Posts Tagged ‘formal’


• 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.


• Friday, January 6th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'ka'.


  • (part.) marks the past tense (as well as a switch in subject, if no other marker is present)

Ka liki ei i iko kau.
“I have laid claim to this.”


Keli loves all boxes, of course, but she really likes boxes like this:

Keli in a box.

The iku above combines with other subject status iku like ae and e. As for function, today it marks the simple past tense, but it’s also developing into an anterior. There used to just be an imperfect/perfect distinction in Kamakawi (this being the perfect), but that developed into a tense distinction, as it often does.


• Sunday, November 13th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'fotu'.


  • (n.) husband (formal term)

Ea, ipe i fotu oi’i.
“Yes, that’s my husband.”

Notes: Pretty sure I’ve heard my wife say that once or twice. ;)

Today’s word is a counterpart to yesterday’s word tuli, which means “wife”. The common word for “husband” is hopoko, the word for “man”. This one only shows up in formal situations (or when one is mad with the other).

The iku for fotu is based on the iku for hopoko, but it has a line above it like the iku for ei, which means “I”. That line used to have more of a function in the olden days; now it shows up in just a few iku. This is one of them.


• Saturday, November 12th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tuli'.


  • (n.) wife (formal term)

Eli ei i ia, he tuli oi’i!
“I love you, O wife of mine!”

Notes: In Kamakawi, the common word for “wife” is simply eine, the word for “woman”. There is, however, an older, traditional term that’s used in formal situations (or, perhaps, defensively), and that’s tuli. It’s counterpart is fotu, which we’ll see tomorrow. :)


• Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'au'.


  • (phon.) glyph for the sequence au

Oku eteke au ti okuku.
Au doesn’t mean anything.”

Notes: I’ve had the iku for au sitting in my little “to do” folder for…over a year. It’s an iku we’ve seen before (in, for example, the words awela and awei), but it has no meaning of its own. Or, to be more precise, the meaning has been lost to the ages.

It’s clear that the iku for au is not an ikunoala (compare the iku for a and u). It’s probably not a facial expression. If it were some sort of shellfish or crustacean, presumably it would still be in use. Since no one knows, though, it remains a mystery, though the iku still enjoys use as a phonetic glyph.


• Thursday, September 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'utulini'.


Ka ale utulini ko. Ka ale ieyalele hema.
“September is here. Summer’s almost gone.”

Notes: And that never fails to make me sad. :( I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: I’d rather be too hot than too cold. (Well, not too too hot, I guess. Wouldn’t want to be on fire.)

Hey, today is a special day. With today’s post, I’ve posted all of the Kamakawi month names borrowed from Zhyler. Hooray! :D Come October 1st, if you want to know what the name of the month is, you can go back one year and check out the entry from last October 1st. (Oh, no, wait, that’s not right… Looks like I did the word for “October” on October 4th, for some reason. Oops!)

Anyway, today’s word comes from the Zhyler word Ÿslin (or, in the orthography, hsliN). That word also happens to be the Zhyler name for their letter ÿ, or h. Beyond that, its etymology remains a mystery.

Hey, if you’re a conlanger and have a minute, check out the new Fiat Lingua: a place for conlangers to put up journal-style articles, or even non-journal-style articles about conlanging, their conlangs, or what have you. We’re starting out small and slow, so if you’re interested in putting something up, shoot me an e-mail.


• Sunday, August 7th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'te'.Glyph of the word 'ti'.


  • (n.) a title usually used only with foreigners meaning something like “sir/madam” or “your grace” or “lord” or some equivalent honorific [< Zhyler]

Owe, he teti, i ka oku!
“Ahh, your majesty, there is no second!”

Notes: Hey, here’s fun. I was helping move my grandmother into a new place today, and she decided to empty her storage facilities. Thence was produced this picture:

Picture from my childhood.

This painting hung in my room for about 18 years—until I went to college. I spent a lot of time looking at it, and made several revelations over the years. For example, for the longest time, I simply had no idea what the words could possibly mean. I interpreted the word “second” as referring to the unit of time (as if the one boat was asking, “Could you wait a second?”). It wasn’t until much later that I realized it was supposed to referring to second place.

Another thing that always puzzled me (and, in fact, puzzles me still) is the whole “your majesty” thing. Why would you refer to someone your racing with as “your majesty”? It makes no sense. Is this common in yacht racing?

In addition to this, I believed, for many, many, many years that this was a photograph. In fact, it’s a painting. It may be a photograph or print of a painting, but the original was a painting, which took me by surprise. It looks realistic enough to be a photograph. However, if you look very closely at the waves, you can see the brush strokes, and the illusion is revealed. I think I was 17 when I first discovered this.

Today’s word is the Kamakawi version of “your majesty”, or as close as it gets. It’s basically a title (something like tuan in Indonesian), and comes from the Zhyler word sedi (in the orthography sedi), which means something like “mister/madam”. It’s much more of a nounish noun in Kamakawi than it is in Zhyler.

Back to the picture, I suggested that my grandma get rid of it (she has a ton of stuff), but since I suggested it, she became determined to keep it. The picture, then, gotten for me by my stepdad which hung in my room for 18 years is now hanging in her hallway. It looks entirely out of place to me. It’s like walking into a Hot Topic and hearing Jim Croce: It just doesn’t fit. I suppose I’ll now have to get used to it, though…


• Monday, August 1st, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tietu'í'.


Tietu’í i kavakava.
“August is a hot one.”

Notes: And let me tell you, it’s doing a fine job of it right now. A couple more years like this and we’ll all be living underground.

Today’s word, as a month word, comes from Zhyler. The word in Zhyler is Žezuğü (in the orthography, .ezu©X). It’s barely recognizable in Kamakawi.

This month will be a busy one. I’m taking part in four panels at WorldCon, and then serving as the best man at a friend’s wedding. Plus a bunch of other stuff. I’ll be sure to mention things here as they become relevant.


• Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'u'.


  • (part.) cooccurs with a plural subject that is identical to the previous subject in the discourse
  • (art.) the plural definite article
  • (art.) many

Ku hemata uei iu kuaki ae iolui kau.
“We spotted the ducks in the pond.”

Notes: I thought I’d do a short grammatical post today. We’ve already seen the singular counterpart to this (p)article. Basically it marks plurals. It’s used in several ways, though, including as a stand-alone subject status marker, and in conjunction with other subject status markers.

Though it’s quite simple in the romanization (or schematically), writing it is a different story. This iku is used in conjunction with the plural new status marker au, as well as with the same-subject status marker u. The iku for e is also used, but you don’t pronounce it—it’s just there in the orthography. The ordering, though, can sometimes be a little tricky, since it’s purely a formal element. Some writers put the e one first; some the u one; some leave the e out entirely. I’d imagine that eventually it’d disappear entirely (or the whole thing would morph into some other iku or series of iku).

As for the iku itself, it’s kind of a combination of the glyph for ka, no and to (without the top). The idea is that the plurality marker is used with duals, trials and plurals. That marking is only realized on pronouns (and optionally on nouns); the non-singular status is what’s important to the verbal system (and the definite marking of non-subject nouns).

At some point, this system will have to break down, and it will likely mean the end of the dual and trial. That will happen some day down the line, though; not now. :)


• Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tokapaoito'.


  • (num.) four hundred and four
  • (adj.) four hundred and fourth

A mata tokapaoito kuaki.
“I see four hundred and four ducks.”

Notes: Not a very inspired sentence, but I needed something. If you’re wondering why there’s such a bizarre word of the day today, it’s because I needed to have my new 404 error page point to a real entry. :) If you’d like to see my new 404 error page, just try to go directly to some random and obviously fake entry, like…oh, I don’t know, and see what happens.

I realize this may not be very exciting, but if you saw my previous 404, you will have noticed some grossly misaligned and overlapping divs that are now aligned appropriately. Hooray for fixitude! :D