Kamakawi Nouns

Nouns in Kamakawi aren't too difficult, since Kamakawi lacks noun cases and (much) nominal inflectional morphology. Nevertheless (and because I'm saying it on the web, you know it must be the truth), Kamakawi nouns are the most difficult nouns to come to terms with on Earth! FEEEEEEEEEEAR!!!

Your Basic Noun (or, Definition)

Your basic noun (hereafter, YBN) is nothing to be feared (hereafter, NTBF). Indeed, it's really quite simple (hereafter, IIRQS). So, let's start off with a couple of examples (hereafter, SLSOWACOE):

nawa ("fish")
hopoko ("man")

These are two pretty standard nouns. They pick out a concrete object on Earth that can be pointed to (my apologies to Mr. Persig) and ridiculed, should the need arise. As such, you can have just any old one of these, or a specific one. In Kamakawi, as in English, this distinction is important, and it's marked by the definite article e. So, to contrast:

nawa = "A fish"
e nawa = "The fish"
hopoko = "A man"
e hopoko = "The man"

This shouldn't be too difficult to broob one's kotion around. So, next, the idea of plurality comes into play. After all, what happens if you want more than one noun? Well, three different things happen, as fate should have it. In Kamakawi, there are four different numbers: Singular, dual, trial, and plural. What that means is that there are separate ways to deal with groups of two, groups of three, and groups of four or more. Fortunately, it's not that difficult. The numbers for two and three in Kamakawi are ka and no, respectively. To form the dual and trial, you simply suffix those guys onto the noun in question. Here are examples:

nawa + ka > nawaka* = "Two fish"
e nawaka = "The two fish"
hopoko + no > hopokono* = "Three men"
e hopokono = "The three men"

*Note: These suffixes do not affect the word's stress. Example: nawa ['na.wa]; nawano ['na.wa.no].

And there you have it. When you get to groups of four or more, though, a new wrinkle is added. As it turns out, there's a second definite article in Kamakawi! This definite article comes before plural (i.e., more than four) nouns, and its form is u. Some more lovely examples:

u nawa = "(The) fish"
u hopoko = "(The) men"

Notice that I put "the" in parentheses. This is because, since there's no plural indefinite article in Kamakawi (indeed, no indefinite article at all), the plural definite article is used to indicate the plurality of an object whether it's definite or indefinite. Context usually straightens things out.

Another thing you may have noticed is that if this is the plural definite article, then e must be the singular. Yet, it's used before dual and plural nouns! Insanity! Yet, that's what we have to deal with.

How Many Fish? (Or, Mass Nouns)

One odd thing about the word "fish" in English is that it is both a count and a mass noun. What I mean by mass noun is that you can say the following: "Fish is good." Try that with "man": *Man is good. Should sound strange, unless "Man" is someone's name, or a new type of food. In Kamakawi, the word nawa is not a mass noun. In other words, the plain word nawa means "a fish", and not "fish en masse". In Kamakawi, words that are mass nouns never take articles. In fact, if you ever see a mass noun with an article in front of it, that means that it's become a count noun. Neat trick, huh?

One way to make a count noun out of a mass noun is to prepose it with the words ape o, which mean "one of". This is very common in Kamakawi. Here are some examples:

teve ("blood") > ape o teve = "drop of blood"
fale ("grass") > ape o fale = "blade of grass"
neki ("hair") > ape o neki = "strand of hair"
kava ("fire") > ape o kava = "lick of flame"
kopu ("hand") > ape o kopu = "finger"

As you can see, some of these are quite different from English. For example, "hand", in Kamakawi, is just like the word "hair". So you could say "give me your hand", just like "give me your hair", but you can't say "That is a hand", just like you couldn't say "That is a hair" (when referring to the whole thing), or "That is a water", or "That is a blood".

Let's Get Together (or, Compounds)

Compounds are many and numerous in Kamakawi. That is to say, it's not uncommon, but not common. Compounds are formed by suffixing an adjective to a noun. Really, though, you can suffix pretty much any word to a noun, and it will act like an adjective, via Kamakawi's hugely productive process of zero-derivation. Examples:

penute (n., "tower") + lu (adj., "eye-catching") = "lighthouse"
nawa (n., "fish") + naka (n., "carrot") = "goldfish"
leleya (n., "turtle") + kupi (v., "to sit") = "honu*"

*Note: This is a type of sea turtle particular to Hawai'i ala that comes up on shore to sun itself for hours at a time. It appears dead to those who don't know its habits.

Another form of compounding is the compounding you've seen with ape o, and involves the genitive marker o. Here's an example:

i'u (n., "eyebrow") + o (gen.) + ele (n., "sky") = "dark clouds in an otherwise bright sky"

Derivation (or, Derivation)

There's lots of derivation in Kamakawi. Too much. It's like a mountain riding a mountain range. I'll run down the basics, and leave the rest to the wind.

To start off, you should know that there are two sets of derivational affixes in Kamakawi: Productive, and non- or semi-productive. This is the case with most languages. And, as is the case with most languages, the most common derivational affixes you'll find are the non- or semi-productive. Go fig. For example, in German, you have plurals being formed by adding -er, or -n, or -en, or -e, and then all these umlauts, and such, but what's the productive plural suffix—that is, the one that, if a new word is introduced into the language, will be suffixed to said new word? That's right: -s. It doesn't even look German! Yet, that's the way the cookie bounces down the stairs.

So, first, I'd like to list the fully productive derivational affixes of Kamakawi, because there aren't many, and they're regular. Here they are:

Productive Derivational Affixes

-'o (masculine): maka "crab" > maka'o "male crab"
-ne (feminine): maka "crab" > makane "female crab"
-ká (human agent): hetake "to try on" > hetakeká "model"
-tiá (mech. agent): hevaka "wind, breeze" > hevakatiá "blowdrier"

The first two affixes aren't used much, and the second two, you may notice, have acute accents above the vowels. This is because these accents carry stress. Ordinarily, affixes in Kamakawi don't do that. These do, though, because Kamakawi, not unlike the language of Hawai'i, has been exposed to another language which gave it much of its technological vocabulary, as well as its vocabulary for off-island products (cows, sheep, apples, etc.). What language is this, you may ask? It's a secret! The world will never know.

Non- or Semi-Productive Derivational Affixes

-li- (professional): pupu "to work" > pulipu "worker, employee"
-wV- (negative): feiki "growth" > feweiki "overgrowth"
                           olo "sleep" > owolo "restless sleep"
                           lave "rain" > lawave "hurricane"
                           nikula "good health" > niwikula "poor health"
                           puke "completion" > pu'uke "incompletion"

As I hope my examples showed, the capital V indicates that the vowel is dictated by the previous vowel in the word. Another thing you may have noticed is that these two affixes come somewhere in the middle of the word (actually, after the first non-derived syllable). This is what's known as an infix, and Kamakawi used to be full of them. Now, sadly, there are only three (can you find the third!). Nevertheless, these two are fairly productive—the second moreso than the first. The second is simply a pejorative, and does to words what it did above. The first, however, used to be an agent infix, and has since been replaced by -ká. It's now commonly used to denote an artist, a professional, or a craftsman. You'll see them nowadays on Kamakawi shop signs, with vendors trying to make themselves look more legitimate or high-brow by calling themselves Apulile, though often they can't even place the infix correctly (it should have been Alipule). Nevertheless, it exists, and occurs in words quite frequently.

ne- (completion): fa'a "search" > neva'a "discovery"
-i/-ki (diminutive): ke "tooth" > kei "baby tooth"
-kV (abstract): teviki "mouse" > tevikiki "xenophobia"
i- (part): kala "to talk" > ikala "conversation"

These are rare affixes, and don't actually appear all that much, or if they do appear, they're hardly recognizable (as is the case with "mouse" to "xenophobia". The trace would be: Mice act scared and run away from everything. Xenophobes are afraid of everyone they don't know). Well, actually the diminutive is fairly productive—about as productive as the -y suffix in English that makes a noun into an adjective. Oh, and the second form, the -ki form, is used after words that end in i. Lastly, the i- prefix was enormously productive. More than 70% of Kamakawi words that begin with i are a product of this prefix. What it does is it picks out the instance of an action from a verb (so, from "to swim", you get "(a/the) swim"), or it picks out a piece of a larger object, or something random. It's a wonderful prefix, and I recommend you get to know it.

Finally, there are a few other processes one encounters in Kamakawi that are rare, and definitely not productive. Here are a couple:

paki "to build" > papaki "builder"
kava "fire" > kakava "blaze (large fire)"
kavi "large" > kavikavi "important person"
ete "tap" > etete "slap"
ta "sand" > te "sandiness"
ieletapana "apple" > ieletapanapana "apple juice"
emi "person" > he'emi "baby"

Most of these are reduplicative forms—a once productive process in Kamakawi. Others have unknown origins... Mysterious!

We're almost done, but we forgot the one method of derivation that's most common (and still productive) in Kamakawi today: zero-derivation. Zero-derivation is a process where you take a word, and then use it again, without altering it at all. Example from English would be "a talk" coming from "to talk", or "to ball" (nonstandard) coming from "ball". Nearly every word in Kamakawi can be zero-derived, so I'll just give a couple examples:

meyeli (adj.) fuzzy > (n.) fuzz
ele (adj.) blue > (n.) sky
kuponeke (v.) to distrust > (n.) one who is distrustful
tomi (v.) to name > (n.) name
pupule (v.) to employ > (n.) employment

That just about does it for nouns. If you have any more question, feel free to ask Iko, who is eager to slake your undying thirst for knowledge.

Back to Kamakawi Main

This page was last modified on Thursday, March 5, 2009.
This website was last modified on .
This page can be viewed normally, as a milk or dark chocolate bar, in sleek black and white, or in many other ways!
All languages, fonts, pictures, and other materials copyright © 2003- David J. Peterson.

free counters