Posts Tagged ‘names’


• Friday, January 20th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'nevi'.


  • (v.) to give
  • (n.) giver
  • (n.) giving
  • (n.) beneficence, charity
  • (adj.) given
  • (nm.) a man or woman’s given name

A nevi ei i ia ti kaneko.
“I give you a cat.”

Notes: Sometimes things just fall neatly into place.

Today is, of course Caturday (HAPPY CATURDAY!!!). It also happens to be my birthday. As those who follow the blog know, I’ve been trying, recently, to focus on foma to try to finish presenting the rather large orthography of Kamakawi. Could there be some way to take care of all those things at once…?

Remembering that, for some crazy reason, I hadn’t yet done an entry for the word nevi (one of the oldest and most frequently-used Kamakawi words there is—and one of my favorites), I took a look at the entry, and found as a part of the entry the example sentence shown above.

And then looking through the pictures on my phone, I found this as one my most recent Keli pictures:

Keli emerging from a box.

Happy birthday to one and all! Your present is a cat! :D

The iku for nevi is built off the glyph for ne, with a little fi made out of the descending bill of the ne seagull. I didn’t think much of this iku at first (it looks slanted), but it’s grown on me. Now when I think of the concept “give”, I think of nevi.

Grammatically, the example sentence is not the usual way you’ll see nevi used. Usually nevi is used serially, with some sort of object from a previous clause taken over as the assumed “object” of nevi. In reality, the grammatical object of nevi is the recipient.

That said, in rare situations (can’t think of a context where this would be the natural form of expression), you can introduce the theme/patient of the verb nevi by means of the preposition ti (the leftover argument marker). And I’m sure that’s why I included the sample sentence I included in my dictionary/grammar document. Why it included cats? Well, they’re pretty outstanding, by all accounts. Had to give something. :)


• Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Glyph of the word 'kaino'.


  • (n.) Hawaiian goose (nene)
  • (nm.) a man’s given name

Ka ni’u ipe kaino!
“That goose bit me!”

Notes: And geese do bite. You be careful around geese! Those birds don’t mess around. If only I’d had a camera the day that goose tried to run me down… You think I’m joking, but it happened! My wife was there; she’ll attest to it!

The iku for kaino is one of my favorites, on account of how goose-ish it looks. It’s certainly a proud goose. I can see a language deriving the word from “pride” from the word for “goose”. Then you could make reference to a person’s goose-ishness.

For more information about the name Kaino, go here.


• Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'fila'.


  • (v.) to be heavy
  • (adj.) heavy
  • (n.) weight
  • (nm.) a boy or girl’s given name

Fila nea ima…
“She’s so heavy…”

Notes: From the Beatles’ song of the same name (a good one!). Fila is a straightforward combination of fi and la, which, honestly, I’ve never liked the look of. Especially in the font, it looks kind of jumbled. But that’s the way of it with characters like these.

Fila is also a name, believe it or not. It’s generally given to babies that are heavier than usual (perhaps a kind of revenge for a mother that’s had a particularly difficult labor). To learn more about the name, go here.


• Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'pata'.


  • (n.) dirt, earth, ground, soil
  • (adj.) brown
  • (v.) to be brown
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Toku ia ie pa ie pata.
“Put the bowl on the ground.”

Notes: I actually took a double take with this iku. I thought pata was a simple ikunoala, but it isn’t. It’s built off the syllabic glyph for pa, but has the glyph for water, lelea, superimposed over it. The way I think of it is the pa glyph somehow represents the earth (the top of the triangle is where the people walk, and it goes down to the core of the earth), and the lelea over it is used to indicate that it’s the substance that’s meant: the dirt.

The word pata is also used as a name for boys. To learn more about that name, go here.


• 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 4th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ila'.


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

Awei! Ila miwimi!
“Bah! Lousy moth!”

Notes: That’s usually what I end up saying whenever I see a moth. They’re not my favorite insect. They’re not as terrifying as spiders, but they’re just kind of…there. Always be gettin’ up in my business, if you know what I mean. And they’re one of those insects that flies too close to your face… They’re the insect equivalent of the Close Talker (as are many flying insects, in fact).

The iku for ila is a genuine iku’ui (I know there aren’t many of those). The glyph is built off of the mi syllabic glyph, which means “butterfly”. It’s used mainly for the shape (which is intended to be evocative of a butterfly), but also because the main vowel is i, like the first syllable of ila. The syllabic glyph for la is dissects the glyph, giving it a further phonetic component, but it’s shape will ensure that the reader knows that some sort of a large-winged flying insect is intended.

Ila is also a girl’s name—and quite a popular one. For more information on the name, go here.


• Sunday, July 3rd, 2011

Glyph of the word 'inivie'.


  • (n.) star
  • (adj.) shiny
  • (v.) to be bright
  • (nm.) a woman’s given name

…i noala i inoala poe ti’a’a kape eli ei ie inivie poe huita i emiemi ti matai.
“…to sing a song of when I loved the prettiest star.”

Notes: Wow. Now that is a convoluted and clunky translation. I wonder how natural languages with complex comparatives and superlative do this (simply, I mean)… That’s “…to sing a song about the time I loved the star that surpassed everyone in prettiness”. Nice thing about morphological comparatives/superlatives is they make nice adjectives.

This is the four-pointed Kamakawi star (mentioned here). It’s important that it has four points, as each one represents the four realms: the sea, the islands, the volcanos, and the sky. When I initially did the iku, it came out unbalanced, but I kind of like it that way. Gives it character.

For more information on the name, go here. I personally think it’s a great name—for a real child. I have no idea how an American school teacher would pronounce it, but it’d be fun to hear them try!

The lyric translated above comes from David Bowie’s song “The Prettiest Star”. That version is actually the original; this version is the version I heard first (on his greatest hits). Both are lovely.


• Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'uvo'.


  • (n.) swordfish
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

Ka hava ei i uvo.
“I’ve eaten swordfish.”

Notes: It’s true, but the word on the street is you shouldn’t. I guess due to conservation efforts swordfish are on the rebound, but still, swordfish should be eaten sparingly.

Well, I guess, in general, meat should be eaten sparingly—if not for conservation concerns, then for the treatment many animals raised for slaughter are subjected to, as well as for one’s health. Eating meat occasionally is no health concern, of course (provided it’s prepared properly), but eating too much (which is the case with many Americans) can indeed be a health concern.

Anyway, this is one of my all-time favorite iku (in fact, it comes in at number six in my personal top ten). It’s quite swordfishy. I thought it turned out rather well.

For more info on the name Uvo, you can go here. Don’t think I would name a kid Uvo myself: Sounds too much like a grape.

Not that “grape” is a bad name.

Man oh man, summer is coming! :D I’m so excited! I can’t wait.


• Friday, March 25th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'tou'.


  • (n.) wherewithal, ability
  • (v.) to be able or capable (in a general or habitual sense)
  • (adj.) capable
  • (adv.) able to, can
  • (n.) power
  • (v.) to be powerful
  • (adj.) powerful
  • (nm.) a boy or girl’s given name

A mata ei i ia tou!
“I can see you!”


Keli decided to play a little game with us today by hiding under the bed and peeking out at us, preparing to pounce:

My cat hiding under the bed.

(Heh, heh… Randomly listening to “Accidently Kelly Street” right now.)

Tou is one of those words that replaces English auxiliaries. It acts like an adverb, and is an adverb (in addition to the many other things it does), so it follows the usual rules for sentential modifiers. The only difference is it translates into English as a sentence with the auxiliary “can” in it. There are several adverbial modifiers like this in Kamakawi, and they form a consistent class, but the term escape me right now (I want to say “subject control”, but that will admit some verbs it oughtn’t).

I think the iku is pretty cool, with my crazy ou hawk in the middle. Kind of looks like a dude about to bust out of a box. Certainly one of my favorite happenstantial pairings (i.e. the pairing of to and ou in this word [and if “happenstantial” isn’t a word, someone please call the dictionary, ’cause it needs to be!]).


• Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Glyph of the word 'ale'.


  • (v.) to go
  • (v.) to travel
  • (v.) to go on a trip
  • (n.) travels, trip
  • (n.) traveler
  • (adj.) traveling
  • (prep.) along to, towards
  • (nm.) a boy’s given name

A male ale nanai oi’i ie Monokólia!
“A friend of mine is going to Mongolia!”

Notes: Specifically, Andrew Gerber, the fellow behind the Damátir Ando conlang website. And he’s not just going on a jaunt: He’s going with the Peace Corps! Sylvia and I are meeting up with him today, and we’re going to show him a good time while he’s still able to enjoy Southern California’s perfect weather (oh and by the way: It’s wonderful here. Just perfect).

Of course, I’m pretty jealous, I must admit. He gets to spend some time learning one of the coolest languages on the planet (you seen that vowel harmony system?! If not, give it a look: It’s outstanding!), and gets to help folks out while he does it—and gets a stipend! Of course, Mongolia is landlocked, which rules out my ever visiting there, but to have someone else visit there is a dream come true. Maybe I can convince him to pick me up a Mongolian grammar book while I’m there—something that teaches you how to write using that crazy vertical writing system they got there.

Anyway, kudos, Andrew! You’re real, man. Congratulations, and good luck!