Friday, 16 July 2004

Tok Pisin

This means talk business and is a language (technically, it’s the creolized Melanesian Pidgin) spoken in Papua New Guinea; it is an official language and the most widely used. You can read all about it in the excellent free encyclopaedia Wikipedia, where you will learn, for example, that the word for 'moustache' is mausgras - literally 'mouth grass'.

This seems to make very good sense, but I am less sure about some of the longer expressions they are said to use. I can just about swallow liklik box you pull him he cry you push him he cry as their word for ‘accordion’, but surely they would find it much easier to say ‘rifle’ than bigfella iron walking stick him go bang along topside?

Talking now of Vanuatu, those who do not already know just why the Duke of Edinburgh (oldfella Pili-Pili him b’long Missy Queen, possibly?) is regarded there as a supernatural being, and what part a certain Mr Wilkins played in this matter, should look


Anonymous said...

Pidgin can give some interesting results...once, whilst interviewing a pidgin speaker, I asked her who was the father of her child. The interpreter rendered this as "Who you do fuk-fuk with get baby?"!

Tony said...

Thank you, Anonymous, I shall remember that.
Pidgin does have a certain ring to it, doesn't it?