Ring B: 8/20: Kamakawi

David J. Peterson
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[ Kamakawi | Smooth English | From Ikanirae Seru | Orthography | Grammar | Vocabulary | Abbrevs. ]

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A iko ie ikeve'a pokupe poae kuneliki'u tie etielele o kelea. Oi etielele elu, ka mata mali'a i ketetetie pokae ale i pea ave. Kae mei pea ie malalele kana e mopa o ketetio. Ka kupi ka'a milip oi lake ie iloa o pea. Kae kuneli pea ie ka'a pokae te ie iloa o pea uoioi, io kae lili ie iloa, kepe mata ie ketetetie o kamali'a, pokae ale ave. Ka hetinivie mali'a kale ale ketetetie ave. Ka kopu pea ie mopa tie kopu o pea, io kae fiti ea'a. Ka hi'i mali'a oi kape aeiu ka'a ie alatia o pea. Ioyo, ie ti'a poka ale ketetetie o kamali'a ave, ka elea mali'a ipuke.

Smooth Translation

This is a story about the youth that the winter of sadness can be gotten rid of with.

During the long winter, a student saw a sleigh that was coming towards him/her. S/he remained in the garden near the wall of snow. A little black crow sat down on his/her shoulder. S/he tried really hard to remove the crow that was on his/her shoulder, but it clung to the shoulder, in order to see the sleigh of the teacher which had come. The student started to worry because the sleigh had come. S/he touched the wall with his/her hand, but it was very cold. The student was still and then the crow went into his/her backpack. However, at the time that the teacher's sleigh had come, the student was happy thereafterwards.

Translation from Ikanirae Seru

This is the story of the youth that one discards the winter of sadness with.

In the middle of the winter months, a student saw a sleigh that went to him/her. S/he remained in the garden near the snow wall. A small, black raven sat down upon his/her shoulder. S/he tried to remove the raven from his/her shoulder with all his/her might, but the raven clung to, so that it could gaze upon the teacher's sleigh that had come. The student became worried at the coming of the sleigh. His/her hand touched the wall, but it was very cold. The student was still and the raven climbed into his/her bookbag. But after the teacher's sleigh came near, the student was happy for the rest of the day.


The romanization system matches up fairly well with CXS, except for the following: [j] (palatal glide) = "y"; [?] (glottal stop) = "'" (an apostrophe). Additionally, capital letters are used at the beginning of sentences, and general English punctuation is used.


-Typological facts: word order = VSO; prepositional; NG; NA; NR.

-A PP can be moved to the front of a clause, but otherwise word
order is maintained.

-Kamakawi is a pro-drop language.  If the subject marker /ke/ or
/kae/ is used, the subject may be omitted, as it can be retained
from the previous clause.

-Subject status markers let the hearer no if the subject of the new
sentence (embedded or otherwise) is the same as the subject of
the previous sentence.  There are three possibilities: (1) It's
(2) it's from the previous clause, but isn't the previous clause's
(3) it's brand new (or more than a clause old).  To mark these statuses,
a particle is used which preposes the verb.  The markers are as follows:

(k)a = (1)
(k)ae = (2)
(k)e = (3)

Certain discourse particles (words like "because" and "so that") are
suffixed directly to these subject status markers.  So if you had a
sentence like Kale X Y, it'd mean "Because Y did X".

-Adverbs occur sentence-finally, generally.  Adverbs are sometimes
used like modals in English.  For example, if you say Ka mama eine
i nawa (PAST hug woman PREP fish), it'd mean "The woman hugged
a fish".  If you say Ka mama eine i nawa tou (PAST hug woman PREP
fish can), it'd mean "The woman could hug a fish".

-Where a verb has 2 arguments, the preposition /i/ marks the less
agent-like of the two.  For this reason, it's used to cover a whole
range of prepositional functions, including spatial and temporal.

-Certain verbs take adverbial complements.  They're listed in the
lexicon as X...Y.  For these verbs, any objects and subjects come in
between the members X and Y.  Otherwise, the two function as a
single verb with a single meaning.

-Unfortunately, some rather complex relative clauses were totally
unavoidable in this text.  This is because Kamakawi can only relativize
subjects.  I'll try to explain everything that you need to know to
translate the relative clauses in this text:

(1) First, an easy bit: passives.  Passives are formed by suffixing a
verb with /-'u/.  This takes a transitive verb and turns it into an
intransitive, where the object becomes the subject, and the subject
becomes an oblique.  Example: Ka mama eine i nawa –> Ka mama'u
nawa (ti eine).  The oblique phrase is optional, but, if included, must
be preceded by /ti/.  If you want to say "The man I saw", you
*must* use a passive, so that you say, "The man that was seen by

(2) A slightly trickier suffix is the applicative suffix.  In this
text, its
form is /-ki/.  It takes an oblique argument and turns it into a direct
object.  The direct object is then demoted to an oblique.  So if you
to applicativize Ka ui eine i nawa te fale, "The woman joined a fish
on the grass", you'd change the verb to /uiki/, and you'd get Ka
uiki eine i fale (ti nawa), "A woman joined on the grass (a fish)."

(3) Why do the above?  If you wanted to relativize the object of a
preposition.  So if you want to say "The grass a woman joined a
fish on", you have to do the following: (a) applicativize the verb;
(b) passivize the verb; (c) then do the relative clause.  First, steps
(a) and (b): Ka ui eine i nawa te fale –> Ka uiki eine i fale ti nawa –>
Ka uiki'u fale ti eine ti nawa.

(4) Now relative clauses.  These are marked by adding the /po-/
prefix to the subject status marker of the embedded clause.  This
construct follows the noun you're talking about.  Then comes the
sentence, as modified via the steps above, so that the empty spot
in the sentence is the subject, which corresponds to the noun before
the /po-/ part.  So, to say "The grass a woman joined a fish on",
you do the above steps, then add the following:  e fale poke uiki'u
ti eine ti nawa.  There you have the relative clause.


The lexicon is arranged in English alphabetical order. Each entry begins with an asterisk. Where applicable, additional grammatical information will appear in parentheses, and additional etymological information will appear in brackets. Though many Kamakawi words have many different meanings and can appear in many different categories, I've only included the relevant translations and categories.

*a (part.) marks present tense, and that the subject of the sentence is
new or different
*ae (part.) marks present tense, and that the subject of the sentence
is the object of (or an object from) the previous
*aeiu (vt.) to enter, to go into
*alatia (n.) backpack, book bag [< Zhyler]
*ale...ave (vt.) to come (see below)
*e (part.) the (definite article, sg.; attaches to prepositions)
*ea'a (adv.) very, really
*elea (vi.) to be happy
*elu (adj.) long
*etielele (n.) winter [< Zhyler]
*fiti (vi.) to be cold
*hetinivie (vi.) to worry, to start worrying
*hi'i (vi.) to be still, to be calm
*i (prep.) marks direct objects; marks general locations and/or times
*ikeve'a (n.) story
*iko (pron.) this
*iloa (n.) shoulder
*io (conj.) but
*ioyo (conj.) however
*ipuke (adv.) forever
*-ki (suf.) marks the applicative construction (see below)
*ka (part.) marks past tense, and that the subject of the sentence is
new or different
*ka'a (n.) crow, raven (whichever word you like better)
*kae (part.) marks past tense, and that the subject of the sentence is
the object (or an object from) of the previous sentence
*kamali'a (n.) teacher
*kana (prep.) near
*ke (part.) marks past tense, and that the subject of the sentence is
identical to the subject of the previous sentence
*ketetetie (n.) sleigh [< Zhyler]
*ketetio (n.) snow [< Zhyler]
*kelea (n.) sorrow
*kopu (vt.) to touch, to feel; (n.) hand
*kuneli (vt.) to get rid of, to ditch, to remove
*kupe (n.) youth, young person
*kupi (vt.) to sit down (on)
*lake (adj.) black
*-le (suf.) because (attaches to subject status markers)
*lili (vt.) to clutch, to hold onto
*malalele (n.) garden [< Zhyler]
*mali'a (n.) student
*mata (vt.) to see, look at
*mei (vt.) to stay, to remain at
*milip (adj.) small
*mopa (n.) wall
*o (prep.) marks the genitive (X o Y = "X of Y")
*oi (conj.) and; during
*-pe (suf.) so that, for, in order to (attaches to subject status
*pea (pron.) 3sg. pronoun that indicates no gender
*po- [1] (pref.) marks the beginning of relative clause (see below)
*po- [2] (pref.) about (like a preposition, but attaches)
*te (vt.) to be on (also a preposition)
*ti (prep.) with (instrumental); marks oblique phrases
*ti'a (n.) time
*-'u (suf.) marks the passive construction
*uoioi (adv.) to really, really try; to try very hard


3 = third person
A = adjective
adj. = adjective
adv. = adverb
conj. = conjunction
G = genitival phrase
N = noun
n. = noun
O = object
part. = particle (generally freestanding)
pref. = prefix
prep. = preposition
pron. = pronoun
R = relative clause
S = subject
sg. = singular
suf. = suffix
V = verb
vi. = intransitive verb
vt. = transitive verb

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March 6th, 2006
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