Make your own free website on


Kamakawi Main

Other Info
About Me

Links, Anyone?

TY Kamakawi
TY Home
Part 0
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

Smile Today!

Fly Away Home

Scattered Tongues HQ

This conlang site belongs to David J. Peterson.
List All | Random | HQ
Prev | Next | Next 5

Scattered Tongues HQ

Part 4: A keve'a ei i nea a! I remember her now!

4.1: Yes, Indeed I Do...

She was my very first love. She used to do a lot of things, and I used to love doing them with her. Her name was Verb. Sadly, though, she left me for Adverb. She said I was too controlling, always subjecting her to this and that. Said this new fellah Adverb added to her existence rather than detracting from it. <sniff> But...I've moved on... Onto humans, as I probably should, since I am one.

Until now, verbs have been noticeably absent from our exploration of Kamakawi. Well, no longer! All those verbs have come a'tumblin' home. Well, except for my Verb. I'll always remember her fondly--ack! An adverb! I'll remember her, and that's it, see!? Anyway...

Until now (we'll see how many paragraphs in a row I can start this way), one might have made an argument for calling Kamakawi an SVO language. Though I wanted to make sure and point out to you that the predicate marker "i" is not a verb, it did kind of parade as one (in fact, if you wanted a verb for such an action, it would be "takeipo'uku", "to act like a verb". It's not a real word, but it'd be understood). However, now you will see that Kamakawi is, indeed, a VSO language, as advertised.

4.2: Are You New Here?

Until now, you've been missing out on a crucial aspect of Kamakawi: The subject status markers. These are things that make it possible to understand why no verb is really needed in simple, equative sentences. Here are the subject markers:

1.) A: This indicates that the subject of the sentence is entirely new and has not previously been mentioned, and is singular.

2.) Au: This indicates that the subject of the sentence is entirely new and has not previously been mentioned, and is plural.

3.) Ae: This indicates that the subject of the sentence is new, but also that it came from somewhere else in the previous sentence other than the subject position. It might be the direct object, the indirect object, the object of a preposition, something mentioned in a relative clause, etc. Also, it can be plural or singular; there's no distinction.

4.) E: This indicates that the subject of the sentence is the same as the previous sentence or utterance and that it's singular.

5.) U: This indicates that the subject of the sentence is the same as the previous sentence or utterance and that it's plural.

Until now, you probably only thought of "e" and "u" as the definite articles, huh? Well, now you can see where they came from! ~:D Isn't that exciting?! Go ahead, run out into the street and tell the people you meet about your discovery! I'll wait. I can entertain myself by humming: Hmmmmmm, hmm hmmmmmmm, hmm hmm hmm hmm hmmmmmmmmm... Back already? Well, then let us continue. ($300 says you can't guess what song I was humming.)

Until now, you've only seen sentences that essentially begin with the subject of the sentence. In reality (that's [filHaqi:qa], b'al-arrabiiya, for those of you studying Arabic), each sentence really begins with one of these five subject markers. Only, these are magic markers, and sometimes they're invisible! Well, let's take a look here:

Ipe i nawa. That's a fish.

Taken by itself [by the way, this counts as a continuation of the above paragraph], you probably wouldn't have any trouble figuring out that the "that" is a new subject. In cases like these, Kamakawi speakers wouldn't disagree with you. So, most of the time, the subject markers are dropped in equative sentences. A case where this might not be true is when you're telling a story, such as--well, actually, if you're telling the story, you're probably going to be telling it in the past tense, so, you know what? Bullocks to the rules; I'm just going to tell you about the past tense right here and now.

Iko: No, no! Think of the children!

To Seattle with the children! If they want it, they've got it. So guess what? Here comes the past tense! Are you ready? Are you excited? It's...


Until now, you probably thought "k" was just an ordinary letter. Not so! It's a very special, magic letter that lets you know that everything happened long ago. What you do is add it to the front of all the subject markers. This, then, puts the whole sentence into the past tense. So, you take "a", "au", "ae", "e" and "u", add "k", and get "ka", "kau", "kae", "ke" and "ku". There you have it: The past. Unlike the present tense subject markers, you must always include the past tense markers, else there's no way to know the sentence is in the past tense. Here's an example or two:

Ka ipe i nawa. That was a fish.

Hou... Ka ipe i nawa... Whoa, man, that was a fish...

But now I've really got to show you that example where you'd use the subject markers in the present tense.

Let's say [the streak has officially ended at six. We'll see if I can beat that record later on], for the sake of argument, that you're commentating on the Fish Olympics (of course, it's ridiculous to even suggest that someone other than Harold Castelio would ever be the official commentator of the Fish Olympics, but, like I said, we're just pretending). You're currently commentating on the 100m Swim. In the running is a goldfish, a catfish, a salmon and a trout. It's a close race, but in the end, the goldfish wins it, and so you jump up and shout:

Ae nawanaka ie liliki! The goldfish is the winner!

We'll assume that the goldfish wasn't the subject of the previous sentence. This is an instance where you'd use the subject marker in the present tense. It's rare, but it might come up. Otherwise you can leave it blank.

4.3: Verb It Up, Yo!

Let us talk about verbs. Verbs are kind of like action words, sometimes. So, if you go somewhere, the going is a verb; if you talk to someone, the talking is a verb. There are also verbs of experience and feeling, like seeing, smelling, loving, and so forth. These verbs should be no problem to an English speaker. In Kamakawi, though, there's another class of verbs called stative verbs. These can be thought of as adjectival verbs, if you will. So, whereas you'd take the sentence "the leaf is green" and put "the leaf", "is" and "green" into three separate categories in English, you only separate the sentence into two parts in Kamakawi: "The leaf" and "is green". The "is green" part is a stative verb. Definitions of stative verbs will be of the form "to be x", where x corresponds to an English adjective.

So, those are types of verbs. Now how about how them crazy verbs get down? Here's a sentence:

Mata ei i ia. I see you.

Dig? The verb, "mata", comes first, and it means "to see". Then comes the subject of the sentence, "ei", and that darling little predicate marker "i", which then leads you to "ia", the direct object. "Ia" is the direct object because it directly follows "i". However, "i" doesn't have to just act as a marker of the direct object:

Ale ei i iko pale. I'm going to this house.

Here it acts like the preposition "to" in English. It also has one other function, but we won't concern ourselves with it for the present, sayeth me.

Oh, but before I go, here's an example of a sentence with a stative verb:

E tikili mokomoko. The starfish is orange. ("Tikili"="to be orange"; "mokomoko"="starfish")

4.4: Have You Seen My Missing Piece? (REMIX!!!)

Previously on "Have You Seen My Missing Piece", students may have learned that some transitive verbs require extra adverbs if they're to appear without over objects. Such information was FALSE!

Iko: Heavens to Betsy, no!

Oh, yes, Iko! I'm ashamed to admit it myself, but the truth must be told. After all, our readers are paying top dollar to view this website.

Ipe: These guys's payin' money to look at this crap?!

Over $90 an hour in some states, I'm afraid. As such (and only for this monetary reason, mind you), I feel compelled to tell the truth. <sigh> The truth is...well, there's no such thing as a "whining verb" in Kamakawi.

Ipe: <spits out vodka> Whaaaaa...?!

Iko: Say it ain't so, Dave! Say it ain't so!!!

It's so, my friends! It's so so! I'm very sorry to have to admit to my own guilt, but, alas, I am doing it. The problem was some hotshot field worker (McWhorter, I think his name was...) who got "creative" with his data. Needless to say, he's been fired, and banished to Texas.

Iko: Good God! Not Texas!

Oh, yes, Texas! No more freedom for him. Lots of firearms, though. Anyway, here's what was really going on:

In English, we have verbs like "tend", which, with certain prefixes derived from Latin, can be made into new words: /ad/ + /tend/ = "attend"; /in/ + /tend/ = "intend"; /por/ + /tend/ = "portend"; /pre/ + /tend/ = "pretend"; /ex/ + /tend/ = "extend", etc. Kamakawi has verbs that act like English "tend" as well, only rather than getting prefixes, they get special adverbs which change the meaning of the verb itself, and which, consequently, cannot appear without their extra adverbs, or else the meaning will be lost. Here's a "tend"-like example:

/ale/: Ale ei ie pale.  I'm going home.

/ale/ + /ave/ (in front): Ale ei ie pale ave. I'm going up to the house.

/ale/ + /poiu/ (to go through): Ale ei i Chicago poiu. I'm just passing through Chicago.

/ale/ + /ko/ (here): Ale ei ie pale ko. I'm coming to the house.

/ale/ + /heva/ (throughout): Ale ei ie Spain heva. I'm traveling all over Spain.

So that's the real deal with extra adverbs in Kamakawi. Notice that if you left of any of those extra adverbs you'd only get the first meaning. Anyway, from now on, these types of verbs will be listed as follows:

ale...poiu (v.) to pass through (on the way to somewhere else)

4.5: Might as Well Jump! Jump! Go Ahead and Jump!

Jump, jump, jump for you! It's time for more exercises! ~:D How will they be? Well, you won't knooooo-ooh-whoa-ooh-whoa, until you bee-gin!

Translate from Kamakawi to English: 
1.) Eli ei i ia. 
2.) Mata pea i'i! 
3.) Ke ale eine i ipe pale. 
4.) E olumu hopoko ave. 
5.) Ku'uni iko hiaka. 
6.) Ke kama'a kamali'a iu mali'a. 
7.) Ke eyana malimali. 
8.) Elea maka. 
9.) Mama ei i eini. 
10.) Hetu uei ae.

Translate from English to Kamakawi: 
1.) Sharks fear doctors. 
2.) They men (more than three) went to that house. 
3.) I was cooking. 
4.) He walked to this house. 
5.) This cat is yellow. 
6.) That tree is green. 
7.) This child is learning to read. 
8.) The professor wrote a book. 
9.) They all (gender not important) are happy. 
10.) That was good.

4.6: Makilotumu

That's the Kamakawi word for dictionary, you may as well know, 'cause we'll be using it from now on...forever...for EVERYTHING!

a (mark.) indicates there's a new, singular subject 
apateke (v.) to learn to read 
ae (mark.) indicates there's a new subject, and that it came from the previous phrase 
ale (v.) to go
ale...ave (v.) to go up to, to come to
ale...poiu (v.) to pass through (a place)
ale...ko (v.) to come
ale...heva (v.) to travel around/all over
ave (n.) chest; (prep.) in front of
au (mark.) indicates there's a new, plural subject

pale (n.) house
poiu (v.) to go through

teliti (n.) tree 
tikili (v.) to be orange

ka (mark.) indicates the past tense, as well as a new, singular subject 
kae (mark.) indicates the past tense, as well as new subject from previous sentence 
kama'a (v.) to teach 
kamali'a (n.) teacher 
kavaka (v.) to write 
kau 1 (adv.) down, downwards 
kau 2 (mark.) indicates the past tense, as well as a new, plural subject 
ke (mark.) indicates the past tense, as well as that the subject is the same and sing. 
keve'a (v.) to remember 
ku (mark.) indicates the past tense, as well as that the subject is the same and plural 
ku'uni(v.) to be purple

e (mark.) indicates that the subject is the same and singular 
eyana (v.) to be good 
eini (n.) seal 
eilili (v.) to be yellow 
elea (v.) to be happy 
eli (v.) to love

mata (po) (v.) to see 
maka (n.) crab 
makilotumu (n.) dictionary 
mama (v.) to hug 
malimali (n.) childhood 
mokomoko (n.) starfish

i (prep.) to 
ipo'uku (n.) verb 
ikavaka (n.) book

liliki (n.) winner, victor

oyo (v.) to whine, to complain 
olumu (v.) to walk

falele (v.) to be green

u (mark.) indicates that the subject is the same and plural

hetu (v.) to fear, to be afraid 
heva (prep.) over, all over, across, all throughout, throughout, on, upon
hou (expr.) whoa, duuuuuude, oh, ooh, man

Bound to Part 5!