Author Archives: Joel

Plant types

ambuke leafy vegetable
biyuni fragrant plant
bolomana matano (‘bullroarer eye’) croton plant
dalugu greens, leafy vegetables
duna greens, leafy vegetable type
gebaro cucumber
goleme gingerstalk, torch ginger
katimana cucumber
kiyami na tina (‘dog’s mother’) pitcher plant (used in love potions)
lai ginger
latanga toxic and medicinal plant
lei tall grass, swordgrass
linggalingga leafy vegetable (edible, reddish, fast-growing, larger than ambuke)
ogo ginger type, green ginger
singgota plant type (decorative, fragrant)
tala paint, dye
tambuwala wild sugarcane (edible)
yanggo maize, corn

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Tree types

aingge hardwood (dark, used for making handdrums)
amonai soursop
bale tree used for making gunwales
bonama ironwood (used for canoe paddles)
bui beech tree (favored for canoes)
bungana hardwood (with roselike fragrance)
dabaya fish poison tree
gowe conifer type
gubata tree type (slender, pliable, used for smokeracks)
gulengguleng tree type (used for timber)
kalokalowana tree type (used for firewood)
kaseli tree type (favored for canoes)
kosi strychnine tree
laki New Guinea walnut
mamosi tree type (with edible fruit and leaves)
nambola wild fig
naola breadfruit
nawi Malay apple, rose apple, mountain apple
ngaliti hardwood type
nunggununggula tree type (with edible fruit)
ondela casuarina
onzali tree type (medicinal, very bitter, used for cough medicine)
pasa tree type (with edible fruit)
pimbulu-pambulu Tahitian chestnut
sagaliya tree type (used for making canoe gunwales)
sakalamiya tree type
salita sea almond
sambali hardwoood
saniye canoe tree
sawasawagi hardwood (shore tree, casuarina?)
tawame nut tree type
tolonga mangrove
tuwila hardwood
wasala hardwood tree used for canoe paddles
wawali beach hibiscus
yalipa almond
yameyame coral tree
yaume canoe tree
zaza hardwood type (found high in mountains)
zigumi hardwood
zimani acorn (fed to pigs)

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Palm types

bagani fan palm (with unseparated, fanlike fronds)
bala sago palm type (with thorns)
bimbini pandanus type with edible fruit
buli sago palm type (without thorns; with reddish leaf stalk)
buwa areca palm/nut
buwa bunge reddish-pulp areca nut
buwa usouso whitish-pulp areca nut
dawena sago palm type (with thorns)
gabila pandanus type
gingi pandanus fruit
iyaiya sago palm type (thorny and rare)
iyawama sago palm type (with thorns)
kadiya areca type (small, wild, edible nut)
kundu sago (in general)
kutawi sago palm type (without thorns)
lewa black palm (used for spears, ax handles)
mandanga rattan
salana sago palm type (with thorns)
siwi sealing wax palm
soluwe palm type (with folding, separated, fan-shaped fronds)
tebetebe sago palm type (with thorns, rare in Numbami area)
ubu pandanus type
umalau pandanus type (wild)
walola sago palm type (inedible)
yagomi pandanus type
yawanzi palm type
zigi wild areca

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Insect types

zole termite
banekau horsefly
daninggala bee, wasp
dengge bedbug
gulesanga cockroach
gunggu beetle
kandakandami firefly, glowworm
kawanda mosquito
lala spider; spiderweb
langgambusa fly
lola ant
lola ketu ant eggs
zinzitaila horsefly type, small biting fly

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Bird types

binae kingfisher type (small)
duwaduwala bird type
gawagawaka crow
kanakana tern
kananggala parrot
kisuwala cassowary
kokiyo bushfowl
kuwaingkuwaing black cockatoo
makiyangkiyang bird type
manggimbola white bird
mangoza hornbill
mani bird (generic)
mani zole nightjar, frogmouth
mayaga bushfowl
miliyami bird type (bright, red-headed)
mumu pigeon
ogou parrot
okulukulu grass owl
sagola cockatoo (white)
sangawila bird of prey, eagle, owl
saole egret
saumba frigate bird
tolouma kingfisher (hook-billed)
wiwi small black bird
yabeyala na mani gannet, brown-faced booby
zibaya small birds (undifferentiated)

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Mollusk types

gola seashell, mollusk
bambasinga conch shell (blood-mouth)
biya trochus shell
bose turban shell (blotched or spotted)
bulembule cowrie shell (small cowries in general)
bulenda money cowrie
dalugu limpet?
damana augur shell
gingini wati na vase shell type (lit. rock vaseshell)
gingini vase shells
gungamala cerith shell
itaita ark shell?
sambawaya pen shell
susuka cowrie shell (small)
tataleko conch shell (true conch)
temiye giant clam
tonza barnacle
ai usi cowrie shell (humpbacked)
awila kiki cowrie shell
bula cowrie shell (large, white)
dandanggolana giant clam (fluted)
goluwe clam type (elongated)
kalambali sanguin clam
kodo venus clam
koita barnacle
kokoli shell scraper, coconut grater
kokowa nerite shell (plain)
langana conch shell type (spider conch)
lelewa turban shell type (striped or plain)
nano didi marble cone shell (lit. funny face)
ndendeyanga conch shell type (spider conch)
nginza giant clam
sekalekale wedge clam
sisiyaka nerite shell (spotted)
yalausi oyster shell, mother-of-pearl
yamumu venus clam
zekele mud whelk

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Kinship terms

Although the actual words to describe the relationships differ from language to language, the Numbami kinship system is fairly widespread, not just among indigenous peoples in Papua New Guinea and Australia, but also in South India and across North America. In North American terms, Numbami kinship terminology can be classified as of the Iroquois type.

One of the major classificatory criteria of such a system is whether a chain of relationships crosses sex lines or stays within the same sex. For instance, siblings of the same sex (parallel siblings) are distinguished according to whether they are elder or younger than oneself. Siblings of the opposite sex (cross-siblings) are not. Similarly, one’s father’s brothers and mother’s sisters (parallel siblings) are distinguished according to whether they are elder or younger than the respective parent, and their children (parallel cousins) are classified as either elder or younger parallel siblings in accordance with the relative age of their parents.

In contrast, relative age is not regularly distinguished for relatives linked across sex lines, such as one’s father’s sister’s children or mother’s brother’s children (cross-cousins). This lack of age-ranking among cross-cousins may help explain why the gode-lu-gode (‘cousin-to-cousin’) relationship is considered the most open and easygoing among kin relationships.

Numbami kinship terms also show unique morphology. The suffix -(e)we (from ewa ‘female’) marks specifically female equivalents in male–female pairs of terms. And the female suffix also preserves a few older traces of possessive suffixes that used to mark kin terms (and body parts) in a pattern that is very widespread in Oceanic languages, but generally eroded to varying degrees in the Huon Gulf languages of PNG. These traces of older possessive suffixes are discussed below.

amba ‘great-grandfather’
ambanewe ‘great-grandmother’

tumbuna ‘grandson, grandfather’
tumbunewe ‘granddaughter, grandmother’

tama ‘father’ (somewhat archaic or technical in usage)
tina ‘mother’ (somewhat archaic or metaphorical in usage)

mama ‘father’ (both referential and vocative)
awa ‘mother’ (both referential and vocative)

mama bamo ‘father’s elder brother, mother’s elder sister’s spouse’
awa bamo ‘mother’s elder sister, father’s elder brother’s spouse’

mama kae ‘father’s younger brother, mother’s younger sister’s spouse’
awa kae ‘mother’s younger sister, father’s younger brother’s spouse’

sika ‘elder (usually male) parallel sibling (father’s elder brother’s son or mother’s elder sister’s son)’
sikanewe ‘elder female parallel sibling (father’s elder brother’s daughter or mother’s younger sister’s daughter)’

kapa ‘younger (usu. male) parallel sibling (father’s younger brother’s son or mother’s younger sister’s son)’
kapowe ‘younger female parallel sibling (father’s younger brother’s daughter or mother’s younger sister’s daughter)’

lu ‘cross-sibling (woman’s brother or male parallel cousin)’
lunewe ‘female cross-sibling (man’s sister or female parallel cousin)’

gode ‘cross-cousin (mother’s brother’s or father’s sister’s child, usu. male)’
godenewe ‘female cross-cousin (mother’s brother’s or father’s sister’s daughter)’

asowa ‘spouse (husband or wife)’
asosika ‘spouse of one’s elder parallel sibling’
asokapa ‘spouse of one’s younger parallel sibling’

iwa ‘spouse’s (usu. wife’s) cross-sibling’ (TP tambu)
iwanewe ‘husband’s cross-sibling’
kolamundu ‘cross-sibling’s spouse’ (TP tambu)

wowa ‘uncle (mother’s brother or father’s sister’s husband)’
wawe ‘aunt (father’s sister or mother’s brother’s wife)’

natu ‘offspring, son (of self or parallel sibling)’
natunewe ‘daughter (of self or parallel sibling)’

tamota ‘nephew (son of cross-sibling or cross-cousin)’
tamotewe ‘niece (daughter of cross-sibling or cross-cousin)’

In Numbami, possessive suffixes have been lost everywhere except on a handful of kin terms. (They are eroded, but somewhat better preserved in Jabêm and even better preserved in Iwal.) Even where the suffixes survive, however, they only distinguish the person, not the number, of the possessor. They are also highly variable in actual usage, and almost always redundant because the possessor is also marked by a full pronoun. (The only exceptions are a few vocatives, like tumbu-gi-to ‘my collective grandsons’). If one is ever unsure about which form to use, the safest choice seems to be -n-ewe, which used to signal a 3rd-person singular possessor.

Compare the following:

nanggi lu ‘my (usu. male) cross-sibling’
anami lu ‘your (usu. male) cross-sibling’
ena lu ‘her (usu. male) cross-sibling’

nanggi lunggewe/lunewe ‘my female cross-sibling’
anami lumewe/lunewe ‘your female cross-sibling’
ena lunewe ‘his female cross-sibling’

nanggi gode ‘my (usu. male) cross-cousin’
anami gode ‘your (usu. male) cross-cousin’
ena gode ‘his/her (usu. male) cross-cousin’

nanggi godenewe/godenggewe ‘my female cross-cousin’
anami godenewe/godemewe ‘your female cross-cousin’
ena godenewe ‘his/her female cross-cousin’

NOTE: The formerly 3rd-person suffix -n- also shows up in a few body-part compounds, as in tanga-n-owa ‘ear(hole)’, nisi-n-owa ‘nose(hole)’, tai-n-owa ‘arse(hole)’ and the words for male and female genitals, all of which are external body parts whose holes perform vital bodily functions!

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Kulakula tinisi bani na (Work cooking food)

This account was told by a schoolteacher’s wife in her 50s, on 16 December 1976, in Siboma village, Morobe Province, PNG. Listen to it here:

Ewesika ndi kulakula ti-nisi bani na.
women their work they-boil food of
Women’s work cooking food.

Ewesika usouso aindi bani i-ye kapala woya-ma.
women white their food it-lie house ready-ly
White women, their food lies in a house ready.

Ti-ki bani i-ye kapala ti-baga bani na
they-put food it-lie house they-buy food of
They put food in a house for buying food [= food store]

wa ai ti-ambi goleyawa ti-wesa ti-ambuli bani i-ye kapala ti-baga bani na
and them they-hold money they-go they-buy food it-lie house they-buy food of
and they take money and go buy food at the food store

wa ti-nggewe ti-wesa ti-nisi i-ye aindi kapala.
and they-carry they-go they-boil it-lie their house
and carry it and go cook it at their house.

Aito aindi ekapakolapa asowa to, aito ti-ani ti-mi kapala lalo.
them.few their girls.boys spouse with them.few they-eat they-dwell house inside
They and their children and spouses, they eat [it] in their houses.

Wa i ewesika kikiya, inami kulakula bamo ano-ma.
and us women black our work big true-ly
But us black women, we have a lot of work.

Ika wa-nggo na-nggo tuwatuwa ditako su inami kulakula bani na.
so I-say I’ll-say story a.little on our work food of
So I want to talk a little bit about our food work.

Ikana inggo i ma-wasa ma-mi uma,
so when us we-go we-dwell garden
So, when we go to the garden,

ma-pai kulakula ka na-nggo:
we-do work as I’ll-say
we do work like the following:

Ma-so ane,
we-plant
We plant taro,

ma-pai wai
we-do weeds
we weed,

ma-so undi iwoya,
we-plant banana sucker
we plant banana suckers,

ma-so towi iwoya,
we-plant sugarcane sucker
we plant sugarcane suckers,

ma-pai kulakula uma na ikana,
we-do work garden of thus
we do garden work like that,

ma-pai ma-mi beleya.
we-do we-dwell no.more
and we keep working until we finish.

Tako, ma-woti ma-ma ma-nggewe bani.
okay, we-descend we-come we-carry food
Okay, we come back down carrying food.

Ma-nggewe ane,
we-carry taro
We carry taro,

ma-nggewe undi,
we-carry banana
we carry bananas,

ma-nggewe // ma-tawi igabo.
we-carry // we-dig sweet.potato
we carry // we dig sweet potatoes,

Tako, ma-nggewe su // ma-waya su wali ma-nggewe ma-ma su teteu.
okay, we-carry to // we-wrap in netbag we-carry we-come to village
Okay, we carry them to // we put them in netbags and carry them back to the village.

Tako, ma-waga bani na wosa.
okay, we-divide food this apart
Okay, we divide the food up.

I-u luwa:
it-become two
Into two parts:

ma-ki inggo ni-ye gaya wambanama na i-ye susuna,
we-put [it] SAY it-lie morrow morning Th it-lie corner
we put it if it’s for the next morning in the corner,

wa manu inggo mana-nisi na ma-ki i-ye maina-ma.
and which SAY we’ll-boil Th we-put it-lie other-ly
and that which we plan to cook we place separately.

Ta ma-yaki manu inggo mana-nisi na, ma-yaki beleya,
That we-pare which SAY we’ll-boil Th we-pare no.more
Then we pare that which we plan to cook until we finish;

tako, ma-poni yawi.
okay, we-kindle fire
okay, we light the fire.

Ma-poni yawi beleya,
we-kindle fire no.more
We finish lighting the fire,

wa ma-ki bani manu ma-yaki na su ulanga.
and we-put food which we-pare Th in pot
and we put the food we’ve pared into the pot.

Ma-ki tina,
we-put freshwater
We add freshwater,

ma-ki tai,
we-put saltwater
we add saltwater,

wa, tako, ma-kuwa gauma.
and okay we-cover lid
and, okay, we put the lid on.

Beleya wai,
no.more Fin
That’s done,

wa, tako, ma-nggewe bele kele ma-wasa su tina.
and okay we-carry plate dirty we-go to river
and, okay, we take the dirty dishes to the river.

Bani manu yaweni i-ndo,
food aforesaid fire.eat it-sit
(While) that food stays cooking,

ma-wasa ma-uya bele
we-go we-wash plate
we go wash the dishes,

wa, ma-yuma tina beleya
and we-bathe river no.more
and we finish bathing

wa, tako, ma-ma.
and okay we-come
and, okay, we come back.

Ma-koko ulanga ma-ki su kisa
we-lift pot we-put to aside
We lift the pot off the fire

wa ma-wesa bani
and we-distribute food
and we dish out the food.

Ma-ki bele manu ma-yawali i-wete inami asowa to ekapakolapa, ito tiyamama.
we-put plate aforesaid we-spread it-count our spouse with girls.boys us.few all
We spread those plates [we mentioned] out for our spouse and children, for all of us.

Inggo tae-wembi inami iba-wa-wawe katalu,
SAY belly-it.hold our in-laws some
If we think of some of our in-laws,

ma-ki bele katalu totoma.
we-put plate some along.with
we put out some extra plates.

ma-wesa bani manu i-wete bele manu i-wesa beleya,
we-distribute food aforesaid it-count plate aforesaid it-go no.more
We dish out the food into each plate until there’s no more,

tako, ito tiyamama ma-tamu ata ma-ani bani manu.
okay us.few all we-join selves we-eat food aforesaid
okay, we [collective] all join together in eating the food.

Bani inggo bamo,
food SAY much
If there’s a lot of food,

eta ma-ani go,
then we-eat after
then after we eat

ma-ki katalu i-ye lalawila wa towambana inggo mana-ani.
we-put some it-lie afternoon and night SAY we’ll-eat
we leave some until the afternoon and evening for us to eat.

Inggo bani ditako,
SAY food a.little
If there’s [only] a little food,

ma-ani tiyamama beleya.
we-eat [it] all no.more
we eat it all up.

Ewesika tiyamama eta ma-mi puta na
women all that we-dwell earth Th
All of us women who live on the earth,

inami kulakula bamo ano-ma su kulakula eta bani na.
our work much true-ly on work that food of
we really have a lot of work to do preparing food.

Kulakula tako,
work that’s.all,
That’s all the work,

Eta na-nggo tuwatuwa tupe ikana.
That I’ll-say story short thus
So I’ll stop my story short like this.

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Kulakula kundu na (Sago work)

This account of sago processing was told by Sawanga Aliau, a former Jabêm schoolteacher and Siboma village leader in his 50s in early December 1976 in Morobe Province, PNG. Listen to the full story here:

Kulakula kunda na
work sago of
Sago work

Tae-nembi inggo tana-lapa kundu te,
belly-hold Say yumi-beat sago one
If we’re thinking of beating a sago palm,

takalama aita tana-nggewe yawanzi, nuta, wanginda.
today yumi yumi-carry sheath, webbing, pounder,
today we’ll bring the sheathes, the webbing, the pounders;

Nomba tatena, tana-ki woyama ni-ye.
thing this, yumi-put ready it-lie
These things, we place ready.

Gaya, go ta ta-tala kundu tomu.
morrow after that yumi-chop sago severed
The next day, we chop down the sago.

Inggo ta-tala kundu tomu na,
Say yumi-chop sago severed Rel
When we chop the sago down,

a kole luwa mo toli ina-wosa ina-tala tomu.
maybe man two or three they-go they-chop severed
maybe two or three men will go chop it down.

Tako, ta lawa katalu ina-wasa ina-tamu,
okay then people some they-go they-join
Okay, then, some [other] people go join them,

wa, tako ina-so gilu.
and okay they-stab spines
and, okay, they’ll strike off the spines.

Wa lawa teulu, ina-ambi siyala ina-ma.
and people part they-take pole they-come
and one group will bring poles.

Ina-so gilu inggo beleya,
they-stab spines Say no.more
They’ll strike off the spines until they’re done,

tako, ina-so wosa.
okay, they-stab broken
okay, they’ll pry it open.

Ina-ambi yawa
they-take husk
They’ll take the husk

wa ina-so wosa.
and they-stab broken
and pry it open.

Ina-so wosa ni-wesa beleya,
they-stab broken it-go no.more
They’ll pry it open until it’s finished,

tako, ina-ki lawa lomosanga na wa lawa ina-lapa na.
okay they-set people rinsing of and people they-beat of
okay, they’ll set people for rinsing and people to pound.

Lawa lomosanga na ata ina-nggewe aindi kundu kapole wa nomba gabagaba ina-wasa ina-ki su tina.
people rinsing of later they-carry their sago stalk and thing various they-go they-put to river
The people for rinsing will then carry their sago stalks and things over to the river.

Lawa wanginda na, ewesika teulu, tamota teulu, ata ina-lapa.
people pounders of women part men part later they-beat
The pounder people, part women, part men, will then pound.

Wa ewesika teulu ina-ambi kundu ulasa ni-wesa su tina.
and women part they-take sago pulp it-go to river
And part of the women will take the sago pulp over to the river.

Go ta, lawa lomosanga na ina-lomosa.
after that people rinsing of they-rinse
Whereupon, the rinsing people will rinse it.

Wanginda na lawa, wa ina-yatingi kundu ni-wesa tina na ena lawa, ai ina-pai beleya,
pounder its people and they-transport sago it-go river of its people them they-do no.more
The pounder people, and who transport the sago to the river, those people, they’ll finish,

tako, ina-wasa su teteu,
okay they-go to village
okay, they’ll go to the village

ina-walanga ata.
they-release self
and relax.

Wa, ai lawa lomosanga na, ai ina-pai kulakula ka ina-mi.
and them people rinsing of them they-do work like they-dwell
And, those rinsing people, they’ll keep right on working.

Ina-lomosa ka ina-mi inggo ina-yanggo
they-rinse like they-dwell Say they-see
They keep on rinsing until they see

kundu na ulasa i-tabinga inggo beleya,
sago its pulp it-close Say no.more
the sago pulp is almost finished,

orait, ina-nggo binga denga lawa katalu [manu ti-walanga ata na],
alright they-say word to people some Wh they-release self Rel
okay, they’ll send word to some of the people who are resting,

ina-nggo, tako, muna-ambi damu wa walasa.
they-say okay yupl-hold torchfronds and rope
they’ll say, okay, “Bring torch fronds and rope.”

Ai ina-wasa ina-ambi damu wa walasa ina-ma ina-kalati woyama.
them they-go they-hold torchfrond and rope they-come they-fix ready
They’ll go fetch torch fronds and rope and come get them ready.

Wa ai lawa [eta ti-lomosa] ina-nggo beleya,
and them people that they-rinse they-say no.more
and those people who are rinsing, they’ll announce they’re finished,

tako, ina-ambi gogowa wai,
okay they-take chutes Fin
okay, they’ll take the washing chutes away,

wa, tako, ina-lapa tina tomu,
and okay they-beat water severed
and, okay, they’ll draw off the water

wa ina-so kundu na ano.
and they-stab sago its essence
and hit the sago starch.

Ina-yawali nutai,
they-spread webbing
They’ll spread out the coconut webbing,

wa, tako, ina-ki kundu na ano suwa.
and okay they-put sago its essence onto
and, okay, they’ll put the sago starch onto it.

Lawa [manu ti-ambi damu wai ti-ma i-ye woyama], ata ina-nggo binga de ata
people [Wh they-hold frond Fin they-come it-lie ready] later they-say word to self
The people who have brought the torch fronds ready, then they’ll say to each other,

ina-nggo ka ina-kalati sa [inggo ina-lalangi kundu na].
they-say like they-fix place Say they-scorch sago Rel
“Let them fix the place for scorching the sago.”

Tako, ina-kalati sa beleya,
okay 3pIr-fix place no.more
Okay, they’ll finish fixing the place,

wa lawa ina-usingi kundu.
and people they-shape sago
and [other] people will shape the sago.

Ina-usingi kundu su gogowa.
they-shape sago in chute
They’ll shape the sago in the [washing] chutes.

Ina-usingi ni-wesa beleya,
they-shape sago they-go no.more
They’ll finish shaping the sago,

tako, ina-poni yawi.
okay they-kindle fire
okay, they’ll build a fire.

Kole ni-ambi damu dudu na mainama.
man he-hold frond tip the separate.
A man will hold the torch frond tips separately.

E ata ni-tutuni damu dudui wai,
him later he-ignite frond tip Fin
He’ll later ignite the frond tips,

tako, e ni-ambi tamu ni-ndo
okay him he-hold together it-stay
okay, he’ll stay holding them together

wa ni-badami inggo ina-yatingi kundu,
and he-wait Say they-transport sago
and wait until they move the sago,

ina-ambi ina-ki su sak [manu ti-kalati wai woyama].
they-hold they-put on place Wh they-fix Fin ready
until they take it and put it on the place they’ve prepared.

Eana, ina-ki ni-wesa inggo beleya,
this they-put it-go Say no.more
This, they’ll keep putting there until it’s done,

tako, kole yawi na i-tutuni yawi.
okay man fire of he-ignite fire
okay, the fire man lights the fire.

Tako, ina-ki damu ni- ni-nzeka kundu,
okay they-put frond it-[go] they-lie.on sago
Okay, they’ll place the fronds on top of the sago,

wa e ni-ki yawi ni-solonga.
and him he-put fire it-enter
and he’ll put the fire into it.

Yaweni.
fire.eat
It burns.

Yaweni ni-mi inggo beleya,
fire.eat it-dwell Say no.more
It keeps burning until it’s done,

tako, ina-ambi kundu dudu lau te ina-ma,
okay they-hold sago tip leaf one they-come
okay, they’ll bring a [type of] sago leaf tip

wa ta kundu lau na, ti-kamba ti-nggo ka sunimbani.
and that sago leaf the they-call they-say like sunimbani
and that sago leaf, they call sunimbani.

Ina-ambi ina-ma
they-hold they-come
They’ll bring it

wa ina-wou yawi gaula [manu yaweni na].
and they-whisk fire ash Wh fire-eat Rel
and they’ll whisk the ash that’s burnt.

Ai ina-wou ina-mi,
them they-whisk they-dwell
They’ll keep whisking it,

tako, wiya anoma.
okay, good truly
okay, very good.

Go ta, tako ina-usa.
after that okay they-slice
Whereupon, okay, they’ll slice it.

Ina-usa kundu, ena [manu yaweni], ina-usa,
they-slice sago its Wh fire-eat they-slice
They’ll slice the sago, its burnt part, they’ll slice

wa ina-kowa ena baloga.
and they-peel its crust
and they’ll peel off its crust.

Ina-kowa ena baloga,
they-peel its crust
They’ll peel off its crust,

tako, ina-ambi ina-wasa ina-ki ni-ye mainama.
okay they-hold they-go they-put it-lie separate
okay, they’ll take it and place it separately.

Wa kundu ketu, kundu ano, eana ina-ambi kundu lau ina-ma, to walasa ma ina-ma.
and sago egg sago essence this they-hold sago leaf they-come with rope Adv they-come
And the inside of the sago, the sago essence, this, they’ll bring sago leaves and come, along with rope.

Tako, ina-so nusa.
okay they-stab envelope
Okay, they’ll tie a leaf envelope.

Ina-so nusa ka ina-yomba.
they-stab envelope like they-wrap
They’ll tie a leaf envelope, like wrapping it.

Ina-yomba,
they-wrap
They’ll wrap it,

tako, ina-so nusa beleya,
okay they-stab envelope no.more
okay, they’ll finish tying the envelopes,

tako, ina-zubusa kundu bamo na ni-pi sesemi ni-ye,
okay they-pile.up sago much the it-upon one it-lie
okay, they’ll pile most of the sago up in one place

wa ena baloga ina-bada de lawa kulakula na,
and its crust they-distribute to people work of
and its mantle, they’ll distribute to the workers

[manu ti-lomosa na mo ti-lapa wanginda na, mo ti-yatingi kundu i-wesa su tina na],
Wh they-rinse Rel or they-beat pounder Rel or they-transport sago 3s-go to river Rel
who rinsed, or wielded the pounders, or transported the sago to the river,

ena baloga ina-bada de ai.
its crust they-distribute to them
its mantle, they’ll distribute to them.

Wa kundu ano, ai ina-nggewe ni-wesa su kapala
and sago essence them they-carry it-go to house
And the sago starch, they’ll carry to the house

go ta, tako, ina-bada de lawa [manu ti-pai kulakula ], ewesika, tamota, lawa [manu ti-lapa wanginda na].
after that okay they-distribute to people Wh they-do work women men people Wh they-beat pounder Rel
then, okay, they’ll distribute it to the people who did the work, women, men, people who wielded the pounders.

Ina-bada de ai ni-wesa beleya.
they-distribute to them it-go no.more
They’ll finish distributing it to them.

Wa kundu nata, aindi ni-ye inggo ina-ani.
and sago owner theirs it-lie Say they-eat
And the palm owners, theirs will lie [ready] for them to eat.

Te kulakula kundu.
Topic work sago
And that’s sago work.

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Nomba eta kunda na (Sago)

This introduction to sago was told by Sawanga Aliau, a former Jabêm schoolteacher and Siboma village leader in his 50s in early December 1976 in Morobe Province, PNG. Listen to the full story here:

Nomba eta kunda na.
The thing known as sago.

Kundu e bani tema, Niu Gini Papua ndi bani matana i-tamu ane,
sago it food one New Guinea Papua their food early it-join taro
Sago is a kind of food, Papua New Guineans’ original food, along with taro,

go ta bani kakapi katalu i-ma i-tamu.
after that food small some it-come it-join
after which some minor foods have come along.

Eta ti-kamba ti-nggo ka bani.
These they-call they-say like food
These they call “food” [or “staples”].

Sese kundu alu ane, e bani matana.
but sago and taro they food early
But sago and taro, they were the original foods.

kundu, ena lau wa kapole, ena wambala tiyamama nomba sesemi,
sago its leaf and stalk its cargo all thing one&same
Sago, its leaf and stalk, all its content is the same,

sese ena bolo luwa,
but its skin two
but its skin is of two types:

tema to luli,
one with thorn
one with thorns,

tema luli mou.
one thorn none
one without thorns.

To luli, ti-kamba ti-nggo kundu bala
with thorn they-call they-say sago bala
With thorns, they call bala sago,

tema, ti-nggo kundu iyawama
one they-say sago iyawama
one, they call iyawama sago,

tema, ti-nggo dawena.
one they-say dawena
one, they call dawena.

Wa kundu luli mou na, ti-kamba te, ti-nggo ka kutawi,
and sago thorn none of they-call one they-say like kutawi
And the sago without thorns, they call one kutawi,

wa te, ti-nggo ka buli
and one they-say like buli
and one, they call buli.

Aluwa-ndi wambala wa golonga nomba sesemi,
two-their cargo and adornment thing one&same
The content and foliage of the two is the same,

Sese, ai ti-ambi (= tembi) ase eta minamaina.
but, them they-take name that various
but they take names that are various.

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