Posts Tagged ‘mammal’


• Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'hoku'.


  • (n.) elephant

Fumi ipe nili ti hoku.
“That field is good for elephants.”

Notes: You know what? I just decided one day that the Kamakawi Islands would have elephants. Native elephant populations, at that. How would a series of tiny islands support a population of elephants (even little miniature elephants, as the Kamakawi elephants are)? I have no idea. And despite all, I don’t care. I liked the idea of elephants wandering through the jungles and even splashing around in the waves on the beaches. I like to picture Kamakawi children riding on little baby elephants. It’d be adorable. And that was justification enough, way back when I came up with the Kamakawi elephant. And then I came up with this kickass iku to go with it.

So, there you have it. Elephants that exist on tiny little islands. Many elephants. Trumpeting and crashing and splashing about. Miniature elephants, by our standards (perhaps no bigger than a horse, at the biggest). So it was, and so it shall be. Forever.

The end.

Edit: As you may have read in my last post, the Kamakawi Word of the Day took a one-day hiatus to protest SOPA. Unfortunately, if you tuned in during the first hour or so of the 24 hours of the 18th, you wouldn’t have noticed anything different, since I made a counting error (something I do often). Eh. It’s the thought that counts…?


• 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.


• Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'keiki'.


  • (n.) dolphin
  • (nm.) a woman’s given name

Hava ue i tainu uomoko!
“A takeke keiki i kaneko… Ai lavaka?”

Notes: Today’s word of the day comes in response to a comment on yesterday’s post, but today’s example sentence comes from the fact that I completely, totally and utterly forgot to do a Caturday post last Caturday—and I just realized it right now.

So you can imagine how I feel at this moment.

I’m not quite sure how I’m going make up for this egregious oversight. I know how it happened, of course: I was in Reno, far away from my kitty, and I forgot. :( (Which is odd because I missed her the whole time.) I can assure you all it won’t happen again, but I’ll need to do something special this Friday…

For more information about the name Keiki, go here.


• Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'i'o'.


  • (n.) goat
  • (n.) penis (slang)

A mamata i’o ukia po a!
“Now the goat is facing left!”

Notes: Here is the aforementioned and aforepromised goat! Though some will try to deny it, I affirm—and have long affirmed—that goats are native to the Kamakawi islands. Indeed, there are goats aplenty! Hopping about the way they do. Oh, that reminds me: You’ll like this. It’s a video of pygmy goats running around on a deck! I absolutely love pygmy goats. They’re kind of like a crossbreed of kittens and rabbits.

The iku for i’o is one of my favorite simply for its construction. As you may notice, the iku is built off the the syllabic glyph for i—the first syllable of i’o—so there’s a partial phonetic component to this iku. And even though the glyph for i is a stylized eye, if you put little horns and a goatish beard on it, it also kind of looks like a goat. And there it is!

The other meaning for i’o is a byproduct of how common the i- derivation strategy is. See, the word looks like it could be i- plus ho, and the glyph for ho is a man (same as hopoko). So if an i’o is anything at all, well…you get the idea.

Tomorrow another picture of my (pygmy goat)/(rabbit)! :D


• Tuesday, June 14th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'lutivini'.


  • (n.) horse [< Zhyler]
  • (v.) to travel by horse

He lutivini eya i Inipili!
“Let us go by horse to Innisfree!”

Notes: Hee, hee… You have to take a boat to Innisfree!

Anyway, a horse-ish evening to you all! It occurred to me that I’d done a word derived from the word for “horse”, but hadn’t actually done the word for “horse” yet. So…here it is! Straight from the mouths of Zhyler speakers!

The Zhyler word is rujvin (in the orthography, rujvin), and horses are certainly their fare, not that of Kamakawi speakers. Just as the Zhyxüy brought them over to their island from the mainland, though, so did they eventually get imported to the Kamakawi Islands. Now horses go horsin’ about over there, doing horse things horse-ishly.


• Saturday, June 4th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'lutiviniki'.


  • (n.) pony

Kipe ka etea ei i lutiviniki!
“Yesterday I petted a pony!”

Notes: And I did!

Me petting a very nice pony.


Yes, yesterday was a good day. It was at my little sister’s elementary school carnival. They had a carnival every year when I went there, but let me tell you, I sure don’t remember no ponies! Luckily I got to pet a few this time.

Today’s word is derived from a Zhyler word which I could have sworn I’d done already, but…I haven’t. Some day. :)


• Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ialavene'.

  • (n.) beef
  • Ialavene ie i’ekalaka.
    “Beef is the answer.”

    Notes: It’s been too long since the last word of the day. It’s time for a new word to force its way onto the stage of the internet!

    First, some business. Yesterday’s party of a certain age concluded successfully. We partook of the official food of a certain age: Stonefire Grill’s Tri Tip Stimulus:

    Tri Tip Stimulus.

    Of course, it doesn’t look like much, because it was difficult to take a picture of these things while keeping the covers open. In the thing with the 8 is eight breadsticks; behind it a pizza with tri tip and Canadian bacon on it; and pictured well enough is the tri tip. Not pictured (to the right) is a caesar salad. Not bad for $25!

    We, indeed, watched the first episode of the second half of the second season of Men of a Certain Age. It was decidedly better than Franklin & Bash. Consensus was that Franklin & Bash should instead have brought back the entire cast of Saved by the Bell and made them all lawyers—specifically, Zack would be Bash (as he is); Slater would be Franklin; Screech would be Pindar; Lisa would be Dana; and then either Kelly or Jessie (can’t decide which) would be Bash’s ex (I’m going for Kelly, and then Jessie would be Hanna). And, of course, Mr. Belding would be Stanton Infeld. I’m telling you: This potential show writes itself!

    Anyway, we concluded the day by watching videos of cats and other mammals on YouTube. All in all, it was a good day.

    [Note: Cf. alavene for derivation.]


    • Friday, May 27th, 2011

    Glyph of the word 'alavene'.


    Ea, a male neva’a ei iu alavene li’ia i ia, he eine.
    “Yes, I’ll find your cattle for you, ma’am.”

    Notes: HAPPY CATURDAY!!! :D

    I hope you’re prepared for one adorable picture:

    Keli with a cowboy hat on.


    So, question number is probably, “Where’d you get a tiny little, cat-sized cowboy hat?” Erin brought it home with her from work one day. How she got it I have no idea. All I know is it’s just Keli’s size.

    Second question: How did I keep the cat on Keli’s head? Answer: She didn’t seem at all displeased by it! Indeed, I’ve got about 40 pictures of her with the hat on her head. I put it on there, and though she found it strange, she made no attempt to knock it off or move. In fact, she fell asleep with the hat still on. Eventually her head drooped so far forward that the hat fell off her head and onto the floor, and the noise woke her up.

    So, yes: My cat can rock a cowboy hat.

    In Zhyler, the word for “cow” is arven (in the orthography arven). The Zhykhy brought the cows on over with them to the big island, and now the Kamakawi have them (though they’re great big grass munchers—more than anything else they have natively).

    I’m a big fan of cows, myself. They always seem to be taking it easy.

    Well, unless they’re stampeding.

    Probably best to avoid a herd of stampeding cows.


    • Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

    Glyph of the word 'mano'.


    • (n.) donkey

    Ka etea ei i mano kiko!
    “I petted a donkey today!”

    Notes: Remember yesterday how I mentioned I’d met a couple donkeys? Well, of course I had to get a picture of it.

    Me petting Donkey Xote.


    What could be more exciting than greeting a charming animal? And I got to greet two of them! :D

    This one’s name is Donkey Xote (or maybe just Don Quixote…? I only heard it; didn’t see it spelled), and, of course, his female companion is Dulcinea. (Sylvia asked of the caretaker, “Not Sancho Panza?” and she replied, “No. That’s the feral cat that hangs around here.”) They were quite amiable, even while being petted. It was a red letter day! :)

    Couple things about this word. First, it doesn’t ever look right to me, but I chose the form on purpose. See, if one isn’t careful, one will accidentally replicate one’s phonological biases when coining new words. (That’s why you see a lot of conlangs where the word for “water” is something like ayala, or lorea, or shayula, or lelea [oh. Oops].) To overcome this, some conlangers use word generators (by the way, if you’re looking for one, Awkwords is a nice free one that’s online). I’ve tried that, but don’t really rely on it too much.

    Instead, I take words that I have a really intuitive form for, and give it some form that’s completely different (bearing in mind the phonosemantic tendencies one creates for the language in question), or, in the case of mano, I take a word that’s familiar to me (Spanish mano, “hand”, is one of the first words I learned) and apply it to a completely unrelated concept. And that’s how mano became “donkey” in Kamakawi.

    Secondly, the definition of mano in my dictionary reads as follows:

    mano (n.) donkey, mule, ass

    There’s a problem here, though: donkeys ≠ mules. They’re different animals (and, in fact, there may be no mules on the Kamakawi islands). I didn’t learn this until late in life, though, because I grew up in an urban/suburban setting, and thought that “donkey” and “mule” were synonyms.

    This is one of the major problems that many conlangers face when creating a vocabulary: Often one does not have the experiential basis to create words for a given cultural environment.

    I’ve heard many conlangers remark on how a number of so-called artlangs have vocabularies that presume a bronze age culture (or earlier). There are several good reasons for this. First of all, the languages we speak nowadays didn’t spring from Zeus’s head fully armed with monosyllabic words for “cell phone”, “internet” and “text message”. These languages began way, way, way back when. If you’re creating a language that’s intended to look like a natural language, that means you need to start way, way, way back when. Unless one is working with a very bizarre culture that’s operated in a way completely different from any we’ve known on Earth, one is going to need the word for “pestle” before one gets to the word for “gigabyte”.

    Second, if one invents a word for something like “DVD player”, that assumes A LOT. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that any culture is going to have words for the floræ and faunæ it encounters, and words for basic actions and structures. But how can one assume that from those beginnings they will actually evolve in such a way as to duplicate our modern technology? There may be something roughly equivalent to a television, but will it work like a television? Will there be television stations? Will channels be associated with numbers? Why not letters? Or colors? And even if they’re roughly the same, how can one assume that they’ll be freestanding? What if all houses come built with a television hollow into which one puts a set? What if it has no cords, but just a set of plugs that fit directly into the grooves in that hollow, like a headlight into the space for a headlight in a car?

    In other words, to coin a word for “television”, one has to evolve the entire world, and it has to miraculously go just as it did on Earth. This seems highly improbable. (At least, for a language that’s intended to look like a natural language. Obviously if you’re creating an auxlang, or some other language you want to use day-to-day, you need a word for cell phone, if you don’t want to end up using one in a natlang.)

    Anyway, in a language like Kamakawi, I’m already assuming too much by assuming in some alternate universe, the animals and plants will be the same. Realistically, one should evolve new animals and new plants. That I’m not going to do. But I draw the line at modern tech. If I get to a modern era, I’m going to do my best to evolve some native technology.

    That’s if I get there before I die (which, of course, will probably not happen).


    • Monday, October 25th, 2010

    Glyph of the word 'palaki'.


    • (n.) dog

    A tiku ipe palaki ie mali oi nea!
    “That dog is standing on her puppy!”

    Notes: There were two dog statues at the entrance to the Japanese gardens, and I took a picture of both, so I figured this was as good a time as any to introduce the word for “dog”. Here’s the picture:

    Another mighty dog statue.

    And, indeed, that dog is standing on an itty bitty puppy! But I guess she’s doing that to protect it. (I mean, I hope.)

    The Kamakawi keep dogs, in a sense (cats, too). It’s more like in a Kamakawi village, there will be any number of dogs and cats, and people will feed them, and they’ll all kind of wander around. (See, I like the sound of that.)

    Hoping Roy Williams and Miles Austin have huge games tomorrow—and that the Cowboys still lose!