Posts Tagged ‘food’


• Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'i'avava'.


  • (n.) feast
  • (v.) to have a feast

I’avava uia eyana!
“Have a good feast!”

Notes: Have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone who’s having Thanksgiving! :D I’m enjoying a great one today. If you’re not celebrating Thanksgiving, then have a splendid non-holiday! :D Hopefully you eat something nice today. :)


• Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'mopi'.


  • (n.) candlenut

A male neo uei iu mopi.
“We’ll make use of the candlenuts.”

Notes: In Hawaiian, these are called kukui. In English, they’re called, “What the heck is a candlenut…?”



• Friday, October 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'foka'.


  • (n.) fish (or any animal that lives primarily in the sea)

I ilea! Ai foka toi li’ia ai?
“Hello! Got any fish on you?”


This is my second time around writing this post, thanks to the DreamHost outage yesterday (IT ATE MAH POST!11!!). Here’s Keli, twisting up the way she does when she wants to get comfy:

Keli contorting.

As I explained yesterday, I believe Keli now knows when she’s being photographed, and relishes it. The second I unbutton my little iPhone camera case, she perks up—will wake up if she was previously asleep, even (I can’t get pictures of her asleep anymore!). And then she poses and looks straight at the camera. What a cat!

Today’s word was inspired by the Spanish word “marisco”. We often see it pluralized (“mariscos”), where it means “seafood”. I liked the idea of having a single word refer to everything that comes out of the sea. The difference with foka is that it doesn’t refer primarily to food the way “mariscos” and certainly “seafood” does.


• 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.


• Thursday, October 6th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ieletapana'.


Ka kawau ieletapana poiu kapolo.
“The apple has fallen from the tree.”

Notes: Yesterday the world lost Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple—really the main driving force behind the company since its inception. It’s always sad when anyone dies, but Apple’s had a profound influence on my life, so it gave me pause, his passing.

You see, I’ve never really used anything but Apple computers. The very first ones I had regular access to were the Apple IIe’s my mother was able to bring home from school during the summer when I was very young. I used to play MECC educational games on them, like Number Muncher and Oregon Trail.

Later, my best friend got a brand new computer (in color!), that had a new 3.5 inch floppy disk drive in addition to the 5.25 inch one: An Apple IIgs. This was the pinnacle of computing power and entertainment at the time. He had a bevy of games (too many to list), and we played through just about every title Sierra had made in the late 80s and early 90s. In addition, since this was the best computer anyone we knew had at the time, I used it to compose my first ever word-processed story: A 40 page short Oz story for a project I had in fifth grade.

When I was in junior high, my mother was able to bring home our first Macintosh (I believe a Macintosh Classic II). This was where I first the encountered Carmen Sandiego series.

Some time in high school, when we graduated to a machine that ran System 7, I had my introduction to the internet via America Online. Back then, my friends and I would race home and get on AOL so we could chat with each other via instant messages, despite the fact we lived within walking distance of each other’s houses.

And it was some time during OS 8 that I began writing seriously. I first started taking my old short stories (written in pencil on lined paper) and transferring them to ClarisWorks documents. At the end of high school I wrote my first novel, all on ClarisWorks. I wrote a bit of it on our machine at home and also on the school’s computers (since, of course, my school only had Apple machines). Around the same time, I began my second novel, which I finished on one of the best presents I’d ever received up to that point: My own tangerine iMac G3. It was the second generation, and had bugs, but it, in fact, still works—and though I don’t use it now, I actually did use it in my office when I went to graduate school. And it served me well.

The G3 saw me through my entire undergraduate career. Everything I wrote was written on AppleWorks (the successor to ClarisWorks)—including the documents I made to document my languages when I started to conlang in 2000. All of them started out life as AppleWorks documents, and those documents are still in existence today (and are what I still use), though they’ve now been updated to Pages documents (Pages is the modern successor to AppleWorks).

When I graduated from Berkeley, my parents got me a Snowball iMac, which was even better than the G3 (which is why it stayed home and the G3 went to my office at school). And when the backlight went out on the Snowball, rather than replace it (only costs $50, but it was about time), I got the Intel-based iMac I currently use today.

Along the way, I’ve also had a MacBook Pro (still serving its purpose today), an iPod (which served me well on many a drive between San Diego and Orange County), an iPhone (possibly one of the handiest gadgets I’ve ever had), and the software I use reliably to do everything that I do: writing, web work, conlanging, music, graphics, fonts, presentations, e-mail—everything.

In short, all of my professional accomplishments have been achieved through the aid of an Apple product. That’s not insignificant. For someone who always felt in the dark when it came to working with DOS-based machines, Apple has helped me to be productive and to do what I do better.

I know it’s fashionable now to be down on Apple because their products are popular and their relatively easy learning curve invites users who are, otherwise, technologically incompetent, but for someone who’s been with Apple for quite awhile, things just seem to keep getting better. And though Steve Jobs is gone, I’m sure things will continue to get better, because he laid the foundation, and showed us how to keep on building.

Anyway, if you read this far, thanks for sharing my little trip down memory lane. Today’s word comes from Zhyler. In Zhyler, it’s yeldaban (in the orthography, yeldaban). When it came to Kamakawi, the initial glide broke (as all initial glides do in Kamakawi), giving us ieletapana. The Zhyler root yelda is, I believe, the word for “red”.


• Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uke'.


  • (v.) to be rotten
  • (adj.) rotten

Ai uke ipe, ua…?
“Is that rotten, or…?”

Notes: You know that feeling when you’re looking at food and you can’t tell if it’s moldy or not? Tough experience, that one. For example, I had these leftover bratwursts, and they kind of looked like they might have the beginnings of mold growing on them, but it could just as easily have been congealed grease—I couldn’t tell! So…I went ahead and ate them. I’m not dead yet. We’ll see what happens.

Anyway, oddly enough, uke is a good word to illustrate the occasional nature of certain Kamakawi lexemes. Often a lexeme can be used as a verb, adjective and noun, and often the meanings will be predictable. Sometimes the predictability breaks down, though it often does so in predictable ways.

In the case of uke, it’s used only as a verb or adjective; never as a noun. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming days.

The iku for uke is fairly straightforward: the base is u, and the little tooth from ke fits on top right in the middle. ALl the ke words have the little tooth kind of glommed on somewhere where it seems to fit. This one always reminded me of a bird in a nest.


• Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'na'ao'.


  • (n.) lemon
  • (adj.) lemon-tasting, lemony

Ka hava ei i novu oi na’ao, kae ivivi amo i’i ima!
“I had a soup with lemon, and I really liked it!”

Notes: Which is unexpected, because I hate lemons—and sour things, in general. Honestly, I don’t even believe those who say they “like” sour things. It’s not possible: sour means bad! Think about it: Would you rather talk with a sweet person, or a sour one? And bitter, too! It makes absolutely no sense to me.

But, of course, when mixed with other flavors, sourness has its place, and this soup (artichoke and lemon) was quite enjoyable. I told my wife about it, and she thinks it sounds awesome; she’s going to try making it (and I’m excited about that prospect!).

Today’s word is kind of a compound. The word na there should be recognizable as “tongue”, and ao has no meaning. Rather, it’s what your mouth does when you bite into something sour: it kind of puckers and draws in (to try to protect your injured tongue!). So it kind of translate as “ao tongue”, and that’s the word for “lemon”.

On the plane ride from Fargo to Denver today I had a wonderful conversation with artist and journalist Jennifer Heath (bio here). She was at the symposium in Concordia to talk about the satellite installation of her art exhibition The Veil: Visible & Invisible Spaces. She actually gave me the idea for a different type of relay, which I might try to get started over on the relay list (and something similar might have been done on Conlang a couple years back; it’s just at the edge of my memory). The idea is a “write-around” story (i.e. one person writes a line, then passes it to the next person who writes the next line, and so on), except each line would be written in a different conlang. I think it could work—and that the results could potentially be hilarious! (Or poignant or exciting, I suppose; it’d depend on where the participants decided to take it.)

Got to get home first, though. I’m in the great mall of Denver waiting for my plane… CPU says it’s 4:12 p.m., which means it’s 3:12 p.m. here, and the plane’s supposed to take off at 3:44 p.m… Hey, that’s not too far away. Better get ready to shut this down.


• Sunday, September 4th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'i'iki'.


  • (n.) chicken (when it’s food), chicken meat

Kiko ka hava ei i i’iki.
“Today I had chicken.”

Notes: Today’s word derives, unsurprisingly, from the word iki, “chicken”. In Kamakawi there’s a distinction drawn between an animal and the meat of that animal. I decided to do this on purpose, but I now forget the reason… I’m pretty sure it was high-minded, but I don’t know if I agree with the sentiment any longer (especially as I can’t remember what it is). Nevertheless, the distinction remains.

There’s a famous case of lexical ambiguity that involves chickens that’s discussed by Sanford Schane in his class “Language and the Law” (you can see a syllabus here). The case (which you can read up on here) involves a fellow who ordered some chickens, and when they arrived, he discovered they were stewing hens (ones used primarily for stock or in soups) as opposed to young chickens, which are used for eating generally (fried chicken, roast chicken, etc.). He refused to pay for the stewing hens, claiming that they’re not what he ordered. The guy who sent the stewing hens claimed that they were, technically, chickens. The court ended up finding in favor of Frigaliment (the guy who expected young chickens) because while the stewing hens were chickens, it was ruled that any ordinary person who heard “chicken” would not expect a stewing hen (kind of like if someone is looking for bachelors, presenting them with a three week old male baby wouldn’t fit the bill—though the little fellow would, technically, be a bachelor).

Anyway, I brought this up because it occurred to me that the Kamakawi term would solve this ambiguity, but it does’t, actually: I’iki would be used for both stewing hens and young chickens that have been slaughtered for their meat. Oh well.

In other news, today is my good friend Scott Yarborough’s 30th birthday. For my very close friends, he is the last one to turn 30 in our year of 30s. Today we are officially “real” adults, and can no longer use our youth as an excuse for anything. We’re all old and supposed to be responsible. Oh well. It was a good run, while it lasted.

But yeah, happy birthday to Scott! Of us men of a certain age, you are the youngest. Today our hats are off to you. Tomorrow… Well, tomorrow is another day (which isn’t so bad after all).


• Friday, August 26th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nukoa'.


  • (n.) meat
  • (v.) to have or be meat (said of an animal)
  • (v.) to be edible, to be nutritious
  • (adj.) edible, nutritious

Ka li ia i nukoa ke nevi i’i! Ae eli i ia!
“You have given me meat! I love you!”


After an utterly inexplicable one week absence, Caturday has returned! And to make it for it I thought I’d do something special.

I’m not quite sure when it started, but Keli and I have a tradition. Some time after Erin has gone to sleep, she meows to let me know that her food dish is empty. If she needs wet food, I give it to her, and she goes up and sniffs it and then leaves it there (the expensive food we buy for her specially doesn’t excite her in the least). If she needs dry food, though, that’s a different story.

We store the dry food in an airtight tupperware container, and what she does is she meows and follows me to the container, I open it, it makes a loud sound, and she runs away (every time!). Then I give her one or two scoops of dry food, she goes over to the dry food, and then (and this is the strangest part): she thanks me.

Every time!

She goes up to her food bowl and puts her face in as if she’s about to eat, but then she stops, turns up her head to me and gives me a look (or, if she’s feeling especially grateful, gives me a little meow), and I pat her head and she starts eating.

Though filming this little ritual ought, by rights, to be a two person job, I’ve tried my best to get the whole thing on video myself. The results are below:

A video of Keli getting dry food!

Unfortunately, she didn’t give me her darling little mmmrow this time, but her little head tilt is on camera. I’ll try to get another one where she makes her thank you noise in the future.

The Kamakawi are very much a meat-centric people. A meal isn’t a meal unless there’s a meat dish involved. Hence, something that’s “good” for you is derived from the word for “meat”. Meat is supposed to give you strength and vitality and renew your spirit; fruit and vegetables is for flavor and (for lack of a better word) regularity.

The iku for meat (in case you’re wondering. It looks right to me, but I know what I was basing it on, so you can let me know if you saw it before the following explanation) is a hunk of meat roasting on a spit (the ends of the rotating pole are on the right and left of the iku, and the line in the middle is the meat [the glyph has been simplified over time]). The Kamakawi do a lot of spit-roasting like this. Some day I’ll have to put up the vocabulary that surrounds such roasting. Some day soon… :)


• Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'nute'.


  • (n.) wrasse

I nute pe.
“There are wrasses in there.”

Notes: Preparing for a wedding, time kind of slipped away from me. The wrasse is a really neat looking fish. I wholeheartedly encourage you to google it and take a look. Some wonderful shots on the web of wrasses!

I don’t have much to say about the wrasse as a fish. I think it’s a great looking fish, and I’m sure the Kamakawi would have more to say about them than I do presently. But I am who I am, so I’ll leave it at this.