical, but it would be wrong to assume, based on that chance resemblance, that the two languages are related.

So, for fun, I made the Kamakawi word for “eye” mata as well. :)