First Linguifex Relay/Kiwi

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Here follows the Kiwi source text for the First Linguifex Relay. Note that it is strictly forbidden to create public English translations of this text and its derivations while the relay is running, so please avoid doing so. It only spoils the fun. If you are not partaking in the relay, do not worry, a proper translation will be published after the relay has run its course.

This time it's really important you read all the notes.

Kanāti hikaukaʻinā

Ōnatahāʻi wakaʻi, ma keʻeli,
kanāti me telēaheʻ,
kanāti maʻorīnā,
kilāʻ wewiʻakānia nuhuʻ kikaukaʻime,
ʻūluna tāʻingīne wetāʻitelā,
ʻūluna tāʻipīriʻ, ūluna tāʻiwuʻe.
Katā yilāʻ yititelāʻinā
kilāʻ wewiʻakānia nuhuʻ kikaukaʻime,
ʻĀlunu ana me naʻi,
ʻālunu ana taʻahumei taʻ hikōloʻi.

Interlinear gloss

Glossing abbreviations used on this page
Abbreviation Meaning
> transitivity direction
1 first person
2 second person
3 third person
~ reduplication (preceded by its significance)
- morpheme separator
. grammatical function separator
PA paucal
PL plural
VN verbal noun
cX noun class
ADZ adjectiviser or adverbialiser
NOM nominative case
ACC accusative case
INST instrumental case
BEN benefactive case
GEN genitive case
SUPL superlative applicative

Kanāti hikaukaʻinā
kanātia hi-kaukaʻi-nā
Ōnatahāʻi wakaʻi, ma keʻeli,
ōna-tahāʻi wakaʻi- ma keʻeli
kanāti me telēaheʻ
kanāti me telēa-heʻ
kanāti maʻorīnā
kanāti maʻorī-nā
kilāʻ wewiʻakānia nuhuʻ kikaukaʻime
ki-lāʻ we~wiʻakāni-a nuhuʻ ki~kaukaʻi-me
c6-two pl~lover-nom pl~song_bird-inst
ʻūluna tāʻingīne wetāʻitelā
ʻūluna tāʻi-ngīne we-tāʻi-telā c6.adz-gust and-c6.adz-change
ʻūluna tāʻipīriʻ, ʻūluna tāʻiwuʻe.
ʻūluna tāʻi-pīriʻ, ʻūluna tāʻi-wuʻe c6.adz-cold c6.adz-ice
Katā yilāʻ yititelāʻinā
kata-a yi-lāʻ yi-ti~telā-ʻinā c8-two c8.gen-pl~change-gen
kilāʻ wewiʻakānia nuhuʻ kikaukaʻime,
ki-lāʻ we~wiʻakāni-a nuhuʻ ki~kaukaʻi-me
c6-two pl~lover-nom pl~song_bird-inst
ʻĀlunua ana me naʻi,
ʻālunu-a ana me naʻi past not to_speak
ʻĀlunua ana taʻahumei taʻ hikōloʻi.
ʻālunu-a ana taʻahu-mei taʻ-∅ hi-kōloʻi past 3> that.rel-acc c8.adz-secret


All the word appear in their basic form: accusative paucal for nouns, and infinitive or verbal nominal form for verbs. Any additional informaion is provided in the Notes column.

The Kiwi languages has little distinction between noun and verb. Thus, the Notes column will display which function the word has in this text, as well as which classes the nouns have.

Kiwi English Notes
kanāti to sing verbal noun, c8
kaukaʻi song bird noun, c1
tahāʻi to drift, to fly verb
wakaʻi land noun, c6
ma indefinite article article
keʻeli to dream verbal noun, c8
me no, no one negative article
telēa to have a reason, to originate verbal noun, c8
maʻorī to murder, to die verbal noun, c8
lāʻ two numeral
wiʻakāni lover noun, c1
nuhuʻ to swim, to fly verb
ʻūluna ocean noun, c6
ngīne gust noun, c1
telā to change verbal noun, c8
pīriʻ to freeze verbal noun, c8
wuʻe ice noun, c8
kata time noun, c8
ʻĀlunu abyss, the personification of the abyss noun, proper noun, c6
ana morning, PAST particle
naʻi to speak verb
mei to see verb
taʻ that relative pronoun
kōloʻi to conceal, to keep secret verbal noun, c8
we- and conjunction


The following are the cases used in the text.

Kiwi Case Notes
-heʻ benefactive
-me instrumental Has a comitative function, as well as an instrumental one.
-ʻinā, -nā genitive The possessor agrees with the possessee, by means of class prefixes. In this case, the class prefixes do not adjectivise.

If there is no ADZ-prefix on the possessor, the genitive means about.

-a nominative If the subject is not a verbal noun, it gets a marked nominative.
-a accusative If the accusative is a verbal noun, the accusative is marked.
ōna- superlative Denotes movement over something else. This is an applicative of sorts, and thus fixed to the verb.



Kiwi makes no distinction in definiteness. There is an indefinite article, meaning "one", though.

Morphosyntactic alignment and copula

Kiwi is unusual in that it has a marked nominative morphosyntactic system, which means that the nominative is marked on nouns, but the accusative is not. The language also does not have a copula, but two arguments lacking a verb get connected.

  • Anā wōri
ana-a wōri-∅
me-NOM girl-ACC
I am a girl

VN: The verbal noun

Kiwi makes use of verbal nouns when the subject and tense is unknown, or when there is no direct object of the verb. Verbal nouns take many forms in English, in Kiwi, however, they all take the same form, the infinitive::

  • To err is human.
  • I like singing.

  • Ramā miraʻ.
ramā miraʻ
to_regret.VN to_understand.VN
Regretting is to understand.

As it happens, the marked nominative alignment does not apply to verbal nouns. Instead, they get a marked accusative.

  • Wehaʻākani kanātia.
weʻa-ʻākani kanāti-a.
1>3-to_like to_sing.VN-ACC.
I like singing.

cX and ADZ

Kiwi has noun classes, simple as that. To derive adjectives and adverbs, a noun gets a class prefix that agrees with the attributed noun's class.

ʻūluna tāʻikulāʻ
/ʔuːluˈnɑ taːʔɪquˈlaːʔ/
ʻūluna tāʻi-kulāʻ
ocean.c6.PA ADZ.c6-darkness.c8.PA

dark ocean

X>Y: The bipersonal agreement

In the Kiwi language, the object and subject of a transitive verb are both marked with one prefix, this is called bipersonal agreement.

  • A subject X acts upon an object Y.


Fourth person, 4, denotes an obviate third person.