Mis-Dakdek

Miscellaneous Diq-dooq from Chevras HamMis-dakdekim.
"Oh no! The diqueduque geeques are here! Run for the hills!"Godol Hador, 06.29.06 2:45 pm


Languages covered so far:
•Chinese
•Modern Hebrew
•Italian
•Latin
•Yiddish
•English
•Icelandic
•Tok Pisin

Monday, November 28, 2005

Brief intro to TOKPISIN
-------------------------

Tokpisin is a pidgin (though now a creole) spoken in Papua-New Guinea and nearby island groups, that developed as a lingua franca among natives who were in contact with English speakers, and whose native tongues were unintelligible to each other.

One of the remarkable characterisitics of the language is that it can be speedily learned, thus facilitating communication among a populus with over seven hundred native languages.

Bislama (from Beche le mer, a French term for trepang, if I'm not mistaken) is nearly the same as Tokpisin.

Both languages describe rather than invent new words, and in consequence have their own menmonic content, which is fairly transparent for the English speaker.

A few examples:
Asgras = Clothing (arse-grass).
Spakman = Drunkard (sparked person).
Wailpusi = Jungle feline (wild pussycat).
Abus = Wild animal ('bush').
Wantok = Person from the same linguistic group (one-talk).
Mipela yupela olpela (we the people).


My favourite Tokpisin demo-phrase is the not entirely hypothetical "E, yupela bosman bilong im dispela stoa, yu gatim wanpela bokis i gatim marasin bis i bilongim binatang i kaikai laplap na laplap i bagarap na binatang i dai pinis o nogat?"

Storekeeper, do you have mothballs?

[A very important question in a place with numerous insect pests.]


"Hey, you-fellow (counting word for humans and similar large things or creatures) boss-man that is connected with (bilong: general verb, to belong, connected to, related to) this particular unit of (this + fellow: counting word) store (stoa), do you have (gat+im: got him, have) a (one fellow) box which has (he got him) medicine (marasin) beads (bis) that relate to the insect (binatang) that eats cloth (he 'kai kai' 'laplap) and the cloth is destroyed (bagarap) and the insect subsequently dies (he die finish - because of the medicine beads), or not?


Pela is a general term for persons, creatures, things. Like many languages, Tokpisin functions best when numeral coefficients are used.

Bilong, bilong en, bilong im = Belong is a multi-purpose verb.

Bokis = Box, but also box-shaped things. Blakbox = A) Flying fox; B) Term for the feminine generative organ.

Marasin = Medicine, hence chemicals and chemical products, including items toxic to humans.

Binatang = Insect, from Malay animal or creature.

Kaikai = Te eat; from Malayo-Polynesian 'eat', duplicated verb form.

Laplap = Cloth; either from Dutch or German 'rag', or from Melanesian Lavalava (loin-wrap).

Bagarap = Destroyed, ruined (borrowed from the Australians).

Pinis = Completed tense post-fix (finish). Like 'stap' (stop), which indicates an ongoing action (yu mas sit stap = please remain seated. Baimbai balus i stap pinis = eventually the plane will stop moving).


They hold parlementary debates in this language (which should be a hoot to read the transcripts of; the local conservative party is aptly called the 'big-pela parti'), and the Bible has been translated into it - trust me, the Book of Revelations is over the top insanity in tokpisin.


I have to re-review the material, there is much I've grown rusty in.

Moa i kam lukim yu bihain (more later)

5 Comments:

Blogger Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

Pidgins rock.
Creoles rock more, since they're actually living languages.
People are brilliant.
Barukh hu hatzayar ha‘elyon, asher hhalaq mikohhotav lebhanav!

"Bislama" is my favorite language name — "beche la mer" / trepang is a kind of sea slug, right?

11/28/2005 7:43 PM  
Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

I always thought that bislama was simply the North African pronunciation of the Talmudic term בשלמא, meaning that works well and good for Rabbi X.

;-)

11/28/2005 9:33 PM  
Blogger Habib said...

Neo-Melanesian is cool. I read that it actually developed in Australia, with all the workers from New Guinea (the most linguistically diverse place in the world) and various Pacific islands, who came to work on sugar cane farms in Queensland -- and then brought back to New Guinea. One day, I will go to Papua. Sounds cool.

There is a tok pisin translator on the internet: http://www.tok-pisin.com/

11/29/2005 4:49 AM  
Blogger Habib said...

To kill is "killim i dai pinis". Quite poignant, really.

A bra is "banis bilong susu" -- "fence for the breasts".

11/29/2005 4:51 AM  
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