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Tok Pisin Texts

Varieties of English Around the World

General Editor
Edgar W. Schneider
Department of English & American Studies
University of Regensburg
Universitätsstraße 31

Editorial Assistants
Alexander Kautzsch, Magnus Huber (Regensburg)

Editorial Board
Laurie Bauer (Wellington); Manfred Görlach (Cologne);
Rajend Mesthrie (Cape Town); Peter Trudgill (Fribourg);
Walt Wolfram (Raleigh, NC)

Text Series

Volume T9
Tok Pisin Texts: From the beginning to the present
Edited by Peter Mühlhäusler, Thomas E. Dutton and Suzanne Romaine
Tok Pisin Texts
From the beginning to the present

Edited by

Peter Mühlhäusler
University of Adelaide

Thomas E. Dutton
The Australian National University

Suzanne Romaine
University of Oxford

John Benjamins Publishing Company

TM The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements
of American National Standard for Information Sciences – Permanence
of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ansi z39.48-1984.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Tok Pisin texts : from the beginning to the present / edited by Peter
Mühlhäusler, Thomas E. Dutton, Suzanne Romaine.
p. cm. (Varieties of English Around the World, issn 0172–7362 ; v. T9)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Tok Pisin language--Texts. I. Mühlhäuser, Peter. II. Dutton,
Thomas Edward, 1935- III. Romaine, Suzanne, 1951- IV. Varieties of
English around the world. Text series ; v. 9.

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Table of contents

Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 1

Peter Mühlhäusler
1. Introduction1
2. Name and area of distribution2
3. External history of Tok Pisin5
4. Internal history of Tok Pisin8
5. The phonology of Tok Pisin13
6. Inflectional morphology14
7. Syntax16
7.1 General remarks16
7.2 Word classes16
7.3 Pronouns17
7.4 The noun phrase19
7.5 The verb phrase20
7.6 Simple sentences20
7.7 Expansion of simple sentences21
7.8 Conjoined (co-ordinated) sentences22
7.9 Embedding of sentences22
8. The lexicon of Tok Pisin25
9. Conclusions33
10. Appendix: Some brief remarks on the texts33

I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman

(the Good Old Days of the German Administration) 35
Text 1: The earliest evidence for Pidgin English in the New Guinea area,
Text 2: Statements by New Irelanders recruited to the sugar plantations
of Queensland, 1880s36
Text 3: Reminiscences of a missionary, 1880s37
vi Table of contents

Text 4: Recruitment of labour, New Britain 1880s39

Text 5: A list of Pidgin English expressions, 188340
Text 6: Early spread of Tok Pisin42
Text 7: German New Guinea, early 1900s44
Text 8: Early phonogram recording, 190445
Text 9: First scholarly account of Tok Pisin, 191147
Text 10: Ethno-psychological study, 191349
Text 11: Letters, 191350
Text 12: Evidence given in a murder trial, c.191251
Text 13: Translation of the Geneva Convention, c.191452
Text 14: Proclamation, 191454
Text 15: Examples of Tok Pisin used by the police force, c.192155

II. Indigenous voices 1920–1945 57

Text 16: Earliest recorded song, 192257
Text 17: Margaret Mead’s observations, 193158
Text 18: German-influenced Tok Pisin (PM)59
Text 19: Story by a Native policeman, 194359
Text 20: Letter, 1939 (PM)61
Text 21: Dispute about a pig, 193062

III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 65

Text 22: Extracts from a grammar and dictionary, 192465
Text 23: Native labour ordinance, 192466
Text 24: The Lord’s Prayer68
Text 25: ‘Guidance for learning the Tok Boi’, a language lesson, 193070
Text 26: First serial in Tok Pisin, 193571
Text 27: A hymnal, 193873
Text 28: Second World War propaganda leaflet76

IV. Indigenous voices 1950–1970 79

Text 29: Ginger planting, 1950s79
Text 30: Highlands Tok Pisin, 1960s: A story about a snake81
Table of contents vii

V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 87

Text 31: Two narratives, 1973 (PM)87
Text 32: Tok Baksait and Tok Bokis, 194990
Text 33: Tok piksa, talking in metaphors, 1976 (PM)91
Text 34: Playful insults, 1976 (PM)93
Text 35: A conversation around a snooker table, 1976 (PM)93
Text 36: The story of the loaves and fishes (1) (SR)95
Text 37: Extract from a council meeting, East Sepik District, 197297
Text 38: Baby and caretaker talk102
Text 39: Interview about war experiences (TD)103
Text 40: Interview with a field manager (TD)109
Text 41: Traditional story (TD)115
Text 42: Interview118
Text 43: A Masalai story (TD)125
Text 44: A hunting story (TD)127
Text 45: A traditional story (TD)128
Text 46: Interview (TD)130
Text 47: The development of Tok Pisin on Manus Island (PM)133
Text 48: How Tok Pisin came to Tumam (PM)140
Text 49: Comments on some differences between varieties
of Tok Pisin (SR)143
Text 50: Story of first hearing Tok Pisin (SR)147
Text 51: The story of the origin of Tok Pisin (SR)148

VI. Translations of foreign voices 151

Text 52: Tok Masta in a newspaper article, 1933151
Text 53: Translation of an English bawdy ballad, 1959153
Text 54: Translation of ‘Max and Moritz’155
Text 55: Translation of Macbeth, 1977158
Text 56: Translation of the highway code, 1969159
Text 57: Example of literary Tok Masta161
Text 58: Japanese propaganda leaflet, c.1942163
Text 59: Translation of Australian Customs reqirements, 1986165
Text 60: A recipe, 1987168
Text 61: Translation of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea, 1975170
Text 62: How to take care of pigs174
Text 63: The story of the loaves and fishes (2)177
viii Table of contents

VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 181

Text 64: Code mixing and code switching (PM)181
Text 65: Chain letters182
Text 66: A conversation, 1975184
Text 67: An account of an accident (SR)191
Text 68: Interview194
Text 69: Narrative (SR)207
Text 70: Billy Goats Gruff (SR)209

VIII. New written genres 213

Text 71: Newspaper articles, 1951213
Text 72: A letter to the Editor, 1971216
Text 73: An official letter (SR)218
Text 74: An official letter (SR)219
Text 75: Letter from the wife of a schoolteacher in the Kabwum District
Text 76: Letter from a houseboy in Lae (SR)223
Text 77: A letter to the Editor, 1980s224
Text 78: Sports report from Wantok Niuspepa226
Text 79: Report of the week from Wantok Niuspepa228
Text 80: Traim Paspas, a stage play in Tok Pisin230
Text 81: A cartoon from Grass Roots (1)240
Text 82: Cartoon from Grass Roots (2)241
Text 83: Cartoon from Grass Roots (3)243
Text 84: Cartoon from Grass Roots (4)244
Text 85: Cartoon from Grass Roots (5)245
Text 86: Cartoon from Grass Roots (6)246
Text 87: Greeting card (from Grass Roots Comic Company)247
Text 88: Advertisement for Sunflower tinned fish250
Text 89: Advertisement for ‘Mozzie Zapper’250
Text 90: Political broadside252
Text 91: Minutes of a council meeting (PM)257
Text 92: Advertisement261
Text 93: Unpublished letter to Wantok newspaper264
Table of contents ix

IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 267

Text 94: The story of Little Red Riding Hood (SR)267
Text 95: The story of the pig in the pot (1) (SR)271
Text 96: The story of the pig in the pot (2) (SR)272
Text 97: The story of the sick boy (SR)273
Text 98: A puppet show (SR)274
Text 99: Narrative: tumbuna story (SR)276
Text 100: Two girls talking about the languages they know (SR)277

Bibliography 281
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects
of Tok Pisin*

Peter Mühlhäusler

1. Introduction

Tok Pisin is one of the most important languages of Melanesia and is used in a
wide range of public and private functions in Papua New Guinea. The language
has featured prominently in Pidgin and Creole linguistics and has featured in a
number of debates in theoretical linguistics. Tok Pisin, however, was not always
regarded as a respectable language to speak or study. A list compiled by the
missionary Hoeltker (1945: 53) gives the following opinions of Tok Pisin to be
found in the German literature on the subject:
‘a strange universal language’, ‘a screamingly funny way of speaking’, ‘a
comical’, ‘amusing’, ‘ingenious’, ‘terrible’, ‘arbitrarily pruned language’, ‘a
wondrous mishmash’, ‘a hotchpotch’, ‘ugly jargon’, ‘the most difficult lan-
guage to learn in the world’, ‘a dreadful parody of the Anglo-Saxon language’,
‘ghastly mutilated English’, ‘very apt caricature of English’, ‘a peculiar, cross-
bred physiognomy’, ‘incredibly primitive with amazing simplicity’, ‘of canni-
balistic primitiveness’, ‘the most dreadful language of all’, etc.
(authors’ translation)

Numerous similar descriptions have since been added, and it is not so very long
ago that a well-respected journal published an article lampooning this language
(Siebeck 1982). It is nevertheless impossible to escape the fact that opinion on
Tok Pisin has recently taken a positive turn: the politicians of independent
Papua New Guinea have recognized the advantages of a universal lingua franca

* We would like to acknowledge the help of Paul Monaghan in preparing the final draft of
this document. We are grateful to the publishers of the Grass Roots Comic Company for
allowing us to use their cartoons. We also would like to acknowledge the help of the many
colleagues who over the years have given us texts — wherever possible we have
acknowledged them.
2 Tok Pisin Texts

in their multilingual country (over 700 languages for about 4,000,000 inhabit-
ants), and, also, modern linguistics has accepted the special test-case role of Tok
Pisin to an increasing extent. The enhanced status of Tok Pisin in linguistics is
demonstrated by the fact that serious literature on this language has grown
enormously: the 700 page Handbook of Tok Pisin (Wurm & Mühlhäusler 1985)
and Verhaar’s 1990 collection being prime examples here. Although linguists from
the outside have not visited Papua New Guinea much in the last decade, informa-
tion about Tok Pisin as currently used is readily available on the internet. For
tourists, a crash course (Mühlhäusler & Monaghan 1999) has been prepared.

2. Name and area of distribution

The name ‘Tok Pisin’ (‘talk pidgin’), the official name of the language since
1981, has only become familiar since independence; older accounts use terms
such as ‘Neomelanesian’, ‘Melanesian Pidgin’, ‘New Guinea Pidgin’, ‘Tok
Vaitman’, ‘Tok Boi’, and several others. The continual renaming of the lan-
guage is more than just a series of coincidences: it reflects the fact that in the
past expatriates1 played a leading part as model speakers, to be followed by
Black plantation workers (boi2) and then finally by the entire population. A
name such as ‘New Guinea Pidgin’ is therefore particularly suitable as a neutral
term for the various developmental stages of the language, while ‘Tok Pisin’ is
best used only as the name of the present-day language.3
Tok Pisin is spoken in all parts of Papua New Guinea (cf. Map 1), but
mainly in those provinces which once belonged to German New Guinea. It is
the second language for more than 50% of the population and the first or main
language for a constantly growing number of town-dwellers. In the formerly
Australian sector of Papua, Tok Pisin has in many cases replaced the native
Pidgin Motu (Hiri Motu). Some authorities regard Tok Pisin as a regional

1.This was the label most commonly given to White administrators and settlers from
Australia, Europe and America.
2.The word boi etymologically combines Hindustani bhoi (‘carrier, bearer’) and English
‘boy’ (‘immature adult male’). The word travelled from Portuguese India to Macau to Hong
Kong and subsequently became common throughout the British colonies. In Tok Pisin it
meant ‘indigenous male in European employment’. The word was outlawed in the last years
of Australian administration.
3.The justification for this is that contemporary Tok Pisin is structurally and lexically very
different from that which was spoken before the Second World War.
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 3

Map 1.Papua New Guinea.

dialect of Melanesian Pidgin English, other varieties of which are Solomon

Islands Pidgin English, Bislama of Vanuatu, the almost extinct Pidgin English
of New Caledonia, Kanaka English of Queensland, and a few other marginal
pidgin languages. However, the historical relationships between these languages
are considerably more complicated than the term ‘dialect’ would suggest, and
it should therefore only be used with caution.
Lexical differences within Papua New Guinea are due less to geographical
than to social factors. A rough geographical classification (which is widely used
in popular metalinguistics) differentiates between the Tok Pisin of the Bismarck
Archipelago, of the coastal region, and of the highlands. This three-way division
reflects three phases in the colonization of the country: the opening up of the
islands from 1870 onwards, of the coastal region of the main island (so-called
Kaiser-Wilhelmsland) from about 1900, and of the highlands from 1945. Since
the inhabitants had a very high degree of geographical mobility, especially
before the country became independent in 1975, and Tok Pisin was typically
learnt while absent from home and working on the coastal plantations, this type
of regional classification is unsatisfactory. In most recent times, the internal
mobility of the population has decreased due to the increasing autonomy of the
4 Tok Pisin Texts

individual provinces, and the possible development of more markedly regional

dialects cannot be ruled out.
A more important subdivision of Tok Pisin is into the four main sociolects
of the language: the bush pidgin of the remote regions (Tok Bus ‘talk of the
remote areas’or Tok Kanaka ‘talk of the people of remote areas’), the traditional
rural Tok Pisin (Tok Bilong Asples ‘language of the villages’), the urban version
(Tok Skul ‘talk of the schools’ or Tok Bilong Taun ‘talk of the towns’) and lastly
Tok Masta (‘language of the White colonizers’). The sociolectic division of the
language is mainly the result of differences in contact with the English language
and Western culture: until shortly before the independence of the country only
a small number of native inhabitants, mostly the town-dwellers, had easy access
to English. Since then the English language has increasingly penetrated into the
interior through the school system, and consequently the differences between
the native sociolects seem to be getting smaller, as found by Dutton in his 1985
field research in New Guinea. Tok Masta had become just a relic from the
colonial era and is mainly preserved as a literary form (e.g., Rushton 1988). Tok
Masta is the Foreigner Talk English of the Whites who did not make the effort
to learn the Tok Pisin spoken by the various peoples. It is more a variety of
English than of Tok Pisin, and the extent to which Tok Masta speakers and Tok
Pisin speakers can understand each other is minimal. It is reported by Wurm
that some Tok Masta speakers are not even capable of identifying Tok Pisin
texts as ‘Pidgin English’ (Stephen Wurm, personal communication).
The important point here is that all the varieties mentioned so far are
pidgin languages, i.e., second languages mainly learnt at the adult stage and
reduced both in their linguistic structure and in their functional range.
In addition to these, however, there are also creolized4 varieties of Tok
Pisin. They have developed since the end of the Second World War in towns
and larger settlements such as mission stations or non-traditional villages. One
example of such a village is Malabang on the island of Manus, where plantations
workers from various parts of New Guinea bought a plot of land, married women
from differing linguistic groups on Manus, and founded a new community. In
that village there is now a third generation of native speakers of Tok Pisin.
It can thus be seen that a broad spectrum of differing language varieties is
covered by the name ‘Tok Pisin’. What is particularly important is that it is still

4.Creolization involves children extending the parental input and adopting Tok Pisin as
their first language. The innovations of children survive only once creole speakers become a
critical mass and can impose their norms on second language speakers.
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 5

possible to recapitulate the linguistic and social development of the language by

taking speech samples, progressing from the rudimentary varieties of the most
remote parts of the interior to the more and more developed forms along the
main routes of communication and along the coast. Tok Pisin is therefore an
ideal test area for the uniformitarians among the historical linguists.

3. External history of Tok Pisin

The development of Tok Pisin from its origins to the present-day covers
somewhat more than 100 years. In that time, however, the language has
changed so much that we can now identify three, perhaps four, developmental
stages which can be only mutually understood with difficulty. Tok Pisin is a
typical example of the fact that pidgin and creole languages have a faster rate of
development than ‘normal languages’. And, incidentally, they cast doubt on
methods of language dating such as glottochronology (cf. Hall 1959).
The origins of the language began with the greatly reduced English jargons
which were brought to the eastern Bismarck Archipelago from about 1850
onwards by whale hunters and traders. These forerunners rarely, if ever,
survived the short-term contacts which contributed to their emergence and
therefore have to be set apart from the actual (continuous) development of the
language of Tok Pisin. A more important factor was the recruitment of thou-
sands of Bismarck Islanders to the German plantations of Samoa, which began
in approximately 1878. There may have already existed a plantation pidgin
language there, spoken by workers from Kiribati (Gilbert Islands) who made up
the majority of the plantation population between 1865 and 1880. This pidgin
was extended and modified by the people from New Guinea (blakbois), and
taken back to New Guinea by them after their three to five year work term had
expired. When the first plantations were established in the Bismarck Archipela-
go, the employers turned to former ‘Samoans’. There is thus good reason to
assume that the Samoan Plantation Pidgin remained the most important model
for the developing Tok Pisin up to about 1900. The main function of the
plantations in this development was in stabilizing the unstable jargon English
varieties known to the different recruits to form a standardized lingua franca. In
the case of Tok Pisin it was important that the plantation owners and colonial
masters were Germans, which meant that the English language was not available
as a model. The consequence was that Tok Pisin developed its own internal
mechanisms of enlarging its vocabulary at an early stage.
6 Tok Pisin Texts

Tok Pisin was spread back to the villages from the plantations. From
approximately 1900 onwards most villages under the control of the government
had an interpreter who could speak pidgin, and knowledge of the language was
generally accepted as the means of achieving material prosperity (tobacco,
European tools, clothing etc.) and power. Apart from the ‘academy’ of the
plantations, there was also a governmental institution in which Pidgin English
was taught: the prisons. The painter Emil Nolde (1965: 65) recounts his
impressions during a stay in New Guinea at the beginning of last century:
[There] …we often met some of the wild men who arrived on the ship with us.
The purpose of their enforced stay in Rabaul was the gradual acquisition of
some means of communication, either in gestures, in the usual Pidgin English,
or in German concepts and words. When they had achieved this to some small
extent, after many months, they were taken back home again …When they
returned home they had to act as interpreters when the agents of the planters
were trying to recruit men to work on the plantations. (authors’ translation)

The spread of Tok Pisin over increasingly extensive parts of New Guinea
continued without much change under Australian administration after the end
of the German rule in 1914: the language was learned at work, at a governmen-
tal station, or on a plantation. However, Tok Pisin was now increasingly also
used outside this context at home to discuss non-traditional topics and for
communication across the numerous language barriers of the country. The Pax
Germanica and Australis had created favourable conditions for this. With the
gradual change in the use of Tok Pisin from vertical (between Europeans or
plantation foremen and workers) to horizontal communciation (between
equals within or outside the plantation) there was a reduction in the influence
of English as a model: while the Native peoples regarded Tok Pisin as the
language of the Europeans until about 1930, from then onwards there begins to
be signs that it was the language of the Native peoples, Tok Boi, and no longer
Tok Vaitman. There was also a realisation that Europeans often speak it badly.
The development of Tok Pisin into a stable lingua franca was brought to a
premature end by the Japanese invasion in the Second World War. The war had
far-reaching consequences for Tok Pisin:
a. The destruction of almost all the plantations and missionary stations
eliminated the most important social context for learning and developing
the language at a stroke. An entire generation of young people acquired
only inadequate knowledge of Tok Pisin.
b. Speakers of Tok Pisin were brought into contact with speakers of the far
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 7

more anglicized Papuan Pidgin English and the broken Foreigner Talk of
the Australian and American soldiers.
c. The German missionaries’ work of codifying and standardizing was
In spite of the extensive elimination of social and linguistic standards, the war
also had some positive consequences. Tok Pisin was the language in which the
Allies communicated (over radio and in millions of leaflets): its status changed
from that of a language of workers and servants to a medium of liberation and
self-assertion. This trend was reinforced after the resumption of the Australian
administration. From 1945 onwards, Tok Pisin was used in numerous newspa-
pers published by the government. At the same time it became the language of
local government and of the beginnings of political emancipation. This trend
was not even suppressed by the intervention of the United Nations (UN) in
1953, which urged that Tok Pisin should be abolished. The main reason for the
negative position of the UN with regard to Tok Pisin was that this language was
regarded as one of colonial repression. A detailed discussion of the UN docu-
ments relating to this can be found in the study by Hall (1955). Some important
trends in the years up to the independence of the country were:
a. the geographic and demographic spread of the language;
b. its use in new media such as radio and cartoons;
c. increasing standardization, especially at the instigation of the church;
d. the development of new sociolects and registers as a result of the new social
mobility in the country and the functional expansion of the language;
e. an increasingly positive attitude among both Native peoples and expatriates;
f. the development of a literature (cf. Kloss 1978);
g. gradual reduction in the age at which Tok Pisin is learned and diversifica-
tion of the learning context.
These trends were largely continued after the independence of New Guinea in
1975. However, changes created by independence also brought about some new
conditions. For example, decentralization and increasing power of the provinc-
es has contributed towards the fact that Tok Pisin is in some cases being pushed
back by native languages. At the same time, the influence of English has become
considerably more pronounced, and even in the more remote regions the
difference between the rural and urban varieties of the language is therefore on
the decline. The influence of the conservative mission stations, which were
predominantly in German hands until the end of the Second World War, has
waned. The German element in the vocabulary of the language has severely
8 Tok Pisin Texts

dwindled as a result. Since the development of Tok Pisin is largely dependent

on the political events in Papua New Guinea, it is difficult to give a prognosis
on the future of this language. On the one hand, its continued existence is
ensured by the increasing number of native speakers, on the other, its role as a
second language or national lingua franca seems to be in decline. Under the
threat of English and the provincial languages, the functional range of Tok Pisin
will probably shrink, and Laycock (1985a) regards it as not out of the question
that the language might disappear in the course of two generations. To some
extent this is happening in the urban areas: the rate of increase in English
proficiency is much greater than the rate of increase in Tok Pisin proficiency.
The figures are discussed in Mühlhäusler (1993: 57ff). Other possibilities are
also conceivable, such as the splitting off of Bougainville and other outlying
islands or a political merger with the Solomons and Vanuatu. In the latter event
there would be an extremely important role for a linguistically standardized
Melanesian Pidgin in an association of states of that kind. Finally, Tok Pisin
might also again be increasingly regarded as an expression of national identity
if, for example, there were some external threat from neighbouring states.
In spite of verbal expressions of support for Tok Pisin and its use as the
language of parliament, the government of the country has contributed little
towards it stabilization and institutionalization. There is no standard policy on
language, and the status of Tok Pisin as compared with other official languages
(and languages of instruction) remains unclarified. The Melanesian ‘laissez
faire’ attitude has many positive sides and has, above all, reduced strain between
the many linguistic groups in the country. The absence of a really efficient
system of language planning, however, also has many economic disadvantages,
a luxury which a poor country like Papua New Guinea cannot really afford.

4. Internal history of Tok Pisin

It is not possible to present all aspects of the linguistic history of Tok Pisin here.
Those interested are referred to the more lengthy history of the Tok Pisin
language in Wurm & Mühlhäusler (1985) and to individual papers such as
Woolford (1979) on complementizers, Sankoff and Brown (1976) on relative
clauses, and Mühlhäusler (1981) on the category of number.
Generally speaking, the pidgin languages differ from other languages firstly
in that they develop from less complex to more complex systems, and secondly
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 9

in that they are in contact with a number of substrate, superstrate and adstrate5
languages which influences their linguistic development in differing ways. The
development of a pidgin can be represented as follows:

developmental dimension

stable pidgin

expanded pidgin superstrate language
creole post-creole restructuring dimension

Along the developmental dimension we find language forms of increasing

linguistic complexity (grammaticalized forms). Along the restructuring
dimension the language increasingly becomes an approximation of the super-
strate language: of English in the case of Tok Pisin. Let us illustrate the different
forms found along these two dimensions with a partially putative example.
On this island there are plenty of roads which allow people to go into the
interior and produce goods which help to develop our country.

This text would be approximately as follows in the different stages of develop-

ment of Tok Pisin:
(1) Plenty little road along island. You fellows can go inside. You fellows work.
Many small roads on island. You fellows can go inside. You fellows work.
All right. Him plenty good.
All right. That’s very good.
(2) Planti liklik rot i stap long ailan hia. Yumi ken go long ailan.
Many little roads exist on island here. We inc can go into the island.
Sapos you wokim, orait yu ken mekim kirap kantri bilong yumi
If you work, well you can make go ahead this country belonging to us.
(3) I gat planti liklik rot long despela ailan long go insait long en. Yumi ken wokim
There are plenty of little roads on this island to go inside into it. We inc
can work.

5.These would be for instance local languages encountered by plantation workers, or Latin
in the context of mission terminological work.
10 Tok Pisin Texts

samting i kirapim kantri bilong yumi.

Something pr develop country belonging to us inc.
(4) Lo tesela ailan I gat planti ol liklik rot lo go insait lo en na woki ol samti we
On this island there are many pl small roads to go into it, and work pl
things which
krapi kantri bolo yumi.
develops country belonging to us inc.

The following should be noted here in relation to these samples:

1. Jargon
The putative speaker of this text is a White man using a mixture of Foreigner
Talk English and various lexical conventions for Pacific Pidgin English. Com-
plex trains of thought can only be expressed with great difficulty using this
language form. The individual points to note here are:
a. There is influence of English in the lexis, morphology (e.g., fellows) and
b. The sentence length is very restricted. Co-ordination and embedding are
c. There is widespread grammatical multifunctionality, e.g., in the case of
plenty (adjective and adverb), unlike in English, where it is only used
d. The copula (equivalent of ‘to be’) is absent.
2. Stabilized Tok Pisin, as found from about 1890 onwards
The putative speaker of this text is a Native. It is immediately noticeable that
this linguistic form is not a variety of English, but a language in its own right.
Somewhat more complex situations can now be written down in the language.
The following points are particularly to be noted:
a. For most words there is a standard pronunciation which usually now differs
from English. Natural processes have simplified consonant groups, as in
ailan ‘island’.
b. The form liklik ‘small’ possibly arose from the encounter between the
English ‘little bit’ and the Tolai ikilik ‘small’.
c. The pronoun yumi ‘inclusive we’, as compared with yupela ‘exclusive we’,
illustrates how local languages influence the structure of Tok Pisin.
d. Coordination and subordination are possible, using the conjunction sapos
‘if ’, for example.
e. The causative is constructed by means of a syntactic paraphrase, mekim
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 11

kirap ‘make go ahead’.

3. Expanded Tok Pisin, as found since approximately 1930 in regions close to
the coast
This is generally accepted as the ‘classical’ Tok Pisin. The main characteristics
are its lexical and grammatical autonomy in relation to English. Some impor-
tant points are:
a. The phonology of the language becomes more complicated without the
influence of English being responsible. For example, the word length of
kirapim ‘make, go ahead, develop’ and the increasing number of consonant
b. Further conjunctions appear, e.g., long ‘in order to’, which has developed
from the preposition long ‘in, at, on, etc.’
c. The internal development of a word formation component in the language
can be seen in the example of kirapim ‘make, go ahead, develop’.
d. Sentences become longer and more complex. The word order is freer, since
a number of transformations are possible. An example of this is i gat planti
rot ‘there are many roads’.
4. Creolized Tok Pisin
The transition from second to first language is characterized by a rapid and
extensive restructuring of a pidgin, especially in the case of young speakers; with
increasing age, creole speakers of Tok Pisin adapt to the norms of the non-native
Tok Pisin. A number of the innovations in the creole text above are, however,
also now found in non-creolized varieties. Special features of the text are:
a. The operation of numerous phonological processes, mainly those which
reduce semantically ‘empty’ grammatical words. Note lo instead of long
(preposition), bolo instead of bilong (possessive marker) and the transitive
verbal ending -i (in woki etc.) instead of -im.
b. The plural marker ol, which is optional in the second-language varieties
(especially in the case of inanimate nouns, see Mühlhäusler 1981), is
obligatory here.
c. Relative clauses are introduced by the newly created relative pronoun we
‘which’, which has developed from the interrogative pronoun we ‘where’.
d. Here we have a single sentence structure with multiple embedding.
e. (It is not obvious from the written example but) the speech tempo has
increased considerably as compared with the other varieties.
The end result is, as can already be seen from this brief example, a language
12 Tok Pisin Texts

whose English origins are now only detectable with great difficulty. This applies
even more to spoken varieties than to written ones. The highly complex
grammar of the creole variant is also apparent here.
After illustrating the vertical development of Tok Pisin, we shall now turn
briefly to the horizontal development in relation to English: that is, to post-
pidgin and post-creole Tok Pisin. Our sample sentence would now look
something like this:
(5) I got plenti liklik rod on disfella ailan long go insaid. Wi ken workim samting.
There are many small roads on this island to go in. We can work something.
I getapim kantri bilong as.
pr develop country belonging to us.

Note here that neither the complexity of the grammatical surface structure nor
the referential wealth of the language (i.e., its suitability for codifying finer or
new differences in meaning) has increased. Instead of this we find that conser-
vative speech forms have been replaced by anglicized ones, as, for example, in:
a. The increased similarity to the English pronunciation (got instead of the
previous gat, getapim instead of kirapim or krapim). What we can observe
here is thus that the language is being etymologized.
b. Traditional vocabulary is replaced by neologisms: e.g., long by on.
c. Borrowings can destroy partial areas of the grammar which were previously
of fixed structure, e.g., the pronoun system. The previous difference
between exclusive and inclusive pronouns becomes blurred due to the use
of wi ‘we exclusive or inclusive’.
It is naturally only possible to illustrate a few aspects of the post-pidgin develop-
ment using such a short example. However, even this small number of observa-
tions should be sufficient to show that the autonomy and consistency of Tok
Pisin are threatened by the renewed contact with English. The language is now
considerably more difficult to learn than earlier rural varieties and therefore less
suitable as a medium of countrywide communication between speakers of many
different mother tongues. The case of urban Tok Pisin illustrates how far-reaching
the effect of social and pragmatic factors on linguistic structures can be.
After this brief passage through the linguistic history of Tok Pisin, we shall
now turn to the grammar and lexicon of this language.

5. The phonology of Tok Pisin

Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 13

The phonology of Tok Pisin is generally considered from two standpoints: firstly
with regard to the reduction of the sound range of English, and secondly with
regard to the influence of the native substrate languages. It is once again the case
here that the phonology of Tok Pisin has changed greatly during the course of its
development and that it is very difficult to make comprehensive generalizations.
If we look at the first evidence of the language we can detect a number of
variations from English:
a. The inventory of sounds is greatly reduced: in particular, some ‘difficult’
sounds such as [ð] or [θ], [w] and most of the voiced plosives are absent.
Tok Pisin English
dispela this fellow
maus mouth
sem shame
sen chain
kuap go up
b. The syllable structure of Tok Pisin is fundamentally restricted: open
syllables are preferred and consonant groups are simplified either by the
omission of one consonant or by the insertion of a vowel. Examples are:
Tok Pisin English
supia spear
simel smell
sitirong strong
wail wild
c. In the earliest instances of the language we find a pronounced tendency
towards reduplication, e.g.:
Tok Pisin English
toritori territory
aniani onion
rokrok frog
In the course of its development, and especially in the urban varieties, the
phonology of Tok Pisin has come closer to that of English in a number of
different ways. However, differences remain, especially in regard to the phono-
logical rules. It is generally the case that pidgin languages have only very few
14 Tok Pisin Texts

rules which transform phonological deep structures into surface structures. In

the majority of cases there is no difference between surface structures and deep
structures. The resultant absence of conditioned pronunciation variants
facilitates the learning of the language. A disadvantage is that there are no
stylistic variants available, and, for example, central elements of a text receive
the same stress as subordinate elements. An example of this would be the
marker baimbai ‘in future, soon’, which is often longer than the verb it is
modifying, e.g., in baimbai mi kam ‘I shall come’. In the course of time there
has been a development of shorter forms, which are particularly favoured by
creole speakers of Tok Pisin, as will be demonstrated below.
The substrate influence in the phonology of Tok Pisin is mainly apparent in
the less developed second-language varieties (see Laycock 1985b for a detailed
discussion). Familiar examples are:
a. the fusion of [l] and [r];
b. the prenasalization of voiced plosives as in tambak ‘tobacco’, rendio ‘radio’,
honda ‘order’;
c. the confusion of [s] and [t] as in soksok for toktok ‘talk’ or putput for puspus
‘to have sexual intercourse (push)’.
Detailed studies such as that of Laycock (1985b) or Bee (1972) have shown that
it would be too simple to claim that the phonology of a Tok Pisin statement is
that of the native language of its speaker. In the absence of reliable longitudinal
studies very little can be stated with certainty in this field.

6. Inflectional morphology

Like other pidgin languages, Tok Pisin does not possess a highly developed
inflectional morphology. Moreover, as pointed out in Mühlhäusler (1997),
most developments are very recent and restricted to fluent second language or
first language speakers. Inflectional morphology serves three main purposes:
a. it signals word class membership;
b. it signals secondary (accidental) semantic information, such as those
attached to lexical words (tense, aspect, number, etc.);
c. it signals grammatical relations such as case.
Only the first two functions are encountered in second language Tok Pisin. The
use of inflectional morphology to signal word classes has been widely written
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 15

about (e.g., Hall 1955: 73ff). It is argued that the affix -pela is used to signal
adjectives (particularly attributive mono-syllabic adjectives) and that -im signals
transitive and caustive verbs.
The freedom with which Tok Pisin speakers can shift words from one word
class to another makes these affixes rather unreliable indicators of word class,
however, as can be seen from the following examples:
(6) Longpela bilong dispela bris i fifti yat.
The length of this bridge is 50 yards.
Em i singaut bikpela.
He shouts loudly.
(7) Yu no ken askim dispela askim.
You should not ask this question.
(8) Kainkain ples i gat narapela kolim bilong dispela samting.
Every other place has a different term for this thing.

The development of tense and aspect markers in Tok Pisin has attracted much
scholarly attention. The best known case is the reduction of the time adverbial
baimbai ‘future’ to the forms bai and ba and the prefix ba- or be-. A detailed
case study is given by Sankoff and Laberge (1973) with some additional remarks
being found in Stentzel (1978). Lynch (1979: 7–8) summarises the most recent
developments as follows:
However, one point which needs mentioning here is that bai itself is undergo-
ing further reduction, and appears to have now reached the stage of a prefix to
verb phrases. Among L1 speakers, the most common phonological form of bai
is /ba/ (phonetically [ba] or [be]):
(16) /em bakam/ He will come Em bai i kam
(17) /bami singaut/ Will I call out? Bai mi singaut o?
Before vowels, bai may further optionally reduce to /b/ (often phonetically [b˜]):
(18) /bol ikam/ They’ll come Bai ol i kam

A second example of the attachment of free forms is the cliticization of ana-

phoric pronouns discussed by Sankoff (1977b). In the course of the history of
Tok Pisin both the original third person singular pronoun i and the later third
person singular pronoun em became attached to the following verb and
subsequently lost their pronominal force.
16 Tok Pisin Texts

7. Syntax

7.1 General remarks

This section will give no more than a brief outline of some salient characteristics
of Tok Pisin syntax. A more comprehensive reference grammar is given by
Mühlhäusler (1997), whilst numerous discussions of its more specialized
aspects can be found in readers such as Verhaar (1990) or in linguistic journals.
There is considerable variation caused both by developmental factors (syntax
ranges from quite rudimentary to very complex depending upon speakers) and
speakers’ linguistic background. As there are core conventions, considerable
adstratum and superstratum interference as well as individual learner strategies
can be reflected in syntax.

7.2 Word classes

A number of attempts to extablish word classes in Tok Pisin have been made,
the most important being those of Hall (1943 and 1955) and Wurm (1971).
Hall states that the classification of words is one of the main aims of linguistic
description and that it should precede all syntactic analysis. He also insists that
morphological criteria should be at the base of any such classification. A further
discussion of the theoretical principles underlying Hall’s work is found in Hall
(1962). Wurm (1971), on the other hand, does not aim at a scientific categori-
zation of Tok Pisin words but at providing classes useful in teaching the
language. A comprehensive survey of the problem of using conventional word
class labels to describe Tok Pisin has been given by Mühlhäusler (1994).
The principal word classes of Tok Pisin are nouns and verbs, and the
smaller classes of attributive adjectives and adverbials. In most instances, there
is no formal distinction between predicative adjectives and intransive verbs.
Two important differences from English are:
a. The virtual absence of abstract nouns in most conservative second language
b. The use of verb chains instead of verb + adverb strings. The number of true
adverbials is very limited.
Finally, speakers from different linguistic backgrounds may sign in forms of a
surface string to different word classes. For instance, English speakers would
interpret ol i haisim ap plak as pronoun, predicate marker, transitive verb,
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 17

particle, noun; whereas Melanesian speakers would interpret it as pronoun,

predicate marker, transitive verb, intransitive verb, noun.

7.3 Pronouns
7.3.1 Personal pronouns
The following table gives the overall pattern of Tok Pisin pronouns as used by
rural speakers:

1st 2nd 3rd

sg. mi yu em
I you (one) he, she, it

du. yumitupela yutupela (em) tupela

we two inc you two they two
we two exc

tr. yumitripela yutripela (em) tripela

we three inc you three they three
we three exc

pl. yumi yupela (em) ol

we (all) inc you (all) they
we (all) exc

The distinction between the inclusive and the exclusive form of the first person
plural pronoun is an important feature of Tok Pisin grammar. The distinction
of ‘inclusive’ and ‘exclusive’ is a feature also found in Melanesian languages in
New Guinea. One must always distinguish in present-day Tok Pisin whether we
includes the person or persons spoken to or not. If the addressee is not includ-
ed, one says mipela; if he is, one says yumi. Failure to observe the distinction can
lead to misunderstandings: thus a missionary must say Jisas i- dai long yumi
‘Jesus died for us’, that is, for Europeans and Natives alike; if he said Jisas i- dai
long mipela it would mean ‘Jesus died for us (missionaries, and not for the
congregation)’ (Laycock 1970a: xviii). In some of the earlier texts the distinction
is not fully developed and a confusion of inclusive and exclusive pronouns is
often found in speakers for whom this distinction is not made in their first
language. In recent years a form yumipela has become more common. For some
18 Tok Pisin Texts

of its users this form corresponds to English ‘we’. Plural pronouns for many
speakers are used only when the referents are animates.

7.3.2 Interrogative pronouns

These have been dealt with in a number of places, and little can be added to
Laycock’s analysis (1970a: xxix). The four basic interrogative words: haumas
‘how much, how many’, husat ‘who’, we ‘where’, and wonem ‘what’, are used
just like any other words in pidgin, and no special question intonation is used:
(9) Haumas bai yu gipim mi?
How much will you give me?
(10) Husat i kamap?
Who is coming?
(11) Wonem i kam?
What is coming?
(12) Yu lukim wonem?
What do you see?
(13) Ol bai ol i go we?
Where will they go?

All these interrogatives, except we, may be used as adjectives:

(14) Haumas pe yu bin gipim longen?
How much pay did you give him?
(15) Husat man i sanap i stap wantaim yu?
Who is the man standing beside you?
(16) Wonem samting yu lukim?
What is it you see?
(17) Wonem meri i kukim kaukau?
Which woman cooked the sweet potato?
(18) Wonem kain pasin bilong yu?
What sort of behaviour is that?

The interrogative does not necessarily come first in the sentence, epecially if it
is the object (direct or indirect) of a verb:
(19) Yu lukim wonem samting?
What is it you see?
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 19

(20) Yu gipim sol long haumas man?

How many men did you give salt to?

Where the interrogative is the subject of the sentence, the sentence can be broken
into two phrases, especially where the item being questioned is a long phrase:
(21) Man i kamap, em i husat?
The man coming, who is he?
(22) Dispela samting me lukim long ples bilong yu, i olosem bikpela anka, em
wonem samting?
This thing I saw in your house, like a big anchor, what is it?

7.3.3 Reflexive pronouns

Reflexive pronouns in Tok Pisin are formed by the addition of yet after the
personal pronoun appearing as object, e.g.:
(23) Em i hangamapim em yet.
He hanged himself.
(24) Yu laikim yu yet tasol a?
You are fond of yourself, aren’t you?

Reflexivity in Tok Pisin has not yet been well studied. It must be mentioned that
not all reflexives in English are translated by a construction containing a
reflexive pronoun in Tok Pisin. My data suggest that often the reflexive pro-
noun does not appear overtly, transitive verbs without overt object often being
used to translate reflexive concepts, as in:
(25) Man bilong kano tu i bilasim.
The crew of the canoe decorated themselves.
(26) Yu no ken pulimapim olsem bulmakau.
You can’t stuff yourself like a cow.

7.4 The noun phrase

The noun phrase in Tok Pisin consists of a head noun preceeded and/or
followed by optional modifiers. For most speakers there is a strong tendency to
keep the noun phrase simple. They avoid combinations of several attributive
adjectives or quantifiers. Examples of Tok Pisin noun phrases are:
20 Tok Pisin Texts

Tok Pisin English

gutpela meri a/the good woman
(ol) longlong man (pl) mad men
han kais left hand
pren bilong mi my friend, friend of mine

7.5 The verb phrase

The verb phrase consists of one or more main verbs, plus optional preverbal or
post-verbal modifiers such as tense and aspect markers. Verb phrases are
usually introduced by the predicate marker i.

7.6 Simple sentences

For most speakers Tok Pisin is an SV(O) language. With the exception of
certain minor sentence types, such as interjections, most sentences in Tok Pisin
can be derived from the following small number of basic patterns:
a. NP + i + Adj./Vint. intransitive sentence
(27) Ren i pundaun.
The rain is falling.
(28) Pik i bikpela.
The pig is big.

b. NP + i + Vtr. + NP transitive sentence

(29) Pik i bagarapim gaten.
The pig ruined the garden.

c. NP + i + NP equative sentence
(30) Em i saveman.
He is an expert.

d. NP + i + stap + PP locational sentence

(31) Ol gol i stap long graun.
The gold is in the ground.

e. i gat + NP existential sentence

(32). I gat moni long poket.
There is money in the pocket.
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 21

Interrogatives and imperatives take the same form as the basic declarative forms
just listed. For instance:
(33) Yu kam. You are coming; are you coming; come!

They are distinguished by intonation and other non-segmental means.

7.7 Expansion of simple sentences

7.7.1 Negation
The scope of the negative adverb no in Tok Pisin appears to be the full predicate
rather than individual constituents, a phenomenon found in many pidgin
languages. The position of no is directly after i, as can be seen from the follow-
ing examples:
(34) Ol i no bin kisim independens yet.
They haven’t got independence yet.
(35) Ol i no laik wok long biksan.
They don’t like to work in the full heat of the sun.

7.7.2 Time, place, and manner adverbials

Time adverbials in Tok Pisin tend to appear sentence initially, place adverbials
sentence finally, whilst most manner adverbials can occur at both positions.
Some examples are:
(36) Bipo ol i no mekim dispela pasin.
In the old days they didn’t act like this.
(37) Mi kisim mani long beng.
I obtained money from the bank.
(38) Aiting yu laik kam lukim me.
Perhaps you would like to see me.
(39) Bulmakau i singaut bikpela.
A cow made a big noise.

7.7.3 Tense and aspect markers

The grammar governing the optional use and tense of aspect markers in Tok
Pisin is as complex as it is central to fluent second language and first language
speakers. The reader is referred to the detailed account in the Handbook of Tok
Pisin (Wurm & Mühlhäusler 1985: 370ff).
22 Tok Pisin Texts

7.8 Conjoined (co-ordinated) sentences

Sentences can be conjoined by means of conjunctions such as na ‘and’, o ‘or’,
and others. The rules underlying the deletion of parts of conjoined sentences
are quite complex and they differ considerably from speaker to speaker.
Examples illustrating some of these structural changes are:
(40) Man i kam na man i sindaun.
Man i kam na em i sindaun.
The man came and he sat down.
(41) Lapun i lukim pik na lapun i kisim bunara bilongen.
Lapun i lukim pik na em i kisim bunara bilongen.
The old man saw the pig and he got his bow and arrows.
(42) Papa i krosim pikinini na mama i paitim pikinini.
Papa i krosim pikinini na mama i paitim em.
The father is angry with the child and the mother hit him.
(43) Ol man i baim buai na ol i kaikai em.
Ol man i baim buai na ol i kaikai em.
The men bought betelnuts and chewed them.

7.9 Embedding of sentences

7.9.1 General remarks
‘Embedding’ refers to those cases where one sentence functions as the constituent
of another. The subordinate status of a sentence is quite obvious when it functions
as the subject or object (complements) of another sentence. For example:
Sentence 1
Ø i tru
Sentence 2
tupela kain ol bikpela man i gat
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 23

which becomes:
(44) I tru i gat tupela kain ol bikpela man.
It is true that there are two kinds of leaders.

Here S2 functions as the subject of S1. In the following example S2 functions as

the object of S1:
Sentence 1
mi laik Ø
Sentence 2
yu givim mani mi

which becomes the complex sentence:

(45) Mi laik yu mas givim mi long mani.
I want you to give me money.

Other subordinate sentences are relative sentences which function in a similar

way to restrictive nominal modifiers, such as attributive adjectives.
In addition to complement and relative sentences there are a number of
other embedded types, such as adverbial sentences of time and location and
those specifying reason or intent.
Embedding, in particular multiple embedding, is still not very common in
Tok Pisin. However, among younger speakers a number of subordinating
constructions replacing traditional juxtaposition have developed in recent years.
As can be expected, there is still considerable variation, as different speakers
adopt different solutions to individual problems. Some examples of embedded
sentences are given in 7.9.2 to 7.9.5.

7.9.2 Relative sentences (exhibiting a number of different strategies for

marking embedded sentences)
(46) Mi lukim wanpela pik i sindaun ananit long haus.
I saw a pig that sat underneath the house.
(47) Man we i kam i pren bilong mi.
A man who came is a friend of mine.
24 Tok Pisin Texts

(48) Meri ya i holim pikinini ya em susa bilong mi.

This woman who was holding the child is my sister.

7.9.3 Subject or object sentences introduced by complementisers

(49) Em i tok se em bai kam.
He said that he would come.
(50) Mi laik olsem em i mas kam.
I would like him to come.
(51) As bilong trabol em i laikim tumas long botol.
The reason of the problem is that he very much likes his bottle.

7.9.4 Adverbial sentences of time

These are found mainly with younger speakers. A recent account of them is
found in Dutton & Bourke (1990). Examples are:
(52) Taim em i kam lukim me me stap long gaten.
When he came to see me, I was in the garden.
(53) Taim woa i pinis misin i kisim planti lori bilong ami.
When the war was over the missions got many lorries from the army.
(54) Taim mi raun long taun me save lukim planti man i no gat wok.
When I wander around in the town I see plenty of men who have no work.

7.9.5 Conditional sentences

Conditional sentences usually precede the sentence in which they are embed-
ded, the latter often being additionally marked by orait or em nau. The subordi-
nating conjunction is sapos ‘if ’; it can be omitted if the function of the condi-
tional sentence is clear from the context. The variants of Tok Pisin equivalents
of English ‘if you’ve got money you can come’ then would be:
(55) Sapos yu gat mani orait yu ken i kam.
Sapos yu gat mani em nau yu ken i kam.
Sapos yu gat mani yu ken i kam.
Yu gat mani orait yu ken i kam.
Yu gat mani em nau yu ken i kam.
Yu gat mani yu ken i kam.
Yu ken i kam sapos yu gat mani.

Here are some more examples from Mühlhäusler’s corpus:

Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 25

(56) Meri em i dai em nau man i ken marit bek.

If the wife dies the husband can marry again.
(57) Sapos meri i laik orait em nau yu ken kisim em.
If the girl agrees you can have her.
(58) Mipela i laik kamap olsem ol masta orait mipela i mas marimari long ol
meri bilong mipela.
If we want to become like Europeans we have to treat our wives well.

The concept expressed in English by ‘because’ + sentence is rendered in Tok Pisin

by (bi) long wanem + sentence or bikos + sentence: the latter form, though docu-
mented as early as the 1940s, being restricted generally to urban Tok Pisin. The use
of (bi) long wanem and bikos can be illustrated with the following examples:
(59) Mi askim yu bikos yu tok ol sikman i save dai taim mi givim ol long
I am asking you because you claim that patients die when I give them
(60) Yu no ken rabisim ol tisa bilong wanem ol i halpim ples bilong yumi Niugini.
You can’t ‘rubbish’ the teachers because they help our country, New
(61) Tupela i hatwok tru long wokabout long bikos wanem tupela i no nap
baiim trak.
The two have a hard time walking because they are not able to pay the
truck fare.

8. The lexicon of Tok Pisin

The information available on the lexicon of pidgin languages is generally found

to claim that:
a. they are largely derived from one single lexifying language;
b. they are considerably simplified as compared with this language;
c. the word formation component is absent or greatly impoverished;
d. many forms are reduplicated.
Let us now check these points using data from Tok Pisin. The natural question
here is: which developmental stage these ‘salient proportions’ actually relate to,
for a statement which is correct for one stage does not necessarily characterize
a later or earlier stage. In the initial stages of the history of Tok Pisin it can be
26 Tok Pisin Texts

seen that the vocabulary was very mixed. There are numerous forms which have
been borrowed directly from Tolai or related substrate languages, such as:
Tok Pisin English
kakaruk hen, cockerel
guria earthquake
garamut slit gong
kapul tree kangaroo
tumbuna ancestor
pukpuk crocodile
In addition, and more interesting for linguistics, there are very many syncre-
tisms, i.e., lexical units which have multiple origins. For words with a form and
meaning which can be identified across language boundaries have a particulary
good chance of survival6 in pidgin languages. A few examples of this are:

Tok Pisin Origin Meaning in Tok Pisin

atap, antap English ‘on top’ roof, at the top

Tolai atap ‘thatched roof ’

bulit, bulut English: ‘blood’ blood, resin, glue

German: Blut ‘blood’
Tolai: bulit ‘resin’

sanga English: Shanghai ‘catapult’ fork in a branch, tongs, open jaws

German: Zange ‘pliers’ of a crocodile, catapult
Malayan: tjang ‘forked branch’

During its stabilization under German rule, the proportion of non-English

vocabulary was enlarged because loan words from German were added to the
rudimentary vocabulary of the language. At the beginning of the 1920s approxi-
mately one quarter of the vocabulary was already of German origin, and it can
be assumed that a pidgin German would have been produced as a result of
further adlexification and relexification if the German colonial rule had been
more permanent. German expressions can (or could, since only very few have
survived) be found mainly in the semantic areas of: church (beten ‘to pray’, buse
‘penance’, grisgot ‘may God be with you’, eremit ‘hermit’, kirke ‘church’, pater
‘priest’, segen ‘blessing’, vairau ‘incense’); carpentry (borim ‘to drill’, hobel

6.For more examples see Mühlhäusler (1997), Chapter 1.

Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 27

‘plane’, laim ‘glue’, pendal ‘drop line’, sapfen ‘dowel’, sikmel ‘sawdust’, swinge
‘clamp’); cooking (bonen ‘beans’, esik ‘vinegar’, kese ‘cheese’, kartopel ‘potatoes’,
kuken ‘cake’, malsait ‘meal time’, spinat ‘spinach’); and last but not least, terms
of abuse (donakail ‘my gosh’, dumekerl ‘stupid fool’, haltmunt ‘shut up’, raus
‘get lost’, rinfi ‘dumb ox’, sapkop ‘sheep’s brain’). Details on this phenomenon
in the history of the language can be found in Mühlhäusler (1975).
It seems, therefore, that the ‘purity’ of a pidgin vocabulary depends on the
social context in which the language is spoken and that, under conditions such
as those prevailing in New Guinea, it is quite possible for pronouncedly mixed
lexica to be retained over quite long periods of time.
With regard to the simplification7 of the vocabulary, this is mainly apparent
in two areas: firstly in the semantic extension and grammatical multi-function-
ality, and secondly in the grammaticalization of the lexicon. If a Tok Pisin word
is compared with its etymon it is often found to cover a considerably broader
semantic range and we find that one Tok Pisin word can express as much as
several English or German words. Let us consider a few examples of this here:
Tok Pisin Translation
harim to hear, listen, perceive, smell
lukim to look, watch, see
haus house, room, shed, building, nest
rot road, path, street
In most cases this semantic conflation is not due to the influence of the substrate
languages, but is an independent development in pidginization. An equally inde-
pendent feature is the use of words in several syntactic functions or lexical catego-
ries. An example of this is provided by instrumental verbs and nouns such as:
Tok Pisin Translation
sarip sharp knife
sarip(im) to cut with a knife
brum broom
brum(im) to sweep
bor drill
bor(im) to drill

7.Simplification has to be distinguished from impoverishment. Simplification refers to

greater regularity, impoverishment reduced referential power (fewer words).
28 Tok Pisin Texts

In comparison, English shows that it has numerous suppletive pairs such as

‘knife/cut’ and ‘broom/sweep’ in addition to multifunctionality such as ‘drill/to
drill’. It is interesting to note that this simplification does not appear in the
initial stages but relatively late in Tok Pisin.
By grammaticalization of the lexicon we mean that in Tok Pisin syntactic
constructions are used where English has lexical units, such as verbs containing
the semantic components ‘incomplete’ or ‘complete’, e.g., ‘to look for’ and ‘to
find’. In English, word pairs which are distinguishable from each other by these
components are mostly lexicalized, e.g., ‘look for/find’, ‘sit down/settle’ etc. In
Tok Pisin the distinction is made by the use of pinis ‘completed action’ or wok
long ‘action begun but not completed’, as in:
(62) Em i dai.
He pr unconscious.
(63) Em i wok long dai.
He pr occupied with unconscious.
(64) Em i dai pinis.
He pr unconscious finished.
(65) Em i wok long painim.
He pr occupied with looking.
(66) Em i painim pinis.
He pr looking finished.
(67) Wara i boil.
Water pr warming up.
(68) Wara i boil pinis.
Water pr heating up finished.

(Note: wok long is preferred particularly when the subject is a person and the
verb is an action carried out voluntarily. For this reason, wok long is not found
in the last example and is the less popular variant in the first.)
Another example of grammaticalization of the lexicon is provided by the
paraphrases which are used for some less familiar concepts such as:

Tok Pisin Gloss Translation

brata bilong blakbokis ‘the brother of the flying dog’ umbrella

brata bilong tamiok ‘the brother of the axe’ saw
kalabus bilong susu ‘the prison of the breasts’ brassiere
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 29

We would finally like to mention one more construction which is also widely
found in other pidgin languages — the use of the negator to obtain antonymous
adjectives, as in:

Tok Pisin Translation Tok Pisin Translation

strong strong nostrong weak

gut good nogut bad
les lazy noles hardworking
kamap present nokamap absent

As already found to be the case for other constructions, these three illustrated
here are not represented in all the stages of the development of Tok Pisin. The
last two are mainly documented in the initial stages, but the use of aspect
markers is a considerably later development. This is to say, simplification of
different parts of the lexicon occurred at different times. It is not easy to
demonstrate whether or not the lexicon of Tok Pisin was at any time simpler (as
opposed to impoverished in possible means of expression) overall.
Examples such as nostrong ‘weak’ would indicate that syntactical paraphras-
es can be the basis of word formation. There is much to suggest that the entire
morphology arose by reanalysis from syntactic structures, and that substrate or
superstrate influences in this area of the grammar were relatively unimportant.
Unlike most of the previously documented creole languages (e.g., Kriol [Jones
1971] or Sranan in Surinam [Sebba 1981]), Tok Pisin has developed a very
extensive morphology component, and only a few constructions can be
presented here. An exhaustive description can be found in Mühlhäusler (1979).
a. Compound adjectives
The lack of adjectives in the early developmental stages of Tok Pisin was initially
remedied by paraphrasing, for example:

Tok Pisin Gloss Translation

ai bilong me pas ‘my eye is blocked’ blind

bel bilong me kaskas ‘my stomach has the itch’ annoyed

Over the course of the years shorter adjectives developed from these paraphras-
es and idioms:
30 Tok Pisin Texts

Tok Pisin Gloss Translation

belgut ‘belly good’ satisfied

aipas ‘eye blocked’ blind
skrulus ‘joint loose’ lame
aislip ‘eye sleeply’ drowsy
nekdrai ‘throat dry’ thirsty
wetgras ‘white hair’ senile

b. Cumulative compound nouns

A development which has no parallels in either English or Tolai, but does have
parallels in child language, is that of the so-called cumulatives, in which the
meaning of the compound is roughly the sum of its components. Examples
from Tok Pisin are:

Tok Pisin Gloss Translation

papamama ‘father and mother’ parents

manmeri ‘men and women’ people
meriman ‘women and men’ people
kambangdaka ‘lime and pepper’ accompaniments for chew-
ing betel nuts
susok ‘shoes and socks’ footwear

c. Agent nouns
Another development peculiar to Tok Pisin, but accelerated by similar con-
structions in German and English, is that of compound nouns consisting of a
first part which is a verb and a second part which is man ‘man, person’. Exam-
ples of this are (the order in the following list corresponds approximately to the
diachronic development):

Tok Pisin Gloss Translation

sutman ‘shoot man’ policeman, hunter

wasman ‘look out man’ guard
stilman ‘steal man’ thief
saveman ‘know man’ scholar
sinman ‘sin man’ sinner
paitman ‘fight man’ warrior, fighter
haitman ‘hide man’ mystery monger
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 31

A total of over fifty such ‘programs’ for word formation have been identified
(Mühlhäusler 1979), and additional ones are developing in the present-day
colloquial language. This internal morphology enabled Tok Pisin to adapt to the
constantly increasing demands of communication during its expansion phase,
without the influence of external languages.
Finally, we would like to deal briefly with the assertion that pidgin languag-
es make more use of reduplication than others: if we consider Tok Pisin, it is
clear that this is only correct to a limited extent. We should first make a
distinction between lexicalized reduplications and those which are the result of
a productive word-forming system. The first group owes its existence to a
number of different processes, such as:
a. Borrowings from native languages
Tok Pisin Source Translation
pekpek Tolai pekapeke excrement
pukpuk Tolai pukpuk crocodile
purpur Tolai purpur grass skirt
b. Onomatopoeia
Tok Pisin Translation
rokrok frog
samsam drag one’s feet
c. Simplification of the English model8
Tok Pisin Translation
niknik mechanic
aniani onion
tete today
d. Avoidance of homophony
Tok Pisin Translation
sip ship
sipsip sheep
pis piece, beads, peace
pispis piss, urine, bladder

8.Vowel and consonant harmony is also found in early child language development, such
as when children refer to the name ‘Bertha’ as ‘Tata’ or ‘Edith’ and ‘Dieter’ as ‘Didi’.
32 Tok Pisin Texts

The reduplication used as a means of morphology or inflexion in Tok Pisin is,

as, incidentally, in most pidgin languages, relatively rare and is also a fairly
recent development. Even in cases where there is a model, reduplication is not
popular, as we shall see.
In Tolai, the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs is ex-
pressed by reduplication of the former, e.g., in iuiu ‘bathe’, iu ‘wash something’.
A number of such cases were ‘copied’ (calqued) in Tok Pisin in the 1920s:

Tok Pisin Translation Tok Pisin Translation

waswas bathe, swim was (im) wash something

singsing dance, celebrate sing (im) sing
puspus copulate pus (im) have sex with someone
lukluk look, stare luk (im) see or look at something
lotulotu hold a service lotu (im) worship God

These few examples were the only instances. Reduplication did not develop into
a productive mechanism.
However, in most recent times, there is a more pronounced occurrence of
reduplication, mainly in the informal registers of the language. For example, it
is possible to intensify the meaning of a verb by doubling the first syllable, as in:

Tok Pisin Translation Tok Pisin Translation

subim push subsubim push with all your might

lukim look at luklukim stare at
sekim shake seksekim give a good shaking
rabim rub rabrabim rub through, massage
wesim waste weswesim waste immensely

Overall, however, reduplication only plays a marginal role in Tok Pisin; it is

used to mark stylistic differences but not to extend the core grammar or core
It is hoped that these few examples have served to show that familiar
generalizations about pidgin languages prove not to be well founded on closer
inspection. Only the study of actual data, and this must mean longitudinal data,
can reveal the true nature of a language such as Tok Pisin.
Sociohistorical and grammatical aspects of Tok Pisin 33

9. Conclusions

Our sketchy remarks on Tok Pisin grammar show that one is dealing with a
language that has over the years become very different from British and
Australian English. The order of magnitude of change in Tok Pisin over the last
100 years is no less than that which separates Anglo-Saxon from Modern
English. The language as it is spoken today is largely a creation of its Papuan
and its Melanesian speakers. However, it may well be that English will be an
important factor in the development of Tok Pisin. The number of Tok Pisin-
English bilinguals has been steadily growing (from 6.88 percent to 12.22 percent
of the population between 1966 and 19719) and both lexical and grammatical
influence from English is in evidence in Tok Pisin spoken by the younger
generation. Whether the outcome will be a distinct, separate, urban pidgin, a
lectal continuum, or lectal shift, remains to be seen. Lynch (1990) deplores the
lack of official policies that would make an end to the present laisez faire
attitude that has resulted in increasing sociolectal diversification, and he
proposes steps that would guarantee the continued usefulness of Tok Pisin as an
intergroup language of Papua New Guinea.

10. Appendix: Some brief remarks on the texts

The following texts were collected by Tom Dutton (TD), Peter Mühlhäusler
(PM) and Suzanne Romaine (SR) over a period of many years. We have tried to
cover the full range of variation found in Tok Pisin, both along its historical and
its social and stylistic axes. The texts we have chosen are only a small percentage
of the ones our own linguistic analyses are derived from. We make no claims as
to the statistical representativeness of our selections and we would strongly
advise those who want to study aspects of the development of Tok Pisin to
supplement the materials given in this book with additional evidence.We are
confident that even in its present limited form, this collection of texts will
provide an inspiration both to linguists taking an interest in Tok Pisin and to
the speakers of this language.
Glosses and translations are provided for most texts except for some very
early ones. Those who recorded these texts were under the impression that they

9.As Laycock (1985a) points out, later census data are not entirely reliable and comparison
between surveys is difficult.
34 Tok Pisin Texts

were dealing with a substandard form of English that did not need a translation
and they adapted their spelling and sometimes grammar to the requirements of
European readers. Due to increasing linguistic convergence, later texts tend to
require fewer glosses than many of the earlier ones.


comp completive neg negator

cont continuous action past past
emph emphasiser pl plural
exc exclamation poss possessive
foc focus pr predicate marker
fut future prep preposition
hab habitual prog progressive
inc first person plural inclusive tag question tag
interr interrogative
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong
Siaman (the Good Old Days of the German

Text 1: The earliest evidence for Pidgin English in the New Guinea area,

Extracts from Thomas Jefferson Jacobs (1844: 77–80).

This is the earliest example of Pidgin English spoken in the area of present-day
Papua New Guinea. The Witu group of islands is situated in the West New
Britain Province and appears to have been contacted by Europeans as early as
the second half of the 18th century. The presence of Pidgin English here
suggests regular visits from passing vessels and the practice of taking Islanders
away for prolonged periods of time, as with the speaker Darco in this text. The
fairly developed Pidgin English in the Witu Islands is not necessarily a direct
predecessor of Tok Pisin, which developed later around the Duke of York
Islands and the Gazelle Peninsula of New Britain.

Presently the consultation ended, and the savages stood along the beach in battle
array, while a noble-looking red warrior advanced to the water’s edge, and,
shaking his spear at us, cried out at the top of his voice, ‘You make [1] lie to kill
us! You killed and eat Darco many moons ago! We [2] know you, Pongo, very
bad. Can’t kill us on land! We kill you! You afraid of magic stone!’
With this the savages uttered the war-yell and brandished their war implements,
while the tum-tums were beaten with increased fury.
Darco again hailed them: ‘Me no speak lie! Me real Darco. Pongo good man; no
eat me! Me hab been [3] to America! Me come ashore alone, and show you!
‘You speak lie plenty!’ shouted the red warrior. ‘Te-lum-by-by Darco not white
like you!’
‘Me not white!’ shouted Darco, as he stripped off his duck shirt and trousers, and
36 Tok Pisin Texts

hung them on the jib-stay, upon which he seized, and stood up in a

commanding attitude, exposing his bare body full to the view of the savages,
while he stretched out his muscular arm and pointed at them with his hand, and
shouted, ‘You [4] see me. I am Prince Darco!’

Constructions of particular linguistic interest in this text include:

[1] Note the use of make followed by a noun to make up for the lack of verbs;
this is a common mechanism in pidgin languages.
[2] No distinction is made, as in later Tok Pisin, between inclusive and exclu-
sive first person plural pronouns.
[3] Hab been is not found in later texts.
[4] No distinction is made between second person singular and plural pro-
nouns. This confirms the general impression of this text, i.e., that one is
dealing with a jargon or simplified form of English rather than an estab-
lished pidgin.

Text 2: Statements by New Irelanders recruited to the sugar plantations

of Queensland, 1880s

Contacts between Europeans and Indigenes of the New Guinea area intensified
when labour recruiters turned to the Bismarck Archipelago in the 1880s.
Recruitment to Queensland in 1883 and 1884 was soon discontinued because
of the high mortality rate of the recruits and the opposition from the Imperial
German Government, who declared north east New Guinea and surrounding
islands a German Protectorate in 1884. The following two passages by New
Irelanders were taken down as court evidence and appear to be a relatively close
record of their speech. Altogether around 1,500 Islanders from New Britain,
New Ireland and adjacent islands went to Queensland, though many of them
did not return, and a number of others returned before they had a chance to
acquire a full knowledge of Queensland Kanaka English. The descendants of
these workers, even on Tabar and Lihir Islands where a very large proportion of
the male population had been to Queensland, appear to have given up their
Queensland-influenced Pidgin English and to have shifted to Tok Pisin.
Le Ang, New Ireland Islander, states as follows:
Knew Lang Aroso, he my brother, I see him along [1] hospital at M. Sick, he
been sick one week, he sick along belly, he die along hospital, I stop along
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 37

hospital when he die, he not eat, too much sick, master been give him medicine,
he die along belly; I see him put along ground. No one beat him [2] that fellow,
no one touch him, before, Lang Aroso been sick along Island.
(Queensland State Archives, Folio Jus/N174: 8 January 1885).
Warabut, Polynesian labourer states:
I [3] am a native of New Ireland. I work long Mister Scott. Me [3] know Umba.
He make him hand long a neck. Me think him sick. He no go work yesterday. He
stop [4] long a house. When bell ring me come home and find Umba sitting up.
He dead. Me say: Umba Umba. He [5] no move, him [5] dead.
(Queensland State Archives, Folio Jus/N118: 29 March 1885)
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] A general preposition long or along has replaced a variety of prepositions of
English. Long remains the most general preposition in present-day Tok
[2] An early example of the transitive verb affix -im.
[3] The first person pronoun forms I and me are used variably with no appar-
ent grammatical or pragmatic conditioning. Present-day Tok Pisin has mi
but I is preserved in a fossilized form in aiting (from ‘I think’) perhaps.
[4] Stop is used as a locative or existential as in present-day Tok Pisin.
[5] The third person singular pronoun again is expressed by two interchange-
able forms he and him.

Text 3: Reminiscences of a missionary, 1880s

A further intensification of contacts between outsiders and Indigenes occurred

with the establishment of mission and trading posts in the Duke of York Islands
and nearby Gazelle Peninsula in the early 1880s. The Duke of York Islands were
also used as transit depots for thousands of New Guinean labourers who went
to the German-controlled plantations of Western Samoa.
The first texts appeared in the reminiscences of Brown (1908), the first mission-
ary in the area.
The chief who accompanied us round the island noticed this and said:
‘Missionary no come Matupit, ah! Topulu he [1] no come. Missionary [1] come,
oh! Topulu he come. He go house belong Matupit’. (p. 93).
38 Tok Pisin Texts

Here I was interrupted several times by them saying: ‘Oh, Duke of York man he
talk gammon belong [2] (i.e. to) you, plenty gammon [3], plenty too much
gammon. What for make fight? No make fight. Pate, pate, pate (No, no, no). No
make fight’. (p. 122)
‘Oh man belong salt water [4] he fight man belong bush. He kaikai (eat) him.
He catch him bone he go belong spear. All same this fellow place’, which last
sentence means, such is the custom here. (p. 125)
About three o’clock I went on shore again, and went up the village to Tom’s
house, where I found that he had prepared a large present of taro, pumpkins,
cocoanuts, bananas, and a large pig. He said: ‘This is yours. Duke of York man
he tell you that I [5] would fight you. Is this fighting? Will the taro fight you?
Will the bananas fight you? Will the pig fight you? No, no, me [5] no fight you,
me plenty like you’, etc., etc. I made him a few presents in return, and then we
went to another chief ’s house, where we got another present minus the pig; and
so again from a third chief, for all which I made a suitable return. Tom came on
board in the evening to say good-bye, and said several times to me: ‘Missionary,
suppose [6] you hungry you come here to this place belong me. Plenty taro, he
stop here, full, full, me give him you. Boat belong you, he go down, sink with
taro, bananas, and yams. Suppose you hungry come here; me very good fellow,
yes, me good fellow’. (p. 141).
It was quite strange to-day as we passed by some of the villages to hear Tuki tell
me, in the most unconcerned manner possible, of events that had taken place
there: ‘That fellow place he kaikai (eat) three fellow-man belong me; another
day me kaikai four men belong him. Four fellow-man me kaikai’ (eat), he said
again, laughing quite pleasantly, and in a most self-satisfied manner as he held
up his four fingers. Blood feuds appeared to be easily made up if the one party
agrees to pay. A few fathoms of shell money were quite sufficient to pay for a
murder. (p. 147)

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The resumptive third person pronoun is used variably in this text. Over the
years it developed into the predicate marker i of present-day Tok Pisin,
possibly helped by substratum influence.
[2] Belong in this text functions as the generic preposition. It translates as ‘to,
of, for, etc.’ Later texts usually distinguish between bilong ‘possession’ and
long ‘locative’.
[3] Gammon ‘to lie, to be mistaken’ is giaman in more recent texts. Its most
likely source is colloquial Australian English ‘gammon’ though we may be
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 39

dealing with a multiple etymology, i.e., a combination of gammon ‘deceit’,

German ‘the agents of deceit’, and sermon ‘the medium of deceit’. Such
lexical encounters are frequent in pidgin languages.
[4] Salt water ‘sea’ has become solwara or solowara in modern Tok Pisin. This
latter form is sometimes given the fanciful etymology ‘soda water’.
[5] Note the variable forms of the first person singular pronoun.
[6] Suppose ‘if ’ is one of the earliest formal devices for signalling subordinate
constructions. Present-day Tok Pisin has sapos.

Text 4: Recruitment of labour, New Britain 1880s

One of the first traders in the Duke of York area was Captain Thomas Farrell,
the defacto husband of Emma Eliza Coe (Queen Emma), the famous American-
Samoan woman. Together, the two built a trading and plantation empire where
Tok Pisin stabilized. Farrell was involved both in labour trade with Samoa and
with the first plantation set up in New Britain, which employed a significant
number of ex-plantation workers from Samoa. In the following passage
Parkinson (1887: 29) describes an episode involving the recruiting of New
Britain labour for the Samoan plantations. The speaker is a White recruiter.
Little or none of his speech is understood by the natives.
The recruiter asks them in classical South Seas English:
‘You like go Samoa.’ Confused talk among the people around him. He continues:
‘Kanakas [1]; you give me plenty boys. One boy, me give you one musket, plenty
powder, ball, cap, tomahawk, tobacco, beads…’
Here he interrupts the flow of his speech, for an aged man, the chief of the
village, approaches with a black fellow, whom he wants to give away in order to
obtain the desired articles. However, he is still hesitating; he wants to know at
first the destination and duration of the journey. ‘Three Yam’ [2] says the
recruiter, displaying three fingers of his hand. ‘You go, three Yam! Plenty kaikai
(food)! By and by [3] you come back.’ The dignified chief does not understand
much of this, but it does not matter for the shining ‘gifts’ have enough power of
conviction, and soon the transaction is completed.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Kanaka ‘indigenous person, usually not in European employment and
therefore “unsophisticated”’ is a form of Polynesian origin. It is widespread
in the pidgins of the region and has even found its way into Cameroonian
Pidgin English. In present-day Tok Pisin it is used mainly as a term of
40 Tok Pisin Texts

abuse, but in Queensland Kanaka English and in New Caledonia it has

become a positive label signalling Melanesian identity.
[2] Yam ‘year’: early recruiters often tried to get across the concept of year by
referring to the growth period of the yam. This was a very unreliable
method, particularly when combined with displaying three fingers, a sign
which in many parts of Melanesia means ‘two’.
[3] Sentence-initial by-and-by is used as a future or irrealis marker. In later
varieties of the language it got shortened to bambai and bai and now
frequently appears closer to the verb phrase.

Text 5: A list of Pidgin English expressions, 1883

By the time the first recruits from the New Guinea area arrived in Samoa, a
relatively stable plantation pidgin, spoken by Gilbertese and Polynesian
labourers, was already in use on the Samoan plantations. As the New Guinea
recruits became numerically dominant they changed and extended this lan-
guage into a more Melanesian Pidgin English. This language was passed on to
the next generation of plantation workers back home and soon spread over the
entire Bismarck Archipelago. In 1883 the German consular employee Mr.
Huebel supplied a list of Pidgin English expressions to the Austrian linguist
Hugo Schuchardt of Graz University. Here follows an extract from this list with
English translations by Markey (1979: 8–9):
Kaikai he [1] finish?
Is dinner ready?
He finish.
You make him some water he boil.
Make some water hot.
He finish hot.
It is already hot.
Some egg he stop?
Are there any eggs?
He no stop.
There are none.
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 41

You make horse belong me.

Saddle my horse.
You save this man where he stop?
Do you know where this man stays?
You go house belong A., you speak him, he sabe where pulumakau [2] he stap.
You go to A’s house and ask him if he knows where I can get beef.
Place belong me he no make all same.
In my island they do differently.
He black fellow boy belong German consul.
The black boy of the German consul.
Bring fellow [3] belong make open bottle.
Bring me a corkscrew.
Make open that fellow beer.
Open this beer bottle.
Kaikai finish, me like to go ‘bout.
I want to walk about after dinner.
What kaikai me make him?
What shall I make for dinner?
Suppose you come soon Monday, very good; suppose you no come soon, me so
If you come early on Monday, it will suit, if you are late, I shall not be
Me no like go place belong me.
I don’t want to go home.
He [4] small fellow hot.
It is moderately hot.
He too much hot.
It is too hot.
This fellow fowl he belong one shilling, that fellow he belong half dollar.
This fowl costs a shilling, that one half a dollar.
You no save that fellow white man cocoanut [5] belong him no grass? [6]
Don’t you know that baldheaded white man?
Me want him gun belong you, me like go bush shoot him pidgeon.
Give me your fowling piece, I will go in the bush and shoot pigeons.
42 Tok Pisin Texts

Master belong me he no good, he too much fight me.

My master is not good, he beats me too much.
Me no like go work, me stop house, cocoanut belong me too much sore.
I can’t go to work, I want to stay at home, because my head is aching.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The resumptive pronoun he is used variably to introduce predicates.
[2] Present-day bulmakau ‘beef, cattle, cow’ is widely used in the pidgins of
Melanesia and Australia and is derived from English ‘bull and cow’.
[3] In this and other early texts fellow is used as a noun or nominal classifier. In
later texts it became reanalysed as an adjective ending as can be seen in
modern Tok Pisin gutpela kaikai ‘good food’ or tripela pik ‘three pigs’.
[4] As in modern Tok Pisin he ‘it’ not only functions as a true pronoun but also
as a dummy.
[5] Cocoanut ‘head’ probably originates in a European joke. Present-day Tok
Pisin employs het.
[6] This lexical item reflects a widespread semantic areal feature, i.e., the use of
a single lexical item to refer to hair, feathers, fur, mould and (sometimes)

Text 6: Early spread of Tok Pisin

As German control spread from New Britain to outlying areas of the Bismarck
Archipelago and the New Guinea mainland, so did Tok Pisin. The following are
a couple of texts recorded by the Swedish anthropologist Morner in the Wuvulu
Islands west of Manus (Morner MS). The first text describes the punishment
given to a foreign worker employed on Wuvulu for the theft of a rooster. The
second text describes a conversation of how best to point out a flying fox
hanging in a coconut tree.
(i) Faiu asked my fourteen year old Manus boy Boggio to interpret. What did the
accused have to say in his defence? Long silence. Then, via Boggio: ‘That’s all,
him he [1] like ketch [2] him grass nothing’ (he claimed that he had merely
intended to take a few feathers). Now Faiu: ‘All right, now me pay him two fella
belong ass nothing [3] too. You now savvy fashion belong whity man. You no
can pull him grass belong kokaroo [4]. Patu ketch him, put him ass belong him
he come top’.
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 43

A large basket is rolled out and placed upside down. The sinner hitches up his
shorts and lies down across the basket. Two men grasp his wrists and ankles.
Patu stands beside him expressionless, and switches his rattan testingly through
the air. ‘One!’ A blow snaps forcefully across the sinner’s bottom. The strong
young body twitches but there is no sound of complaint. ‘Are you finished?’ No
The rattan lashes out again.
‘Are you finished?’
‘Well. Suppose one time more you like pull him grass belong kokaruk. I give you
five fella more. You hear him?
‘All right. Finished! No you fella boy who savvy talk him he savvy now.’
(ii) My Manu boy Boggio, who has eyes like a sea-eagle, wanted to point out to me a
flying dog which was hanging in a coconut palm. Impossible. Then Faiu came,
and I heard the following conversation:
Where as he stop belong cocoanut?
‘He stop strait belong wie [5].’
‘He stop side belong sodawater? [6]’
‘No he stop side belong bush.’
‘He stop hat belong him piece of wood.’
Bang! The flying dog fell. Faiu regarded me, as if he wanted to say ‘Where are
your eyes Arafi?’
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The appearance of he after the third person pronoun him clearly constitutes
an example of this form having become a predicate marker.
[2] The more common form for ‘catch’ is kitchim or kisim.
[3] Nothing or nating following verbs or nouns is used as a frustrative marker
meaning ‘in vain, of no importance or value’ and similar contextually
determined aspects of meaning, a category presumably transferred from
Melanesian languages. In this particular case ass nothing (as nating) means
‘bare bottom’.
[4] Kokaroo is a variant of kakaruk ‘rooster’, a word of Tolai origin.
[5] This is possibly the name of a tree.
[6] This is an example of solowara reinterpreted by Europeans as ‘soda water’.
44 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 7: German New Guinea, early 1900s

Otto Dempwolff, doctor and linguist, is one of the principal sources of informa-
tion about the linguistic situation in German New Guinea. Unfortunately,
Dempwolff never published an account of Tok Pisin and failed to date the texts
he had collected in this language. The following story would seem to relate to
the New Guinea mainland around Madang shortly after the turn of the 20th
century. There are a number of inconsistencies in Dempwolff’s transcriptions
but these have been left unchanged. I am grateful to Dr. Mosel of Cologne
University for making these materials available to me.
Long time bipo (before) all kanaka belong-Madang he like kill-him whitemen
belong Madang.
Ars [1] belong talk: kiap [2] he skant-him [3] kanaka he come he work-him
road belong kiap. Kanaka he no like, all he come together along night, he make-
him big fellow talk talk.
One fellow kanaka belong Graged, name belong him Malbog he save too much
make-him singsing belong betelnut. Boy belong him he policeman along
All kanaka he come along Malbog he singout-him, he make-him singsing belong
betelnut. Malbog he speak: mi no like. Boy belong me he stop Madang suppose
you make-him fight along whiteman, byamby you, kill-him boy belong me. Belly
belong me he turn around [4], me no like you kill-him boy belong me.
One fellow other fellow kanaka he make-him singsing belong betelnut he no save
make-him good.
Night he finish, all kanaka he take-him spear, he take-him banara [5] he go
shore, he pull-him canoe along saltwater, he come Madang.
All whiteman belong Madang he no save, he stop nothing [6]. Doktor he stop
Beliao, he limlimbur nothing [6].
One fellow kanaka belong Beliao name belong him Nalong, him he before boy
belong doktor, he run he come along house belong doktor, he sing out: ‘Doktor
you come quik, you look-him all kanaka along canoe, he come he like kill-him
Some fellow he work along store, some fellow he stop house, kiap he make him
paper along house paper, police-master he eksait (exercise) police.
Doktor he speak, ‘Nalong me think you gamon.’
‘Doktor, me no gamon, he true you come, you look-him canoe first time.’
Doktor he look-him canoe plenty to much, he look him kanaka along canoe, he
no look-him, mary [7] along canoe, he run he run along shore he kis (catch) him
boat belong him, he two fellow [8] Nalong he pull he pull he come along sure
(shore) he two fellow run along house paper.
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 45

Doktor he singout: ‘Kiap you look him kanaka he like fight’.

Policemaster he hear him doctor, policemaster Bayer he singout ‘All policemen
antreten’ [9]. Kiap he speak ‘What name you to fellow you like-him?’
Policeman he take-him musket he shoot-him kanaka along canoe kiap he sing
out ‘Me no like all whiteman he shoot him all kanaka, mi no hear-him good. Mi
think Nalong hi gamon. Suppose me hear-him true talk, allright, policeman he
shoot-him all kanaka.’
Maski [10], kanaka he alright, he turn-him canoe belong him, he pull, he pull
he run away finish.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] A variant spelling of ass or as ‘posterior’.
[2] Kiap ‘patrol officer, white administrator’ probably a contamination of
English ‘captain’.
[3] Variant spelling of singautim ‘to call, shout at’.
[4] Belly belong me he turn around is one of numerous body-part expres-
sions of Tok Pisin referring to human emotions. In this case, the
apparent meaning is ‘I changed my mind’.
[5] Banara or bunara is derived from English ‘bow and arrow’.
[6] Further examples of the frustrative marker nothing. In this context stop
nothing translates as ‘remained unsuspecting’ and limlimbur nothing as
‘strolled about unarmed or unsuspecting’.
[7] Mary (present-day meri) ‘woman’ may be another example of a lexical
item with multiple etymology combining English ‘Mary’ and ‘married’
with Tolai mare ‘beautiful’.
[8] He two fellow Nalong: the two of them, he and Nalong.
[9] Antreten ‘fall in’ is one of the many items of German origin in ‘classical’
Tok Pisin. It reflects the use of German in the police force.
[10] Maski ‘nevermind’ is a word widely found in the pidgins and creoles of
the world. It is alleged to be of Portuguese origin, but German macht
nichts ‘nevermind’ may have reinforced its use in Tok Pisin.

Text 8: Early phonogram recording, 1904

The administration and police force in German New Guinea was one of the prin-
cipal instruments for the spread of Tok Pisin. The following text is by the police
soldier Kakau from New Hanover. It was recorded in Monumbo on the New
Guinea mainland in 1904 by Dr. R. Poech, a German doctor, on phonogram.
46 Tok Pisin Texts

Belong place belong me me shoot him plenty kumul. Pass me come ‘long place
‘long white man, place he no strait. Plenty mountain. Pass ground he sitrait, me
shoot him plenty. Me look him, he run away finish. Pass he top good, me shoot
him. He karapaim long diway, me no look him. Pass me mark him long time, he
run away, he go an other fellow diway.
(Recording no. 381 Phonogrammarchiv der Oesterreichischen Akademie der
Wissenschaften: Poech (1904): Pidgin English).
In present-day Tok Pisin the document would about look as follows:
Sapos [1] mi stap long ples bilong mi, nau mi sutim planti kumul. Nau me kam
long ples bilong waitman, ples hia [2] i no stret [3], planti [4] maunten, nating
[5] yu no lukautim [6] kumul yu no sutim [7]. Sapos olo graun(?) [8] graun
[9] i stret, mi sutim planti. Na graun i no stret. Sapos graun i gutpela(?) [10] mi
sutim planti. Mi harim i krai, mi laik i go long em, mi harim mul(?) [11] i
ranawe [12] i karamapim [13] antap long diwai [14]. Sapos i sindaun [15]
daunbilo [16] mi sutim planti. I no sindaun daunbilo. I sindaun antap long
diwai. I no stap gut long diwai. Sapos mi makim, i ranawe pinis. Sapos i stap
gut long diwai mi sutim, planti.
If I were in my own area, I would be able to shoot many birds of paradise.
Now I have come to the White man’s area, this place is not flat, many
mountains; I think one will not be able to find birds of paradise and shoot
them. If the ground (?) is flat, I shoot many. But the ground is not flat. If the
ground were good (?) I would shoot plenty. I hear them call out, but when I
go towards them, I hear them (?) fly up high in the trees. If they stayed down
low I would shoot many; but they do not stay down low, they stay up high in
the trees. And they do not stay still in the trees; if I take aim at them, they fly
away. If they stayed still in the trees I would shoot many.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Sapos is pronounced throughout as [spos].
[2] Hia is pronounced [ia].
[3] Stret is pronounced throughout as [siÁtret] when [Á] indicates stress
before the syllable stressed.
[4] Planti is pronounced throughout as [p’lanti] or [pu’landi].
[5] Nating may be ating, the more usual form in present-day Tok Pisin
with the initial [n] a carry-over from the final [n] of maunten.
[6] Lukautim is used differently here from how it would be used in present-
day Tok Pisin. Today one would use lukim ‘see’ or painim pinis ‘find’.
Lukautim in present-day Tok Pisin means ‘look after, take care of ’.
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 47

[7] Sutim is pronounced something like [’ts uts im].

[8] Olo graun: this expression is unclear. It could alternatively be olosem
which would also make sense here.
[9] Graun is pronounced throughout as [graun] or [gi’raun].
[10] Gutpela: this expression is unclear. It could alternatively be stret.
[11] Mul: this expression is unclear. It sounds fairly definitely thus but it
may be a conflation of em ol, although the [u] heard would seem, on
the basis of other [o]s in the text, to be too high unless the [l] is causing
raising. The only other possible explanation is that mul is an unex-
plained shortened form of kumul used earlier in the text.
[12] Ranawe is pronounced variously as [‘ranawe] or [‘ronowe].
[13] Karamapim ‘to hide itself ’ is an early example of the use of the transi-
tive marker -im to signal reflexive.
[14] Diwai is pronounced throughout as [d’wai].
[15] Sindaun is pronounced throughout as [sit’taun].
[16] Daunbilo is pronounced throughout as [tambu’lo] or [tamb’ro].
Otherwise note that the pidgin used in this text is virtually identical
with that used in present-day Tok Pisin in all respects except that the
particle -i is sometimes stressed in this text.

Text 9: First scholarly account of Tok Pisin, 1911

Georg Friederici was a leader of the Hanseatic Geographic Expedition which

visited German New Guinea shortly after the turn of the 20th century. His
article of 1911 is the first scholarly account of Tok Pisin and as well as valuable
socio-historical information it also gives numerous examples of the language.
Further comments on this text are given by McDonald (1977):
One fellow tamiok he come!
Bring me an axe!
One fellow ten belong arsch! [1]
Ten strokes on the bottom!
This fellow fashion me no like! [2]
I don’t like this way!
Umbene he good fellow?
Is the net good?
48 Tok Pisin Texts

No good, he short fellow!

No, it is too short!
Kitch him bonara he come! [3]
Bring me the bow!
Kitch him kundu he go! [3]
Take the drum away!
You like him kapiak?
Do you like this breadfruit?
No, he no mau yet.
No, it is not yet ripe.
Where stop canoe?
Where is the canoe?
Mambu where he stop?
Where is the raft?
Answer: eme (am).
Pull him boat he go!
Pull the boat into the water!
Raus [4] him dog! Make him save!
Chase away the dog! Teach him a lesson!
Where stop place? He close to?
Where is the village? Is it near?
No! Long way liklik! (or: long way; long way too much!)
No! It is a fairly long way! (or: far off; very far off!)
Liklik peganini (piccaninny).
A small child.
You look him plenty kumul?
Did you see many birds of paradise?
No kumul; plenty curria; plenty too much balus! [5]
No, no birds of paradise; but many goura pigeons; and plenty of birds!
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 49

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] Note the German spelling of as ‘posterior’ which suggests that we are
dealing with a lexical encounter leading to etymological merger.
[2] The word order here is OSV. The deviation from the expected SVO order
may serve a stylistic purpose. However, in early texts such as these there is
considerable fluctuation in word order.
[3] Movement away from speaker is signalled in Tok Pisin by i go and move-
ment towards speaker by i kam following the main verb. This is an early
example of verb chaining (serialization).
[4] The origin of this very frequent item is German raus ‘get out, get lost’. This
item and similar ones derived from German commands reflect the authori-
tarian context in which the language developed.
[5] One of the numerous words of local (mainly) Tolai origin in this text.
Many nouns referring to the fauna and flora of the country are of local
origin. As a general rule, basic category items (fish, bird, tree) in most
pidgins are of European origin, whilst subordinate level names (e.g., garfish,
sparrow, oak) are of indigenous origin. The fact that Tok Pisin derives
many basic items from Tolai and related languages is indicative of a
particularly strong influence of these languages during German days.

Text 10: Ethno-psychological study, 1913

The German Anthropologist Richard Thurnwald, in 1913, published the results

of his ethno-psychological studies on Bougainville. One of his techniques was
to show picture postcards to his informants and he asked them ‘what you look
here?’. Here follow some of the responses he elicitated:

Informant Postcard Response

Molebai woman from Brenner area good fellow belong me
Molebai woman in traditional Tyrolian ah! he abamas [1] long him he
dress plenty coloss good fellow, clean fellow
coloss [2]
Molebai Murville: old woman with boy old fellow man young fellow he sleep
and dog old fellow man he look long laus [3]
50 Tok Pisin Texts

Molebai two sailing boats ej good fellow too much two fellow
Molebai a young man chases a blond oh, uh, puh, old fellow man, young
girl fellow man he catch him
Molebai a chick that has just hatched fowl, picanini, four fellow, small
fellow, good fellow too much

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] Abamas is a non-nasalized variant of amamas ‘to be happy’.
[2] Coloss is a non-standard spelling for klos ‘clothes’.
[3] Look long laus means ‘to hunt head lice’.

Text 11: Letters, 1913

Whilst Tok Pisin remained a restricted medium for oral communication

throughout the German colonial period (i.e., up to 1916), and whilst no
standard orthography was developed by the Germans, there are occasional signs
that Tok Pisin was used by New Guineans for writing letters. The following
letter in its original form as well as in anglicized etymological spelling appeared
in the Koloniale Rundschau of 1913. The writer probably came from the
Bismarck Archipelago, but specific details are not provided.
Masta Vaitman,
Tividele mi ispikiu log mani bolog mi log tain bolog mi pipo. I finish (25) tupala ten
mun na paip. Mi laik pabai [1] iu givemi log en, papai mi kam bek. Mi vok mani
bolog paim samtig bolog mi, samtig bolog mi istip log papa pipo mi kissim. I pinis
tasol. Tasol me tokimiu log gem i pinis. Pos you no laik, iu givimi tupaou bolog paim
samtig. Mi nogot samtig bolog go peles, papai mi givim kandereman [2] bolog mi log
peles. Mi tokiu olosem mi laik save tok bolog iu. Namem iu no kan givim mi olosem.
I pinis. Gutbai mi go. Siara mi go log gem.
Master Whiteman,
Tividele me speak you belong money belong me long time belong me before. I finish
[25] two fellow ten moon now five. Me like by and bye you give him me belong him,
by and bye me come back. Me work money belong pay something belong me
something belong me he stop belong paper before, me catch him. Ifinish, this is all.
That is all me talk him you belong him I finish. Suppose you no like you give him me
2 pound belong pay him something. Me no got something belong go place, by and bye
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 51

me give him countrymen belong me belong place. Me talk you all the same, me like
save talk belong you. Nevermind you no can give him me, all the same. I finish. Good
bye me go. Siara me go belong him.
Master White man,
I, Tividele, told you of the money of mine some time ago. Twenty five months
have gone by. I would like you to give it (the money) to me and I shall return. I
worked for money in order to pay for my things. The things that were written
down on paper, I received them. That is finished now. So I would just like to tell
you that that is finished. If you are not agreeable, just give me two pounds to pay
for things. I have nothing coming to me so that I could distribute it among my
fellow villagers. I am telling you this, I want to inform you. Nevermind, if you do
not give it to me it makes no difference. It is finished now. Good bye, I am off. I
am going to Siara.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Pabai (baimbai), the future marker, is used as a complementizer here. The
entire text is characterized by a considerable amount of embedding and
grammatical complexity.
[2] Kandare or kandareman ‘friend, uncle, fellow countryman’ reflects the roots
of this language in the Pacific labour trade.

Text 12: Evidence given in a murder trial, c.1912

Tok Pisin was used increasingly in the administration of German New Guinea,
though the linguistic resources of the language remained limited. Here follows
an example of its use in the law courts as evidence given at Kokopo in a murder
case. We are grateful to Dr Steward Firth of Macquarie University for bringing
this document to our attention.
Me shoot him finish Whiteman, now me make me die, me like you die past time, by
and by other fellow boy he ketch him you.
Bell belong mi hot [1] [2] me like fight all the same place belong me, me shoot him
finish [3] one fellow master, now me like [3] die behind. Me like shoot past time you,
by and by me die, you ketch him other fellow man.
Me no look him good that [4] fellow master, me shoot him bell belong him, he big
fellow. I think me shoot him master Kolbe. Eye belong me too dark me no look him
good. Me now die. (Reichskolonialamt records vol. 29, c.1912).
52 Tok Pisin Texts

I have shot dead the White man, now I make myself die, I want you to die first,
then another ‘boy’ can get you.
My stomach was aroused, I wanted to fight like back in my village, I have shot
dead one European, now I want to (or shall) die afterwards. (If) want to shoot
you first, then I shall die, you apprehend another man.
I did not see this European very well, I shot him in his stomach, he was a big
European. I think (or: perhaps) I shot master Kolbe. My eyes were darkened, I
did not see him well. Now I shall die.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] In this text the speaker experiences considerable difficulties with his
pronouns, particularly in their exophoric function. Note also the use of
body part images (‘my stomach was aroused’, ‘my eyes were darkened’)
which signal the reduced responsibility of the speaker for his actions,
though he is prepared to die for his actions.
[2] This would be bel bilong mi hat or mi belhat ‘I am angry’ in present-day Tok
Pisin. Gradually such expressions were replaced by loans from English, such
as kros ‘cross, angry’; cf. Text 69 below.
[3] In this text many verbs are accompanied by aspect markers such as finish
‘completed action’ or laik ‘inception’.
[4] Probably an error. Tok Pisin only has one spatial deictic adjective: dispela
‘this’ or ‘that’.

Text 13: Translation of the Geneva Convention, c.1914

German colonial power in New Guinea came to an end in 1914 when British and
Australian forces invaded the capital Rabaul. The new situation that was created by
a war between powerful outsiders was a source of great confusion for the Indige-
nous population, and a number of attempts were made to explain the changes
through the use of government proclamations in Tok Pisin. The first example
is an extremely capable translation by Dempwolff of the Geneva Convention:
Suppose white men [1] he make him big fellow fight, all time he shoot him only that
fellow men, he got musket; he no shoot him missis, he no shoot him mary, he no
shoot him piccanini.
All the same all white men [1] he no kill him men, supposed he sick, he no kill him
men, supposed he got sore belong fight, he no kill him men, he look out him sick [2]
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 53

fellow men.
All white men he make him tabu belong fight all house sick; he make him tabu
belong fight all place, he got sick fellow men. He make him one fellow mark belong
this fellow tabu belong fight: one fellow flagg all the same:
Vorzeigen der Rotenkreuzflagge [at this point show the Red Cross flag]
Name true belong this fellow tabu, name true belong this fellow mark, name true
belong this fellow flagg ‘red cross’.
Supposed some fellow Englishmen belong manofwar he come ashore, he look him ‘red
cross’, he no shoot him house belong ‘red cross’, no fight him place belong ‘red cross’.
All the same, supposed me you [3] fellow policemen me you look him this fellow
mark belong place belong Englishmen, me save finish, him here place belong sick
fellow men, me no can shoot him that fellow place, me no can kill him sick fellow
men. All place, he got ‘red cross’, he tabu belong fight.
(Australian Archives, ACT CRS A 370, item 14)
If the White men make a big fight, they always only shoot those men who have
guns; they do not shoot White women, they do not shoot Indigenous women,
they do not shoot children.
Similarly, the White men do not hit (or kill) men if they are ill, they do not kill
men who are wounded and they do not kill men who look after the wounded.
The White men made a taboo against fighting in hospitals; they made a taboo
against fighting in places where there are sick people. They make a sign to signal
this prohibition to fight, a flag like this:
‘show the red cross flag at this point’
The real name of this taboo, the real name of this sign, the real name of this flag is
‘red cross’.
If some Englishmen from a man-of-war come ashore and see the red cross, they
don’t shoot at the buildings with a red cross and they don’t fight (near) a place
with a red cross.
Similarly, if we policemen see this sign near an English camp, we know, this is a
place for sick people, we cannot shoot at this place, we cannot kill sick people.
Places that have a red cross sign are taboo to fighting.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The English plural form ‘men’ is not expected here. However, it may be a
regional pronunciation variant of the more widely attested man.
[2] The use of the adjective marker fellow after sick is not usually permitted in
Tok Pisin as sick in this language is an intransitive verb. The expected
translation would have been men he sick.
[3] Me you is used instead of the more common yumi (you me).
54 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 14: Proclamation, 1914

A much less sophisticated translation proclaiming the change of ownership of

the territory was read to the local population at Rabaul on September 12th,
1914. Though it exhibits some typical features of Tok Pisin (e.g., the words
gammon ‘lie’, kaikai, ‘food, eat’ and mary ‘woman’), it is mainly a European
fabrication and one can only guess at the amount of it which was understood by
the audience:
All boys belongina [1] one place, you savvy big master he come how, he new feller
master, he strong feller too much, you look him all ship stop place; he small feller ship
belongina him. Plenty more big feller he stop place belongina him, now he come here
he take all place. He look out good you feller. Now he like you feller look out good
alonga him. Suppose other feller master, he been speak you, ‘You no work alonga
new feller master’ he gammon. Suppose you work good with [2] this new feller
master he look out good alonga you, he look out you get plenty good feller kai-kai; he
no fighting [3] black boy alonga nothing.
You look him new feller flag, you savvy him? He belonga British (English); he more
better than [4] other feller; suppose you been making paper before this new feller
master come, you finish time belonga him first, finish time belonga him, you like
make him new fellow paper [5] longa man belonga new feller master, he look out
good alonga with you; he give good fellow kai-kai. Suppose you no look out good
alonga him, he cross too much. British (English) new feller master he like him black
feller man too much. He like him all same you piccanin alonga him. You get black
feller master belongina you, he all same Police master. You look out place alonga
with him he look out place alonga with you. You no fight other feller black man other
feller place you no kai-kai man. You no steal Mary belongina other feller black man.
He finish talk alonga with you soon. Bye-and-bye ship belongina new feller master
he come and look out place belongina you. You look out him now belongina place
belongina you, you speak him all the same.
Me been talk with you now, now you give three good feller cheers belongina new feller
(New Guinea Gazette, 1st Nov. 1914: 7)
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Tok Pisin bilong has been expanded to an unexpected (because of the large
number of syllables) form belongina which is not documented anywhere else.
[2] This preposition does not belong in a Tok Pisin text. The expected form
would be long.
I. From early contacts and Gut Taim Bilong Siaman 55

[3] One of the many examples in texts written by English speakers of equating
English ‘-ing’ with the Tok Pisin transitivity marker -im.
[4] Comparative constructions of this type are very rarely found in Tok Pisin
and long is usually used instead of ‘than’.
[5] ‘Make (him) paper’ is a widespread expression (in Pacific Pidgin English)
meaning ‘to sign a contract of indenture’.
[6] The use of the comic opera um as a copula is a unique feature of this text.

Text 15: Examples of Tok Pisin used by the police force, c.1921

Whilst Rabaul was firmly in the hands of Australia and Britain, the war contin-
ued in some outlying areas of the New Guinea mainland. Captain Detzner
continued the war for four years in the remote bush before surrendering. In his
book (Detzner 1921) numerous passages of Tok Pisin as used by the police
force are quoted. Note the ad hoc spelling of these:
P. 58:
Master, me dy long kaikai!
Master, I am dying for food!
P. 75:
House copper, master Hauman, house copper!
A corrugated iron house, master captain, a corrugated iron house!
You be [1] english?
Are you English?
Me no get place b’long sleep, no house b’long set-down for you,
I have no place for sleeping, no house to live in for you,
kaikai no got, suppose you be english.
I have no food, if you are English.
Me-fellow like you and [2] altogether German too much,
We like you and all the Germans very much,
Me-fellow work finish some-fellow chrismas b’long Rabaul,
I have worked for several years in Rabaul,
b’long work b’long policeman.
prep work of policeman.
Now me like to [3] make work b’long you, maski me go loose [4]
Now I would like to work for you, nevermind I shall give up my
56 Tok Pisin Texts

work b’long missionary.

work for the mission.
P. 222:
Master, saucepan belong you, me loose-em finish!
Master, your saucepan, I lost it!
P. 226:
Master, boy belong me hear-em finished belong missionary;
Master, one of my boys heard from a missionary that many
German men-of-war stop long sodawater and brook finished;
German men-of-war got destroyed in the sea;
plenty steamer belong English.
there are many English steamers.
Em true, master!
It is true, master!
Kanaka belong sodawater look-em finish too;
The saltwater Natives have also seen it;
me think German by-and-by [5] come and raus-em alltogether English!
perhaps the Germans will come and chase the English away!

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The use of the copula be and several other non-standard features suggest
that we are dealing with a somewhat suspect literary form of Tok Pisin. This
comes as somewhat of a surprise as the author of this book claims to have
lived among Tok Pisin speakers in the bush for several years.
[2] Instead of and the expected form would be nau or na.
[3] No complementizer to is documented elsewhere; this is probably a fabrica-
[4] The use of a transitive verb without the ending im (him) was still found
around 1915. This form may well reflect actual use.
[5] This is a very early example of preverbal baimbai, suggesting that the shift
from clause-initial to preverbal position might have occured before phono-
logical contraction to bai.
II. Indigenous voices 1920–1945

Text 16: Earliest recorded song, 1922

With the establishment of plantations in the New Guinea area, a new culture,
described in detail by Mead (1931), grew up. Its members were young men
from all parts of the country who were looking for employment and excitement
in the coastal plantations. Their language was Tok Boi, as Tok Pisin was called
at the time. On the plantations Tok Pisin developed into an instrument of
horizontal communication and was employed in numerous new functions. One
of them was for play and recreation. It is manifested in the appearance of
numerous songs in the language. The earliest recorded song appears in Jacques
(1922: 96ff):
Master bilong mi…i…i
Come back quick
Mi like him taro
Mi like him pinap
My master
Come back quickly
I like taro
I like pineapple
I long time long Sigismun
I long time long Sigisan
Put him down Roland
I no go down long Rabaul
All cabin hi no savee notting
Kee fast him Roland
Kee fast him Sigismun
Kee fast him Sigisa
A long time for the Sigismund
A long time for the Seestern
58 Tok Pisin Texts

The Roland stays put

And is not going to Rabaul
The cabinboys don’t know a thing
Lock up Roland
Lock up Sigismund
Lock up Seestern
Another song which is alluded to but not printed in writings in the 1910s was
popular among plantation workers for a long time. I elicited the following
version in 1973:
Olo boi i limlibur tumas
Puspus olo meri
Kaikai misineri
Olo boi i limlibur tumas
The boys take a lot of time off
They fuck the women
They eat the missionaries
The boys take a lot of time off

Text 17: Margaret Mead’s observations, 1931

By the late 1920s Tok Pisin had established itself firmly in most areas of New
Guinea and surrounding islands and had become the lingua franca of accultur-
ated Indigenes. The rapid functional expansion of the language was not entirely
matched by its structural expansion, however, and the stylistic resources of the
language in particular remained restricted. As Mead (1931: 149) points out:
To the unaccustomed ear, pidgin has a terrific monotony because of the constant
repetition of three words, belong, along and fellow. ‘Belong’ has been substituted
for all the complex native possessives; it does duty for mine, thine, his, hers,
theirs, its, indifferently. ‘Along’ does similar yeoman duty for to, toward, at,
with, beside and the like, sometimes qualified by another word, as ‘one time
along em (with him), close up along em (beside him)’. ‘Fellow is used habitually
in front of any noun, to denote the substantive. So we get ‘two fellow man he go
along one fellow house. He like catch-em one fellow knife he stop along this
fellow house.’ The natives have refused to distiguish between the sexes in
pronouns; he, she and it are all ‘he’; him, her and it, objective, are all ‘em’. Every
transitive verb carries ‘em’ afterward to denote that it takes an object. ‘Me kill-
em one fellow man.’ (I struck a man.) ‘Fight-em fight-em fight-em this fellow
II. Indigenous voices 1920–1945 59

blanket.’ (Beat this blanket.) The object is then used appositively with this
objective pronoun. And the natives have been equally insistent upon their
notions of the negative and affirmative; for, in Oceania, ‘Yes, we have no
bananas’ is not a joke but good Oceanic. The boy who is asked, ‘You no got
Mary?’ will answer, ‘Yes, me no got Mary.’
The monotony of pidgin is further exaggerated by the trick of interpolating the
phrase ‘all right’ at the end of almost every sentence when the speaker is puzzled,
abashed or ‘stalling’. So a boy will give directions to a traveler: ‘You like go along
big fellow mountain, eh? All right. Now you go-go-go, by and by you come along
one big fellow diwai (tree). All right. Now lose-em diwai you come up along one
fellow road. All right. He no good fellow road. He road nothing. All right. Now
you come up along big fellow mountain. You no can cut-em. All right. You must
round-em.’ Here cut is to go through or over in a short cut; round to go around.

Text 18: German-influenced Tok Pisin (PM)

Whilst the administration after 1919 was in the hands of English speakers,
influence of German remained strong on the mission stations and in outlying
areas. Tok Pisin texts containing a high proportion of lexical items of German
origin could be recorded among old speakers until recently. The following is an
example recorded by Mühlhäusler on Ali Island (West Sepik Province).
Bipo mi stap long ‘snaidajunge’. Mi stap long Siaman long Sek long
In the old days I was an apprentice tailor. I stayed with the Germans in Sek in
Alexishafen. Orait, mi wok long ‘snaider’ wantaim wantok ya. Mi ‘schule’
Alexishafen. Well, I worked at the tailor’s with this friend. I went to school
long Alexishafen long tri ‘yar’.
in Alexishafen for three years.

(German items in quotation marks.)

Text 19: Story by a Native policeman, 1943

The first serious scientific analysis is that of Hall (1943). Appended to his
grammar and dictionary are a number of texts, most of them by European
informants, but some also by Indigenes. The following transcription (developed
by Hall) and translation were taken from Hall (1943: 40):
60 Tok Pisin Texts

Nau bipo longtaim mi polisboi, mi stap Ambunti.

Now previously by-a-long-time I police-boy, I was-continually (at) Ambunti.

Orait, mi stap gutpela. Mi no gat trabol. Olo kanaka bilong bus

Very well, I was-continually good. I not have trouble. All native of bush

olsem i no stap. Oltaim oltaim [1] ol i pait. Orait. Baimbai [2]

thus pr not be-continually. Continually all pr fight. Very well. Soon

nambawan i harim kiap. Nambawan kiap i harim

number-one pr hear-it government-official. Number-one official pr hear-it

pinis, i salim pas long Stesin. Nambatu kiap kisim pas finis,
comp, pr send letter to post. Number-two official get letter comp,

bihain em i tokim mipela. Em i tok, mipela olgeta go long bus bilong

afterward he pr speak-to us. He pr say, we all go to bush in-order-to

lainim [3] olgeta kanaka. Orait. Bihain, tupela de mipela go nau. Mipela
teach all native. Very well. Afterwards, two day we go now. We

go go go long kanu, tudak. Tudak, orait, mipela slip nau. Slip

keep going in canoe, until-dark. Dark, very well, we sleep now. Sleep

finis, long moningtaim mipela kirap.

comp, in morning-time we get-up.
Free Translation:
Now long ago I was a police-boy (Native policeman), and I was at Ambunti. I
was always good and did not make trouble; but (all) the backwoods Natives were
not always thus. They were (all) continually fighting. Finally the government
official in charge got word of it. When he had heard about it, he sent a letter to the
post. When the subordinate official received the letter, he spoke to us. He told us
all that we were to go to the backwoods in order to teach (or line up in allegiance)
(all) the Natives. Then we went for two days. We kept going until night. When
night came, we slept; and when we had slept, we got up in the morning.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] In spite of frequent claims to the contrary, reduplication and repetition are
relatively rare in Tok Pisin. Here, repetition of an adverb is used to signal
intensity and repetition.
II. Indigenous voices 1920–1945 61

[2] Baimbai whilst often referred to as a ‘future’ marker actually signals ‘event
following another event’. It is an aspect rather than a tense marker.
[3] This verb conflates two English verbs: ‘to line up’ and ‘to learn’ (used
transitively to mean ‘to teach’). Its meaning is more in the nature of ‘to
make behave’ than ‘to impart knowledge’.

Text 20: Letter, 1939 (PM)

This is another early example of Tok Pisin written by a New Guinean. It is an

unpublished letter written by a houseboy to the little daughter of his employer.
The spelling in the original letter deviates very considerably from present-day
standard spelling, which is given in brackets. The letter is dated 14th August
Agus 14, 1939
[Ogas 14, 1939]
Buk i ko log Smit tete [1] mi kam apa lo i u log gut Pel orait log
[Buk i go long Smith tude em i kamap ya long yu long gutpela orait long]
got Papa iu mi ol tu gat peles nao was Matiu tede iu orait No Piko i
[Got Papa yumi ol tu gat ples na was. Matthew tude yu orait o Piko i]
orait iu tel im Sion Nao milaik tok iu log kamap Lomi tupel log
[orait yu telim John na mi laik tok yu long kamap Lomi tupela long]
Kewinag. [2] Mata i karim bipalasik [3] orait mitupala kamap log peles Tabar
[Kewinag. Masta i karim bikpela sik, orait, mitupela kamap long ples Tabar]
Orait i orait bek. Nao i laik orait likalik tede orait Nao mi laik
[Orait, i orait bek. Nau i laik orait liklik, tude orait. Nau mi laik]
Lapalap. Bipo Misis Ju bin sitap Medeg i givim mata wan pel silipas
[laplap. Bipo misis yu bin stap Madang i givim masta wanpela slipis]
baraon bilong kolos. Wan mi laikiu tu mi bikbrata mi laik iu salim
[braun bilong klos. Wan mi laik yu tu mi bikbrata mi laik yu salim]
tu log mi Laka. Wuan tu pelet bilog musik uan pala i olosem teti surere
[tu long mi, laka? Wan tu plet bilong musik wanpela i olsem tude Sarere]
misi log wai. Wuan pela i olosem aleluia abanam. Likalik tok.
[misis longwe. Wanpela i olsem aleluja Abraham. Liklik tok.]
Miko log solowara wan arpela Maliau i kaikai ol pika bilomi orait
[Mi go long solwara wanpela maleo i kaikai pinga bilong mi, orait,]
62 Tok Pisin Texts

i pinis. Kubai, kubai swit.

[i pinis. Gutbai, gutbai swit.]

This letter that went to Smith arrived today from you, (saying that) you are fine,
that your father was fine, the two of us also have a place and we are waiting.
Matthew, are you fine today? And Piko are you fine? Tell John and I want to tell
you that (I and) Lomi, the two of us, arrived in Kevieng. The Master had a big
illness, well, we came to the island of Tabar, well, it is all right again. Now it is
improving a little bit, today it is all right. Now I want a loincloth. Earlier on
Missis, you stayed in Madang you gave the Master a pair of slippers (made of)
brown cloth. (Such a) pair I too would like you to send to your big brother, to
me, get it? One or two records, one (goes like) like today Saturday, the Missis is
far away. The other one goes like Halelujah Abraham. A little message: (When) I
went to the sea, an eel bit my fingers, well, that is it. Good-bye, good-bye sweetie.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The spelling in this letter deviates considerably from the usual etymological
and quasi-etymological spellings of official and mission documents.
[2] A misspelling of Kevieng, the main town on New Ireland.
[3] Note the absence of a word boundary and the avoidance of consonant
clusters in this form.

Text 21: Dispute about a pig, 1930

A dispute about a pig, recorded by Margaret Mead, illustrating ‘how the

circumlocutions of Pidgin play havoc with the comprehension of a moderately
complicated line of thought’ (Reinecke 1937: 748):
A dispute will be taken to the district officer’s about a pig for which one man claims
he has never received compensation. This said pig, which A paid to B as part of a
marriage exchange, has since changed hands some thirty times … for until a pig is
eaten he is virtually currency. The defendent B tries to explain that he is waiting for
the value of the pig to be returned to him along this chain of thirty creditors, all of
whom have had transitory possession of the pig. ‘Now me sell ‘em along one fellow
man, he man belong one fellow sister belong me fellow. All right. This fellow man he
sell him along one fellow man, he belong Patusi, he like marry him one fellow
pickaninny mary belong ‘em. He no pickaninny true belong ‘em that’s all he help ‘em
papa belong this fellow mary. All right. Now this fellow pig he go along this fellow man.
II. Indigenous voices 1920–1945 63

This fellow man he no kaikai pig, he sell ‘em along one fellow man, he sister belong mary
belong ‘em. All right. This fellow man he got one fellow brother, liklik brother belong
‘em, he work along one fellow station belong Malay. Close up now he like finish ‘em
time belong ‘em. Suppose he finish ‘em time now he catch ‘em plenty fellow money,
[3] fellow pound, he bring ‘em along this big fellow brother belong ‘em, one time
along plenty fellow altogether something. Now this fellow sister belong mary belong
man belong pickaninny mary belong sister belong mary belong me no.’ At this point
many a harassed district officer is likely to break in with, ‘Maskie, brother belong
mary belong brother belong mary, this fellow pig he belong whose that?’
(Mead 1930: 304–306)
‘Now I gave the pig to a man, a man who is my sister’s husband. This man gave
the pig to a man in Patusi who was planning to marry a daughter of his. She was
not his own daughter, but he had inherited her father’s position. This pig was
accordingly given to this man. This man did not eat the pig but gave him to the
brother of his wife.’ (‘Sister’ in pidgin means ‘sibling of the opposite sex’;
‘brother’, sibling of the same sex. This distinction which we do not make is felt by
the Native as essential and he has distorted our kinship terminology to preserve
it.) ‘Now this man has a brother, a younger brother, who is working on a
plantation which belongs to a Malay. Soon he will finish his time of indenture.
When he finishes his time, he will receive a lot of money, he will receive three
pounds, together with many other things. Nevermind this brother of the wife of
the fiance of the daughter of the brother of my wife, whose pig is it?’
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions
and government

Text 22: Extracts from a grammar and dictionary, 1924

Brenninkmeyer’s Einfuehrung ins Pidgin-Englisch of 1924 was the first attempt

to provide a comprehensive grammar and dictionary of Tok Pisin. The author
worked as a missionary among the Baining of New Britain, and the variety
featured in his course thus represents a conservative bush Tok Pisin. Unfortu-
nately Brenninkmeyer gives us decontextualised sentences of the language only,
and no running texts.
You got knife? Yes, me got knife. Me no got knife. Me no got sick, me got
Have you got a knife? Yes, I got a knife. I have no knife. I have no sickness, I got a

‘kuss’, that’s all. Me no got ‘tabak’ yet.

cough, that’s all. I have not yet received tobacco.

Em he got big fellow soar. He got plenty kakaruk long place.

He pr got a big sore. There are plenty of chickens in the village.

Long three day he got ‘missa’ [1]. You got ‘marry’? [2] No, me no got marry.
In three days there will be mass. Have you got a wife? No, I have no wife.

Em he got two fellow pigginini.

(S)he pr got two children.

One fellow big fellow fish he die finish.

One big fish pr is dead comp.

Me fellow find him big fellow water.

We found/are looking for a big river.
66 Tok Pisin Texts

One fellow good fellow coconut he fall down finish.

One good coconut pr fell down comp.

New fellow cloth he look nice.

The new clothes pr look nice.

Small fellow boat he no good long big-sea [3].

A small boat is no good in a storm.

You fellow put him white fellow cloth.

You are wearing white clothes.

Me find him one fellow red fellow glass.

I found a red (piece of) glass.

Long fellow Pater he write long short fellow stick long

The tall Father is writing with a short stick (pencil?) near the

black fellow water.

black river.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] When Tok Pisin came to be used as a mission language from around 1920,
a large number of doctrinal and religious terms were introduced. A number
of them were adapted from Latin, including missa, virgo, pater and
[2] Brenninkmeyer’s spelling suggests that his favoured etymology for meri was
English ‘marry’ rather than one of the other possibilities discussed above
(Text 7, note 7).
[3] Around 1920 Tok Pisin was beginning to develop language-internal devices
of word formation. Biksi ‘storm’ is an early example of a compound created
in this way.

Text 23: Native labour ordinance, 1924

After the imposition of an Australian administration in the League of Nations

Trust Territory of New Guinea, new laws and new rules of conduct were
devised. Of these, the Native Labour Ordinance is a particularly important
document, as the economy of the country crucially depended on contract labour.
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 67

Around 1924 the most important sections were translated into Tok Pisin for use
by Australian patrol officers (kiaps). Here follow some passages from this docu-
ment (from Report by Colonel J. Ainsworth, Commonwealth Parliamentary
Paper no. 109, 1924):
P. 83:
Boy [1] he no can steal im mary belong nother fella boy. Suppose one
Male Indigene pr not can steal woman of other man. If one

fella boy he married finish he no can go long nother fella mary. All same, spose one
man pr married comp pr not can go to other woman. Similary, if a

fella mary he married finish he no can go long nother fella man.

woman pr married comp pr not can go to other man.

P. 93:
Spose kiap he talk long luluai now tul-tul [2] he must send im
If patrol officer pr talk to village headman or interpreter pr must send

boy long house sick, he must send him quick too much. Spose he no send im
man to hospital, he must send him quick very. If he not send him

kiap he can calaboose [3] im.

patrol officer pr can imprison him.

P. 104:
Spose one fella boy he like bring im pig all same fowl long nother fella place he
If a man pr likes to take pig or fowl to another place he

must put im long basket first time. He no can fas’im leg bilong pig all same fowl
must put it in basket first of all. He not can tie legs of pig or fowl

long one fella dee why [4] all same fashion bilong before.
to a (piece of) wood like fashion of past.

P. 115:
Altogether kanaka [5] spose im come up long place belong white man
All bush dwellers if pr arrive at settlement of White man

all same Rabaul, Kavieng, Madang, Kieta, must put him lap-lap. Lik-lik
like Rabaul, Kavieng, Madang, Kieta, must put on loincloth. Little
68 Tok Pisin Texts

picanniny das all can walk about nothing.

children only can walk around naked.

P. 138:
Spose some fella boy he gammon he policeboy all same luluai all same
If a man pr pretend he policeboy or headman or

tul-tul kiap can calaboose im.

interpreter patrol officer can imprison him.

Regulations applying to Rabaul only:

P. 84:
Altogether boy must stop good long house belong him long 9 o’clock long night.
All men must stay put in house of them at 9 o’clock at night.

He no can stop long nother fella house. Sing sing he must finish long 9 o’clock.
He not can stay in other house. Dancing pr must finish at 9 o’clock.

Boy he no can make im noise behind.

Man pr not can make noise later.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The word boy refers to adult Indigenous males in European employment
(see footnote 2 for further details).
[2] A word of Tolai origin adopted as an official title by the German adminis-
[3] Calaboose: this word of Spanish origin is widely found in pidgins. In
modern Tok Pisin haus simen ‘concrete house’ is sometimes used instead.
[4] A common spelling of Tok Pisin diwai ‘tree’ by Australians who identify it
with the Australian place-name ‘Dee Why’, with which it has nothing to do.
[5] Kanaka refers to Indigenes not in European employment. In present-day
Tok Pisin it has come to mean ‘bush dweller, uncivilized person’ or can be
used to signal Melanesian identity.

Text 24: The Lord’s Prayer

The use of Tok Pisin by various missions intensified during the 1920s and 1930s
and attempts were made by several mission bodies to translate parts of the
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 69

scriptures and other religious materials into the language. Most of the missions
remained predominantly in German hands, though English-speaking mission-
aries from Australia and America were increasingly in evidence. At this stage no
attempts were made to co-ordinate the different efforts to standardize and write
down Tok Pisin.
Here is the Lord’s Prayer as rendered by the Alexishafen Catholic Mission, the
Vunapope Catholic Mission and the Rabaul Methodist Mission:
Fader bilong mifelo, yu stop long heven. Ol i santuim [1] nem bilong yu. Kingdom
bilong yu i kam. Ol i hirim tok bilong yu long graund olsem long heven. Tude givim
mifelo kaikai bilong de. Forgivim rong bilong mifelo; olsem mifelo forgivim rong ol i
mekim long mifelo. Yu no bringim mifelo long traiim tekewe samting no gud long
mifelo. Amen.
Papa bolong mipela i stap antap, naim bolong ju i tambu, lotu bolong ju i kam,
mipela daun olosem ol antap i harim tok bolong ju, ju bringim kaikai tede bolong
mipela, ju larim mipela i olosem mipela i larim ol, ol i mekim nogut mipela — ju no
bringim mipela klostu long rot i nogut, ju lusim ol samting nogut i raus long mipela.
Papa bilog mi fela, iu stop an top alog [2] peles bilog iu, i qud mi fela sigsig out tru
alog nem bilog iu; i moa beta ol a fasin bilog iu i stop oltuqeta peles. I qud mi fela
mekim tru ol a lo bilog iu, ol a sem oltuqeta man i savi mekim alog peles bilog iu. I
qud iu givim mi fela kaikai inafim [3] mi fela alog tude. I qud iu no mekim koros
alog mi fela alog ol a fasin no qud mi fela mekim, ol a sem mi fela no qat koros alog
ol a man i savi korosim mi fela. Iu no bringim mi fela alog ol a samtig no qud; i moa
beta iu luk outim mi fela so mi fela no ken mekim ol a fasin no qud. Bikos ol a lo, na
oltuqeta strog, na oltuqeta samtig i qud i bilog iu, na i no ken finis. Amen.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The Alexishafen text is characterized by a tendency towards etymological
spelling and the use of Latin loans such as santuim ‘to worship, pronounce
[2] The Rabaul Methodist spelling is based on that developed for Fijian, a
widely used practice at the time. One of the characteristics of this spelling
is the use of single voiced consonants to signal prenazalized consonants.
Note that the translation is very wordy and rather unwieldy when compared
70 Tok Pisin Texts

with that prepared by the Vunapope Catholic Mission, situated only a few
miles away.
[3] Inafim ‘to meet our needs’ is a good illustration of how language-indepen-
dent word formation expands the basic stock of English words.

Text 25: ‘Guidance for learning the Tok Boi’, a language lesson, 1930

As Tok Pisin was adopted as a mission lingua franca throughout the Territory
of New Guinea, new descriptions, dictionaries and courses of the language
appeared and language standardization became a topic. An important docu-
ment is Borchardt’s Guidance for learning the Tok Boi translated from the
German original in 1930. Borchardt was a Catholic missionary on Manus Island
and his language is clearly influenced by the Rabaul tradition. Regrettably,
Borchardt does not give ‘natural’ conversations but structures his course
around decontextualized sentences.
Exercise to Lesson 7.
1) Vataem baembai [1] Ju go Karavia? (Nb. not long Karavia. The small word ‘to’
remains untranslated). 2) Baembae jumi girap long biknaet. 3) Ju kisim masket,
baembai mi kisim ruksak (bek) 4) Ju no lusim sitik. 5) Baembai jutupela i go vei
tumora? Mitupela i go Ravaira na baembai mitupela i sutim pisin. 6) Vataem
baembai jutupela i kam bek? 7) Tumora sande, baembai [1] mitupela i harim misa.
8) I gut, jutupela i kam long monitaem tru. 9) Tumora jutupela i no ken vok. 10)
Haptumora jumitripela i katim divai. 11) Ju tokim manki [2], em i no singsing
bikpela. 12) Jupela i no mek nais. 13) Sopos mi tok: ‘jupela i sanap’ jupela ologeta i
sanap vantaem. 14) Jupela i sindaon long giraon na jupela i rait. 15) Tripela de
baembai i pinis.
1) When are you going to Quarantine? 2) We shall get up in the middle of the
night. 3) You get your gun, then I shall get my rucksack. 4) Don’t let go of the
stick. 5) Where are the two of you going tomorrow? We two are going to Ravaira
and then we two shall shoot a bird. 6) When are you going to come back? 7)
Tomorrow is Sunday and the two of us shall go to mass. 8) You better come very
early in the morning. 9) Tomorrow you two cannot work. 10) The three of us
shall fell a tree the day after tomorrow. 11) Tell the boy not to shout. 12) You two
must not make a noise/must not move. 13) If I say: ‘stand up’, then you must all
stand up at the same time. 14) Sit down on the ground and write. 15) Three days
will have passed.
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 71

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The future/irrealis marker variably appears closer to the verb phrase.
[2] Manki means ‘male child’ or ‘unmarried young Indigenous man’, boi
means ‘Indigenous man in European employment’, whilst the word for
monkey is monki.

Text 26: First serial in Tok Pisin, 1935

In the year 1935 the first serial in Tok Pisin, Frend bilong mi, was published by
the Catholic Mission. Its content was mainly of a religious kind, though some
attempt was also made to include other educational and entertaining materials.
Here is a passage from the September 1938 edition:
Bismark i salim wanfelo tok.
Bismark pr sends a message.

Supos yu kam long maunten Bismark, yu ken hirim [1] ol kanaka i

If you come to the mountain Bismarck, you can hear pl Native pr

singaut, ‘Pater!’ Nau yu lukluk, yu laik faindim [1] pater. No gat!

shout ‘Father!’. Then you look, you want find father. neg exist!

Wanfelo liklik manki, ol i kolim ‘Pater’. Taim ol misinare i kamap

One little boy, they pr call ‘Father’. When pl missionary pr arrive

long Bismark, ol kanaka i no lukim waitman yet, nau ol i kolim ol

at Bismarck, pl Native pr not see White man yet, then they pr call pl

pikinini, ‘Pater’.
children, ‘Father’.

Tasol, natink wanfelo pikinini, ol i kolim ‘Pater’, baimbai i pater tru?

But, perhaps one child, they pr call ‘Father’, fut pr father really?

Natink baimbai i prist tru?

Perhaps fut pr priest really?

Long skul mi askim ol liklik manki long disfelo samting. Nau ol i tinktink
At school I ask pl little boys about this matter. Then they pr think
72 Tok Pisin Texts

plenti pastaim, bihaind Yohanes i tok, ‘no gat! Ol blakskin [2] i no

plenty at first, afterwards Johannes pr say ‘no way! pl Black people pr neg

ken prist. Em i samting bilong ol waitman. Mifelo i no inaf long

can be priest. It is something of pl White people. We exc pr not able to be

prist. Prist i bigfelo samting tumas’.

priest. Priest pr big matter very’.

Nau mi tok, ‘yes! Prist i bigfelo samting. Prist i kichim ordo [3]
Then I say, ‘yes! Priest is big matter. Priest pr get ordainment

sakrament [3]. Prist i helpim Yesus. Em i mekim ofer bilong santu misa [3],
sacrament. Priest pr help Jesus. He pr make service of holy mass,

em i lusim ol pekato [3] bilong ol man. Tok bilong em long haus lotu, i
he pr forgive pl sin of pl man. Talk of him in house church, pr

tok bilong Yesus. Hart bilong prist i hart bilong Yesus. Man i no inaf long
talk of Jesus. Heart of priest pr heart of Jesus. Man pr not able for

disfelo bigfelo samting. Waitman tu i no inaf, tasol God Spiritu Santu i

this big matter. White man also pr not able, but God Spirit Holy pr

mekim man i prist. Olsem prist i ken holdim Yesus long hand bilong em.
make man pr priest. Thus priest pr can hold Jesus in hand of him.

God i no lukluk long skin bilong man, i waitfelo no blakfelo.

God pr not look at skin of man, pr White or Black.

God i laikim man i no laikim pekato fashin. Em i laikim man i save beten’.
God pr like man pr not like sinful ways. He pr like man pr hab pray’.
Free translation:
If you come to the Bismarck mountain, you can hear the Natives shout ‘Father’.
When you look, you expect to find a Father, but none exists.They call one little
boy ‘Father’. When the missionaries arrived at Bismarck, the Natives had not yet
seen Whitemen, and they called children ‘Father’. But, perhaps the one little boy
whom they call ‘Father’ will really become a Father? Perhaps he will really
become a priest?
At school I ask the little boys about this matter. They think about it a lot, then
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 73

Johannes says ‘no way, Black people cannot be priests. It is something only for
White people. We are not able to be priests. Priests are very important’.
Then I said, ‘yes, priests are very important. Priests are ordained. Priests help
Jesus. Priests hold mass and forgive men’s sins. They preach in church and speak
the word of Jesus. The heart of a priest is the heart of Jesus. (Mere) men are not
fit for this important duty. Whitemen also are not fit, but God’s Holy Spirit
makes men priests. Therefore priests can act for Jesus. God does not look at (the
colour of) a man’s skin, White or Black. God likes man, but does not like his
sinful ways. He likes man to pray constantly’.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Again, examples of the etymological spelling favoured by the Alexishafen
[2] Around 1930 the first exocentric compounds make their appearance,
blakskin ‘Black person’ being an early example.
[3] This text contains a number of religious terms borrowed from Latin.

Text 27: A hymnal, 1938

In most areas of New Guinea the Lutheran Church adopted local vernaculars
such as Kâte or Jabêm as mission lingue franche. A major change to Tok Pisin
occurred only in the 1960s. However, in some linguistically highly diversified
areas, Lutheran missionaries employed Tok Pisin much earlier. A hymnal was
printed by the Madang Lutheran Mission in 1938 containing songs translated
from German and local mission languages. Here follow a couple of examples
(Singsing Buk, Madang: Amron College Press 1938):
Example (i)
1. Ol brata ju kam nau,
pl brother you come now,
harem tok belong Got,
hear talk of God,
nau singaut long jumi.
and sing to us.
2. Ol boi kingdom belong Got,
pl ‘boy’ kingdom of God,
74 Tok Pisin Texts

jumi ken bilifem [1];

we can believe in;
Jesus lusem sin belong mi.
Jesus forgive sin of me.
3. Ol boi, Jesus nau singaut,
pl ‘boy’ Jesus now shout,
jumi go klostu;
we go near;
Jesus marimari [2] long jumi.
Jesus have pity on us.
4. Jumi no sindaun nating.
We not sit around idly.
jumi no limlimbur [3];
we not take time off;
Jesus em tu olsem.
Jesus he also thus.
5. Ol de ting long jumi,
All day think about us,
jumi tu ting long em;
we also think about him;
jumi man belong Jesus.
we man of Jesus.

Example (ii)
1. O Got, ju olsem lait,
O God you like light,
ju ken lait long bel [4] belong mi;
you can light on soul of me;
mi ken tingting long tok belong ju,
I can think of talk of you,
mi olsem Josef bifoa:
I like Joseph previously:
no mekem pen bel belong papa,
not make painful soul of father,
Jakob i laikem tumas Josef,
Jacob pr liked a lot Joseph,
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 75

laikem Got, bihainem tok.

liked God followed talk (obey).
2. Ting long Got, bihainem tok,
Think about God, obey,
ju wok stret long wok belong ju.
you work properly at work of yours.
Josef em wok long Potifar,
Joseph he work at Potifar,
han belong em i nais tumas.
hand of his pr nice a lot.
Em nogat stil [5], no haitem tok.
He not have deception, not hide talk.
I bihainem [1] tok long het belong em:
pr obey talk in head of him:
laikem Got, bihainem tok.
like God, obey talk.
3. No mekem tok no gut,
Not make talk bad,
pos ju stap long taim no gut,
if you are in time bad,
bel i no gut ju krai tumas;
soul is sad you cry a lot;
ju ken singaut long Got belong ju.
you can shout to God of you.
Em i ken harem maus belong ju,
He pr can hear voice of you,
olsem Josef i liftapem ju;
like Joseph pr lift up you;
no mekem tok no gut.
not make talk bad.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] In these texts the transitivity marker -im is spelled -em.
[2] The word marimari ‘to take pity on’ was borrowed from the New Ireland
language Molot where it means ‘to love, to have pity’. All connotations of
sexual love have disappeared in its missionary use.
76 Tok Pisin Texts

[3] Limlimbur ‘to take a walk, stroll’ was borrowed from Tolai limlibur with the
same meaning.
[4] In most local cultures the stomach is regarded as the seat of emotions.
Missionary translators often use bel to refer to ‘heart’ or ‘soul’. In this hymn
they heed a further widespread convention, i.e., that bel is inalienably
possessed and therefore has to be followed by bilong mi ‘my’ or a similar
[5] This is an early example of an abstract noun derived from a verb by a
productive language-internal word formation mechanism.

Text 28: Second World War propaganda leaflet

The Second World War not only promoted the study of Tok Pisin but lead to its
use in modern mass media (radio broadcasts, leaflet drops) by both the Japanese
and Allied forces. A large collection of Tok Pisin war propaganda is found in the
Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The following pamphlets were prepared
by the Australian army and dropped over the interior of Papua New Guinea:
(i) Mifelo sitrong tumas long [1] Japan. Long Nukini Japan bakarap olgeder pinis.
Mifelo ontaim Amerika kilim pinis ol long Salamaua, Lae, Markam, Finshafen,
Raikos, nau Madang. Kiap i sindaun long ol. Soldia long yumi kosua [2] long
Bun Bun, Aitape, nau Holland. Sumfelo [3] Japan ronwei nabaut nabaut long
bik bus, end nambis. Yufelo no ken stap klostu long Japan. Supos sumfelo biket
[4] i stap bom kilim ontaim Japan.
Hambag long Japan pinis tru.
Guv i tok.
Official Translation:
Our strength has outgrown the enemy to such an enormous degree that he is now
no match for us. Throughout the whole of New Guinea, Japan has been beaten
and demoralised. Australian and American forces have killed and driven the
Japanese from all Morobe area, Salamaua, Lae and Markham valley, from
Finschhafen, the Rai coast and also Madang. Your old District Officers are now in
their offices in all these centres. We have made landings at Hansa Bay, Aitape and
Hollandia. Many fugitive Japanese are roaming through the bush and beaches
attempting to escape. Do not stay near these Japs for we are straffing and
bombing them and you would be killed also.
The Japanese adventure in New Guinea is truly closing.
The Government says this.
III. The use of Tok Pisin by missions and government 77

(ii) Ol Luluai Na Tultul Na Boi Bilog Guvman

Mipela kisim pinis Salamaua na Lae na Finshapen, na kilim ol Japan [5]. Kiap
bilog yupel i stap wontaim soldia bilog yumi. Guvman i singaut im yu nau, yu
mas kam painim Kiap na Polismasta. Sipos Japan i pulim yu pela bipo, yu no
kan pret. I nogat taravol [6] long dis pela somtig.
Guvman i tok.
Official Translation:
All Luluais, Tultuls and Government Boys
We have recaptured Salamaua, Lae and Finschhafen and killed all the Japs who
were there.
Your District Officers are with our troops. The Government calls for you to
report now and you must get into touch with your District Officers and their
Patrol Leaders.
If (while the Japs held your area) you were forced to work for him, you need have
no fear. This will not be held against you.
The Government says this.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] As already mentioned, comparative constructions of the English type do
not exist in ‘classical’ Tok Pisin. This is an attempt to create a translation
equivalent of English ‘stronger than’.
[2] English ‘go ashore’ has become a single root kosua in Tok Pisin; similar
examples include the already mentioned bunara ‘bow and arrow’ and
katuana ‘guard of honour’.
[3] In this text, like in most of the documents written by government agencies,
we encounter a mixture between English spelling conventions and others
developed by missions and individuals. The first standard spelling used
nationwide was developed in 1954.
[4] A non-standard spelling of bikhet ‘bigheaded person’, another exocentric
[5] In Tok Pisin the same form of a noun is used to refer to a place and the
inhabitants of a place. Examples are Siapan ‘Japan, a Japanese’ and Ostrelia
‘Australia, an Australian’.
[6] A non-standard spelling of trabol ‘trouble, strife’. Most epenthetic vowels
are predictable and thus not found in present-day standard spelling.
IV. Indigenous voices 1950–1970

Text 29: Ginger planting, 1950s

An important factor in the development of Tok Pisin after the Second World
War was the opening up of the New Guinea Highlands. In the years to follow an
ever increasing number of speakers of Papuan (rather than Melanesian)
languages used Tok Pisin. The pattern of transmission to Highlanders recapitu-
lated that to Coastal dwellers and Islanders in the early parts of the 20th
century: young males were recruited for the coastal plantations where they
acquired Tok Pisin and carried it back to their villages after two to three years
of indenture. In subsequent years (after a time lag of ten to fifteen years), Tok
Pisin began to be used as a language for intercommunication between speakers
of different Highlands languages. This is now its most important function in
this part of Papua New Guinea. The following materials were recorded at
Wabag (Western Highlands Province) in the early 1950s by the late Dr. Smythe.
His orthography is influenced by the Rabaul tradition. An interesting feature of
his texts is the incorporation of grammatical markers with lexical words as in
isavedaunim instead of standard orthography i save daunim used for ‘to
Ginger planting

Orait na ol man blog [1] Wapak olisavego log bus. Milaikstori log
All right, pl man of Wabag pl pr hab go to bush. I want to tell story about

tesela [2]. Ologeta jagpala man ibug, na ologeta maritman inosavego log
this. All young men gathered, and all married men did not go to

bus. Ologeta jagpala man tasol inosavemarit, ologeta isavesigaut log

the bush. All young men only pr not hab married, all sing out for
80 Tok Pisin Texts

ologeta bilas blog kanaka kina, na sampala sitontamiok blog ol tu, na

decorations of Indigene shell, and some stone axes of them also, and

sampala rop, na bilum, na ologeta gras pisin. Wel tu olilaikputim

some rope, and stringbag, and all bird feathers. Oil too they like to put on

log skin [3] blog ol.

their skin.

Orait, na ologeta maritman olinosavego wantaim log bus.

All right, and the married men pl pr not hab go along to the bush.

Orait, na ologeta jagpala man ibug, na olisavegolukim

All right, and all the young men gathered and pl pr hab went looking for

wanpela kain kawar olisaveplantim log bus. Olilaiklukim tesela,

one kind of ginger pl pr hab plant in bush. They pr like to look at this,

na olistap log ples kanaka. Olisavelukluk nabaut

and they pr stayed in the village of the Indigenes. They pr hab look around

ologeta samtig, na hai blogen isaverere logen. Orait, na

at everything, and eyes of them pr hab prepared for it. All right, and

olilaikgolukim tesela kawar log bus na olisavewasim gut hai

they pr like to look for this ginger in the bush, and they pr hab wash good eyes

blog ol log klinpala wara, na sampala stigpala [4] kawar tu olikisim na

of them in clean water, and some rotten ginger also they pr took, and

wasim pes blog ol, hai blog ol.

washed face of them, eye of them.

Wasim gut na oliorait, na olisawego log bus,

Washed it well, and they pr all right, and they pr hab go to bush,

Na olilaiklukim tesela kawar.

And they pr like to look for this ginger.

Orait, na ologeta jagpala man ol jet olikamautim kawar.

All right, and all young men pl emph dig up ginger.
IV. Indigenous voices 1950–1970 81

Olinolaik ol meri iholim kawar [5], na ol jet ikamautim sampala

They pr not like women pr hold ginger, and they emph pr dig up some

kawar na sampala suga tu olosem brukim.

ginger and some sugar too thus break.
All right. I want to tell you a story about when the Wabag men go into the bush.
All the young men gather but all the married men do not go into the bush. Only
the young unmarried men go. They call out for their decorations, shells, stone
axes, rope, stringbags and feathers. They put oil on their skin. Well, the married
men do not accompany them to the bush. Well, all the young men gather and
they go looking for ginger they planted in the bush. They like to look at this
ginger when they stay in their village. They take a good look around and keep
their eyes open. Well, when they want to look for ginger they first wash their eyes
with clean water, they take some rotten ginger with them, they wash their face (or
forehead), they wash their eyes. They wash well and then go into the bush. Well,
and then the young men dig up the ginger. They do not want the women to
touch the ginger and they dig up some ginger and some sugarcane at the same
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Smythe uses the already encountered convention of representing prenasal-
ized voiced consonants by the single letter for the consonantal stop.
Present-day standard spelling is bilong.
[2] A quasi-phonetic spelling for dispela ‘this, that’.
[3] Whilst the translation ‘skin’ fits the context, in most instances skin refers to
the whole human body.
[4] Sting in most varieties of Tok Pisin is a verb ‘to be rotten’. The adjective
stingpela is very rare.
[5] Among Papua New Guineans ginger is regarded as an aphrodisiac.

Text 30: Highlands Tok Pisin, 1960s: A story about a snake

Further early examples of Highlands Tok Pisin were recorded by Wurm in the
Enga District in the early 1960s. Its grammar, which differs in a number of
interesting respects from Lowlands Tok Pisin, is described in Wurm (1971).
The following text is also taken from this source (p. 165–6). The speaker is a
medical orderly (doktaboi).
82 Tok Pisin Texts

Orait na, narapela taim tu, tispela wanpela kanaka i tokim mi tu long
And another time as well, this (one) Native pr told me also about

tispela taim, long tispela bikpela snek i kam na mipela save

this time, about this big snake pr come and which we (i.e., they) often

kilim, bikpela tumas. Orait na wanpela taim mi tokim i tok:

killed, a very big one. And once I said pr said:

‘i possible [1] kilim tispela snek? Orait, mi yet lukim, orait,

‘pr possible to kill this snake? Well I myself will see it (to ascertain) (if)

yupela kilim, nogut yupela giaman’. Mi tokim olosem na wanpela taim, taim
you pl killed it, no you pl lie’. I said thus and one time, time

as bilong mun na mi kam, mi kisim ologeta maresin

beginning of the month, and I came, I took all the medicines

na ologeta kaikai tu mi laik kisim long Wabag na mi kirap

and also all the food which I was about to take to Wabag and I started

long prainde [2] mi kam ologeta long Wabag. Orait na, wanpela meri
on Friday (and) came all the way to Wabag. Well one woman

em i go pulimapim wara, orait na, em i lukim wanpela traipela [2] snek

she pr went to draw water, well and she pr saw one big snake

long tispela ples. Mi kam pinis long Wabag na em i lukim. Mi kam pinis
at that place. I come comp to Wabag and she pr saw (it). I arrive comp

long Wabag na tispela meri i go pulimapim wara na em i lukim

at Wabag and this woman pr went to draw water and she pr saw one

wanpela traipela snek i slip long rot. Na em i wokabaut i go

big snake pr lying on the road. And she pr was walking pr cont

yet i longwe liklik, na tel bilongen i kam longwe yet na

emph pr long way quick, and its tail pr coming from a distance emph and

het bilongen i go pinis long narapela hap long bus. Orait na

its head pr go comp the other way into the bush. Well and
IV. Indigenous voices 1950–1970 83

namel bilongen em i painim long rot. Orait na em i go tokim tispela

its middle she pr found on the track. Well and she pr went told this

long olo man long ples. Orait na em i go tokim planti man,

to all men in village. Well and she pr went and told many men,

olosem tenpela man i samting em i go singaut na ol i kam,

something like ten men or so she pr went to call and they pr came,

ol i sapim wanpela traipela diwai, na karim tispela traipela

(and) they pr sharpened a thick stick, and carried this thick

diwai tu em i katim em olo karim. Olo karim i kam,

stick too which they pr had cut, and they carried it. They carried it and pr came

na tispela bikpela diwai ol i sapim longen i kam planim

and this was the thick stick which they pr had sharpened pr came to stand it

klostu long snek i stap longen.

up close to (the place) where the snake pr was.

Planim klostu na em olo man i was long traipela diwai na

Stood it up close (to it) and all men pr were watching this thick stick and

het bilong akis na olo

the axe head (apparently one had been put on the ground as a marker) and they

laik i brukim het bilongen. Orait na olo karim sampela rop tu.
wanted pr to break its head. And they had taken some rope there as well.

Orait na olo was i stap na tispela snek em i [3] go yet

And they were all watching and the snake pr was going along emph

i go yet na ol i was long tel bilongen. Orait na olo

and going along emph and all pr watched for its tail. They all

painim tel bilongen. I kam klostu long tispela ston nau kisim tel bilongen
looked for its tail. pr came close to this stone now took its tail

na tanim kwiktaim long tispela diwai ol i planim longen.

and turned it quickly towards that stick which they pr had stood up there.
84 Tok Pisin Texts

Ol i pasim wantaim sampela rop tu. Olo pasim strong. Orait na tispela
They pr tied it with some rope too. They tied it strongly. And this

het bilongen i go longwe pinis na em i kam gen, em i lukluk

head of it pr go a long way comp and it pr came (back) again, it pr looked

i pilim tispela tel bilongen i pas long wanpela samting. Orait na

pr it felt that this tail of it pr was tied on to something. (And)

hap het bilongen i tanim [4] i kam na i kam klostu long tispela diwai,
its head portion pr turned pr came and pr came close to this stick,

orait na ologeta kanaka i was i stap na i brukim

and all the Natives pr were pr watching cont and pr broke

het bilongen. Orait na olo kanaka i brukim het bilongen na ol i

its head. (And) all the Natives pr broke its head and they pr

kilim tispela traipela snek. Orait na ol i kilim na planti man olo

killed this big snake. (And) they pr killed it and many men they

karim tispela snek i go, na wanpela bun meri i dai na ol

carried this snake away, and one emaciated woman pr had died and they

i krai i stap longen na ol i mekim kaikai

pr were crying pr cont over her and they pr were preparing food

long tispela bun meri, i dai lain.

for (i.e. in honour of) this emaciated woman who had died (and) pr was the
clan of the deceased.

Orait na, taim mi kisim siger [5] pinis long Wabag na mi go long
(And) when I had received my ration issue in Wabag and (I) went to

liklik [6] bilong mi na ol i soim tispela longpela bun samting long mi,
my little station, they all pr showed this long bone-thing to me,

traipela i planti bun ‘na traipela snek olo tu mipela i kilim

thick pr many bones. (They said) ‘and this big snake we all pr killed
IV. Indigenous voices 1950–1970 85

na kaikai pinis. Mipela was long yu long prainde i kam

and we ate it up. We were looking out for you on Friday and pr came

lukim na yu no kamap prainde na mipela planti man mipela

to look (for you) and you did not come on Friday and we, many men, we

laik mumuim tispela snek, na mipela kaikai aste,

were going to cook in the earth oven this snake, and we ate it yesterday,

satede.’ Ol i tokim mi olosem na mi go long mande long

on Saturday.’ They pr told me thus and I went on Monday to

stesin bilong mi, long pipti [7], wan naintinpipti, tispela taim.
my station, in fifty, nineteen fifty, at that time.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Highlands Tok Pisin in its early years was often learnt from European
missionaries and patrol officers (kiap). It is somewhat surprising, however,
to find that the English loan possible is used instead of the well-established
coastal construction i nap kilim dispela snek (nap derived from ‘enough’).
[2] In contrast to Smythe (Text 29), Wurm uses a writing system which more
closely reflects the actual pronunciation of Highlands speakers of Tok Pisin.
Thus, non-standard prenasalization and variant pronunciation of stops are
reproduced. Neither Wurm nor Smythe appear to have a consistent
treatment of epenthetic vowels, however.
[3] After the reduction of the original resumptive pronoun he to the predicate
marker i, the new third person pronoun em is again used resumptively. A
longitudinal account of this process is given by Sankoff (1977a).
[4] This sentence is an interesting example of reanalysis. Tanim can either be
understood as a reflexive verb ‘turned around’ or else as a simple transitive
verb in a sentence with the non-standard word order O (deleted) SV.
[5] Siger ‘ration’ derives from English ‘scale’. The verb skelim means ‘to deal
[6] The meaning of liklik ‘little’ often varies with context and can mean a range
of things, including ‘little station’ or ‘younger brother’.
[7] Whereas the traditional numbers are used elsewhere in this text (tenpela
‘ten’) higher numbers are directly taken over from English.
V. Traditional indigenous voices
1970 to the present

Text 31: Two narratives, 1973 (PM)

Traditional Tok Pisin as spoken in pre-war times continues to be used in the

interior of Papua New Guinea where education in and use of Standard English
has remained minimal until the most recent past. The following two stories
were recorded among middle-aged men from the lower Keram River (East
Sepik Province) in 1973. The topic of the second story, the origins of Tok Pisin,
is one that older speakers often talk about. The introduction of a language
which enabled them to talk with other males from all over the country consti-
tuted a major episode in their lives:
Nem, nem bilong mi Olmare bilong Yaul. Orait, em nau mi laik
Name, name of me, Olmare from Yaul. All right, emph now I want to

kirap long stori, stori bilong pait. Mipela i laik i go

begin my story, the story of fighting. (When) we pr want to pr go

we, orait [1], putim bilas samting, olgeta samting, kaikai

somewhere, well, (we) put ornaments and such things, food

samting mipela putim long haus boi. Orait, mipelai

and such things, we put it in the longhouse. All right, (afterwards) we

save pait olosem. Em dispela samting, orait, mipela putim pinis,

pr hab fight like this. emph these things, all right, we put them comp,

olgeta i laik go we, i go putim long wanem ples, orait,

everyone pr likes to go somewhere, pr go put it in whatever place, all right,
88 Tok Pisin Texts

mipela kaikai wantaim pinis, orait, palang [2] na supia, long

we eat together comp, all right, shields and spears, in

apinun rediim pinis, olgeta kaikai wantaim

the afternoon (early evening) prepare (them) comp, everyone eats together,

orait, kaikai wantaim pinis, orait, mipela kirap brukim kokonat [3],
all right, eat together comp, all right, we get up break coconuts,

kokonat i [laik i go stret], orait, ol i kirap na ol i kaikai pinis,

coconut pr [like pr go straight], all right, they pr get up and they pr ate comp,

ol i bung, kirap i go pinis, haplait i go pinis, orait, pait nau, pait

they pr gather, get up pr go comp, dusk pr go comp, all right, fight now, fight

pinis nau, ol birua i kamap, ol i kilim birua pinis, karim i kam long
comp now, pl enemy pr arrive, they pr kill enemy comp, carry pr come to

ples, orait, no gat purpur, purpur nau, purpur tumbuna nau,

village, all right, not exist grass skirts, grass skirts now, grass skirts ancestral now,

orait, lukim dispela ples, ol i katim, ol i kaikai, em pasin bilong

all right, see this village, they pr cut, they pr eat, this fashion of

tumbuna bipo, orait, ol i kirap long singsing, orait, mipela

ancestor previously, all right, they pr get up to dance, all right, we

kilim birua nau, paitim nabaut karkarim em.

exc kill enemy now, hit him, drag him.
I am Olmare from Yaul. Well, I would like to begin a story about fighting. When
we wanted to go somewhere (to fight) we put on ornaments, we took food and
we deposited it in the longhouse. Afterwards we fought as follows. When we had
finished with our preparations and when all the warriors had put their things in
the longhouse we had a meal. In the afternoon we prepared our shields and
spears and then we ate together. Then we broke a coconut tree. When we were
ready we assembled and when it got darker we began our fight. The enemy
arrived, and when we had killed our enemies we carried them back to our village.
These days there are no grass skirts; they were worn in ancestral times. When we
were in view of the village we cut them up, we had our meal, that was the custom
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 89

of our ancestors, then they started to dance. We killed our enemies, hit them and
dragged them.
Orait, nem bilong mi Yakanami, mi bilong Yaul, na mi laik bungim tok
All right, name of me Yakanami, I from Yaul, and I like join talk

bilong kandare bilong mi na mi tokim yu long taim nupela yet wetman

of uncle of mine and I tell you about time new emph Whiteman

i no kamap na ol nambawan lain ol i no kisim gut pisin ol i stap

pr not arrive and pl first group pl pr not catch well pidgin, they pr stay

longlong yet long toktok mipela i gat hia, orait, kirap

ignorant emph in matters language we exc pr got here, all right, (time) goes by

nau, sampela long ol i go long kampani, wanpela wanpela

now, some of them pr go to company, one at a time (a few scattered ones)

ol i go long kampani [4] ol i wok ol i kisim pisin i kam

they pr go to company, they pr work they pr acquire pidgin pr come back

long ples, orait, bihain ol man long ples i go i go i go [5],

to village, all right, afterwards pl man in village pr go and go and go,

orait, ol man long ples i save, save nau long tok pisin, em
all right, pl man in village pr know, know now about Tok Pisin, this (is it)

nau, mipela nupela man i kirap nau, mipela kirap wantaim ol

now, we new generation pr grow up now, we exc grow up with pl

pisin [6] nau, mipela nupela mipela klia, mipela gat klia, na
pidgin now, we new (ones) we informed, we got information, and

mipela i ken bihainim ol na mekim. Em pinis tok

we pr can follow them [the rules] and produce it. emph finish talk

bilong mi.
of mine.
90 Tok Pisin Texts

Well, my name is Yakanami from Yaul and I want to continue my uncle’s story
and tell you about more recent times. The Whiteman had not arrived yet and the
first generation of people did not have a good grasp of Tok Pisin, they remained
ignorant in matters of language. Well, we know this language now. Time goes by.
Some of them went to work for a big company, just a few went to work for a
company, they worked and they returned home with the Tok Pisin they had
learnt. Afterwards the men in the village went year after year and then they knew
Tok Pisin. Now, us new generation grew up and we grew up with Tok Pisin. We
are informed, we know the rules of the language and we follow them. That is it.
My story is finished.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] In this and other longer texts orait (from English ‘all right’) is used as a
discourse structuring element. Note the frequent backtracking and repeti-
tion which is characteristic of Tok Pisin narratives.
[2] Less developed varieties of Tok Pisin are characterized by the frequent use
of epenthetic vowels. Consonant clusters and closed syllables tend to be
[3] Kokonat (or kokonas) refers to the coconut tree and not its fruit. Because of
the special importance of the coconut Tok Pisin has a highly developed
terminology. Examples include kulau ‘green drinking nut’ and drai ‘dry nut
used in copra production’.
[4] This expression refers to the big trading or plantation companies in the
coastal areas of the New Guinea mainland or in the islands of the Bismarck
[5] The original locative and spatial expression is used to signal the passing of
time. This is a good example of concrete expressions being extended to
cover increasingly abstract concepts.
[6] The use of the plural marker in ol pisin is somewhat puzzling.

Text 32: Tok Baksait and Tok Bokis, 1949

With increasing literacy we can observe increasing metalinguistic awareness and

deliberate play with Tok Pisin. Particularly interesting forms of the language are
Tok Baksait (backslang) and Tok Bokis (hidden languages) which are used either
for taboo reasons (e.g., by saying im kial sipsip for mi laik pispis ‘I want to urinate’)
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 91

or as a secret code. For this latter function, the following example of Tok Bokis
was taken from Aufinger (1949: 118):
Mi stap long bush, nau mi laik kaikai bilinat [1]. Mi lukautim wanfelo, mi faindim,
mi faitim, faitim, faitim, mi kaikaim tasol i no swit long mi, na spet [2] belong mi i
no red [2]. Mi lukautim kambang wantaim daka. Mi kaikai wantaim bilinat, na
bilinat i swit long mi, na spet i red ollgeder, i kamdaun plenti tumas.
Literal English translation:
While I was in the bush, I wanted to chew a betelnut. I searched for one and
found it. I kept beating it (in the betel-mortar); finally I started to chew it, but it
was not sweet to my taste and my saliva did not turn red. I then searched for lime
and betel-pepper. When I chewed all those together it became very sweet to me
and red saliva was flowing down abundantly.
Intended secret meaning:
I wanted to have a fight with a certain man in the bush. I found him there and we
had a long fight between the two of us, but it was not to my satisfaction. So I
called for two of my friends and when they joined in the brawl my enemy was
beaten to my satisfaction and he lost a lot of blood.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Bilinat ‘betel nut’ is used mainly by older speakers. Younger speakers use
buai, an item borrowed from Tolai. This demonstrates that a purely
synchronic analysis of Tok Pisin can say little about the nature of substra-
tum influence. It is yet another example of such influence making itself felt
late in the development of the language rather than in the days of early
[2] Note the etymological writing conventions adopted by Aufinger. In Tok
Pisin both spet ‘spittle’ and red ‘red’ are pronounced with a voiceless final

Text 33: Tok piksa, talking in metaphors, 1976 (PM)

’Tok piksa’ is the metalinguistic label for talking in metaphors. The prolonged
use of metaphor throughout a text (tok pilai) is a favourite form of verbal play
among urban dwellers. The following passage was recorded by Mühlhäusler on
the campus of the University of Papua New Guinea in 1976.
The tok pilai is triggered off by a girl wearing a T-shirt with the letters
92 Tok Pisin Texts

‘PDF’, and her remark mi bagarap ‘I’m buggered’. In the ensuing conversation
one can observe the attempt by one of the male students to build up a tok pilai
around the workshop motif (M1) and the attempt by another (M3) to do the
same with the medicine/hospital motif. Eventually the workshop motif takes
over: (M1, M2, M3 = male students, G = girl student)
M1: Dispela meri i toktok, lukim em i lap.
This girl is talking, see how she is laughing.
M2: Pi Di Ef, Pi Di Ef!
G: A, mi bagarap.
I’m buggered.
M1: A, dispela kain bai fiksim [1] long woksap.
This sort of thing can be fixed in the workshop.
M2: Bagarap long wanem ya?
How come buggered?
M3: Ating marasin i stap.
Perhaps there is medicine for it.
M1: Gutpela long wokim long woksap.
It’s OK to do it in the workshop.
M2: PDF woksap i gutpela.
The PDF workshop is fine.
M1: PDF woksap, ya man!
The PDF workshop, yeah man!
M2: Ol i fiksim gut.
They fix it properly.
M1: Ol i laik grisim [2] gut.
They can grease it up well.
M2: Ol i save holim gut.
They can get a grip on it.
M3: Wanem?
M1: Samting [3] ya.
You know what.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] A morpheme by morpheme translation of this sentence (this kind fut fix
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 93

[transitivity marker] at/by workshop) provides a good example of how a

passive might develop in Tok Pisin through re-analysis.
[2] Note the double meaning of grisim ‘to apply grease’ and ‘to flatter’.
[3] Another double meaning: samting ‘something’ or ‘genitals’.

Text 34: Playful insults, 1976 (PM)

Playful insults are another feature of creolized urban Tok Pisin. The following
scene of two friends meeting one another was recorded by Mühlhäusler at the
University of Papua New Guinea in 1976:
A: Antoni yu bikbol. Kok bilong yu i olsem skin dok. Pens bilong yu i gat grile.
Yupela ol Manam i save slek. Gutbai, gutnait.
B: Yu hul yu!
A: Anthony, you bandy bastard. Your cock is hairy like a dog. Your pants are
infested with ringworm. You Manam blokes are impotent. Good bye, good
B: You cunt!

Text 35: A conversation around a snooker table, 1976 (PM)

Few examples of ‘natural’ conversations have been recorded in Tok Pisin until
very recently. The following example was recorded by Mühlhäusler in Port
Moresby in 1976. It is a relaxed conversation around a snooker table by a couple
of young men, which is briefly interrupted as a group of attractive girls walks
M1: Mipela i spak [1], em dispela taim yu lusim ki bilong yu ya. Em
We were drinking, it was when you lost your key. That

dispela taim tasol. Mipela i spak i go, i go i go, ol boi paitim dram
was the time. We drank and drank, the boys beat the drum

na singsing:
and sang:
94 Tok Pisin Texts

‘Yu ya yu ya, sak meri ya’

‘You, you, shark woman’

Singsing bilong ol Madang yu.

That’s a song from Madang.

M2: Yupela i spak wantaim ol manki Sepik?

Did you drink with the Sepik boys?

M1: Nogat. Mi, mi … mi … mi … na John S., Louis, William na

No. I, I … I … I … and John S., Louis, William and

husat gen ya? Dispela boi ya, S. Dispela boi Morobe ya. Mipela i
who else? This bloke, S. This bloke from Morobe. We

spak i go i go nau. Mipela i go long blekmaket baim dring gen

kept drinking. We went to the blackmarket and bought more drink

i kam na dring gen.

and brought it back and drank again.

M2: (Whistles as a girl passes by and shouts)

Salawe, he tusot.
My God, your skirt is too short.

(The girl attempts to pull down her skirt.)

M1: Ais!
You are as sweet as icecream!

(Girl laughs.)

M2: O-a-o (short for kok-kan-kok) [2]


M1: Abus bilong tumbuna kandare! [3]

What a dish for my old uncle (penis)!

M2: Goan yu pinisim stori nau.

Come on, finish your story now.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 95

M1: Mipela i spak i go i go nau na mi lukim samting nogut.

We kept on drinking and I saw something bad.

M2: Samting i gat huk tu?

Something that had a hook?

M1: Magnet ya, magnet. Samting i gat huk ya, i save hukim ol man.
A magnet it was, a magnet. Something which had a hook, to hook men.

I save go slip nabaut long set ya.

She was in the habit of sleeping around with this set.

M2: Sore!
How shocking!
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Spak derives from English ‘spark’. Its etymological meaning survives only
in spakplak ‘spark plug’.
[2] As pointed out by Dr Piet Lincoln (personal communication) the use of
o-a-o is a counter-example to the principle that vowels are more redundant
than consonants and thus more easily omitted.
[3] One reason given by the speakers of this text for the use of kandare ‘mater-
nal uncle’ for ‘penis’ was that it contains the syllable kan. Word play among
urban dwellers can be multi-dimensional and highly complex.

Text 36: The story of the loaves and fishes (1) (SR)

This is an oral version of the loaves and fishes story from the Bible, as told by a
young girl in Lae. This story has considerable anglicization, e.g., boi (cf. Tok
Pisin manki), preparim (cf. Tok Pisin redim), fud (cf. Tok Pisin kaikai), blesim
(cf. Tok Pisin givim tenkyu long God long sampela samting), pipol (cf. Tok Pisin
Wanpla taim olgeta man lai go lukim Jisas nau. Ol no kisim kaikai
One time altogether man want go see Jesus now. They neg get food

bilong ol, na ol go nating [1]. Na wanpla mama em preparim

of them, and they go nothing. And one mother she prepare [food]
96 Tok Pisin Texts

bilong wanpla liklik boi na em tokim em liklik boi tok olsem, ‘Mi laik go lukim
of one little boy and he say he little boy say thus, ‘I want go see

Jisas ia,’ nau mama blem preparim fud blem na em tok olsem. Em givim
Jesus foc,’ and mother of him prepare food of him and he say thus. She give

tupla fish [2] na faivpla bret na em givim em, em karim go nau. Jesus askim
two fish and five bread and she give him, he carry go now. Jesus ask

olgeta man ia, ‘yupla gat fud tu’ na olgeta man toksem [3], ‘nogat’.
altogether man foc, ‘you pl got food too’ and altogether man say thus, ‘no’.

Na liklik boi ia kirap tok olsem ‘Mi gat’. Na em givim disla bred na fish lo
And little boy foc get up say thus ‘I got’. And he give this bread and fish to

Jisas nau. Jisas blesim nau, em blesim disla tupla fish na faivpla bred na tupla
Jesus now. Jesus bless now, he bless this two fish and five bread and two

fish ia kamap olsem planti fish na disla faivpla bred ia kamap olsem
fish foc come up thus plenty fish and this five bread foc come up thus

planti bred na olgeta pipol, faiv tausan ol kaikai.

plenty bread and altogether people, five thousand they eat.
Once upon a time all the people wanted to go see Jesus. They didn’t take their
food with them. They went without anything. Now one woman was preparing
something for her little boy and the little boy said, ‘I want to go see Jesus’, and his
mother prepared his food. She gave him two fish and five loaves of bread and he
carried them away. Jesus asked all the people, ‘have you got food?’ And everyone
said, ‘no’. And the little boy got up and said, ‘I have’. Then he gave the bread and
fish to Jesus. Jesus blessed them, the two fish and five loaves and they became a
lot of bread and all the people, five thousand of them, ate.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This is the frustrative use of nating. “Frustrative” is a grammatical category of
Melanesian languages and Tok Pisin marked on some verbs, nouns and
adjectives and expressing a negative reaction (‘in vain’, ‘unimportant’, ‘other
than desired’, etc.), e.g. man nating ‘an unimportant person’, bigpela nating
‘big (without other positive attributes)’, kaikai nating ‘just chewing’, sindaun
nating ‘live somewhere without having work’, or traiim nating ‘try in vain’.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 97

[2] The forms fish, fis are used by many speakers now instead of pis.
[3] This is a reduced variant of tok olsem.

Text 37: Extract from a council meeting, East Sepik District, 1972

Papua New Guinean participation in administration and government was

greatly facilitated by the use of Tok Pisin. As most administrative units above
the village level comprised more than one language group, the use of Tok Pisin
was almost inevitable. During the years of Australian rule Tok Pisin was also the
language of the White patrol officers and administrators who prepared the
country for self-government and independence. The following is an extract
from a council meeting held in the East Sepik District in February 1972,
recorded by Dr. Bryant Allan of the Australian National University:
Meeting At Samgum: Joseph Lambori 10 February 1972.
Time about 9.00 pm. Few people, mostly women, assembled in the circle at
Samgum seated on the ground or under the eaves of the houses. Two folding
chairs placed before Misian’s store. Ketehi in one. Joseph still in the boys’ house
waiting for enough people to assemble to begin. Finally emerges and sits down.
Ketehi opens meeting.

Ketehi: Bai yupela harim wanpela toktok i kam long pren bilong yumi.
fut you pl hear a message pr come from friend of us inc.

Em i laikim lanim yupela long sampela tingting. Em i laik askim

He pr wants to instruct you pl in some thoughts. He pr wants to ask

save long yupela. Wonem wori long dispela bisnis yu

information from you. What (is the) problem with this business you

no kirapim. Yupela ken toktok. Em i laik kisim save

have not started. You pl can talk. He pr wants to obtain knowledge

wonem samting asua yupela no wokim bisnis. Nau

what (is the) problem that you pl not do business. Now

yupela no laikim long planim rais na mekim bisnis. Yupela mas

you pl not want to plant rice and do business. You pl must
98 Tok Pisin Texts

kamautim dispela wori i kam ah. No wanwan man. Meri tu

bring out in the open this worry pr come, tag. Not each man. Women too

i ken tok sapos yu [1] gat tok, yu ken tok tu. Nau tokim ol, bai em
pr can talk if you have opinion, you can talk too. Now say them, then he

i ken harim. Em tasol na yupela sindaun na em i haskim yupela nau,

pr can listen. That’s all and you pl sit down and he pr ask you pl now,

orait, yupela gat wonem tingting, orait bekim i kam long em.
all right, you pl got whatever opinion, well answer pr come to him.

Joseph: Orait, gutmoning ologeta. [Reply in unison.] Olosem mi gat

All right, good morning everybody. Like I have

sampela toktok i kam long nambawan bilong yumi long Agriculture. Na bin
some talk pr come from boss of us inc in Agriculture. And have

kam raun long holim kivung. Mi no bin kam long wok. Mi kam long
come round to hold meeting. I not have come to work. I come to

holim wanpela kivung tasol long ologeta pipal long hia. Kirapim tingting
hold one meeting only for all people around here. To arouse thought

bilong ol, pasin bilong kirapim bisnis. Orait, mi tok save [2] long yupela.
of theirs, fashion of start business. Well, I inform you.

Olosem mi nupela long dispela hap. Yupela i save mi go long

That I (am) new in this part (of the world). You pl pr know I go to

wok long hap bilong Kombio. Orait nau ol i bin senisim mipela raun
work in area of Kombio. Well now they pr have changed us around

long wanwan man husat i lukautim eria em i mas senisim [3]. Nau
so that every man who pr looks after an area he pr must change. Now

bai mi wok insait long Urat Sensis Divisen nau. Oke [4], nau mi ritim
fut I work inside the Urat Census Division now. OK, now I read

sampela toktok long buk hia, toktok bilong nambawan. Nambawan toktok, em
some talk in book emph, talk of first (item). First talk, it
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 99

i tok, yupela mas planim plenti rais long dispela yia. Long wonem? Rais mil
pr says, you pl must plant lots of rice in this year. Why? Ricemill

long Bainyik i stap nating nau. I no gat plenti rais. Orait, nambawan
in Bainyik pr stands idle now. pr not exist lots of rice. All right, first

i tok, long dispela yia, taim i no pinis yet, i gat wan mun i stap
pr talk, in this year, time pr not finished yet, pr exist one month pr exist

yet, yupela mas planim rais. Nau sapos husat man em i laik planim
emph, you pl must plant rice. Now if whosoever man he pr wants plant

rais em i mas kam long didiman opis na kisim rais na planim. Orait,
rice he pr must come to agricultural office and fetch rice and plant it. All right,

nambatu toktok. Toktok long las yia yupela bin planim plenti rais long
second talk. It says that last year you pl have planted lots of rice in

hap bilong Sepik. Mipela bin kisim bikpela mani tru long las yia.
the area of Sepik. We exc have received lots of money really in last year.

Mipela kisim olosem $134,000, long las yia. Em i bikpela mani tru
We exc get something like $134,000, in last year. It pr big money truly

hia [5]. Orait, dispela bikpela mani em i bin helpim mipela plenti samting.
emph All right, this big money it pr has helped us exc lots of things.

Em i helpim mipela long kaunsil takis, em i helpim mipela long salim pikinini
It pr help us exc with council tax, it pr help us exc to send children

long skul. Em i helpim mipela long baim ol bek, sarip, na kopi

to school. It pr help us exc to buy pl bag, grassknife, and coffee

masin, pruning so [6]. Ol samting long helpim mipela long kirap bikpela.
machine, pruning saw. pl thing to help us exc to develop big.

Orait, yu save long mani bilong las yia. Yu save em i bikpela mani
All right, you know about money of last year. You know it pr big money

moa, insait long wanwan ples bilong yumi. Na nambatri toktok em i tok.
emph, inside each village of us inc. And third talk it pr says.
100 Tok Pisin Texts

Dispela yia, sapos mipela i no kirapim bisnis nau bai mani i lus long
This year, if we exc pr not start business now then money pr lost for

yumi. Long wonem? Long las yia yumi kisim bikpela mani i kam insait
us. Why? In last year we inc obtain big money pr come inside

long ples. Long dispela yia, sapos mipela i les long kirapim bisnis,
to village. In this year, if we exc pr reluctant to start business,

bai mipela i lus long dispela mani bipo las yia mi gat. Nau tasol, sapos
then we exc pr without this money earlier last year I had. Now only, if

mipela i les long planim rais bai mipela i [loud cough muffled speech]
we exc pr reluctant to plant rice then we exc pr

dispela mani agen. Nau em i no stret. Orait em nambatri toktok

this money again. Now this pr not right. All right, this third talk

long dispela.
about this.
You are about to hear a message from our friend. He would like to share a
few thoughts with you. He would like to find out from you what has
prevented you from starting this business. You can talk freely. We would like
to know why you do not participate in (cash crop) business. At present you
are not interested in planting rice and doing business. You must tell him
your reasons. Not just the men. The women too can talk if they have
something to say. I am telling them and he can hear from them. That’s all, sit
down and he will ask you. Whatever you have to say, tell it to him.
Well, good morning everyone. I have some information from our boss in
Agriculture. I have come to hold this meeting. I have not come to work. I
have only come to meet with you people in order to make you think about
how to go about starting up a business.
Well, I would like to inform you that I am new in this area. You know that I
used to work in the Kombio area. Now they have changed us around and
each man who looks after an area must change. From now on I shall work in
the Urat Census Division. OK, I would like to read you some passages from
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 101

this book here, starting with the first item. The first item says that you must
plant lots of rice this year. Why? The rice mill in Bainyik stands idle. There is
not much rice. Well, the first item is that this year, which is not finished yet,
there is still a month to go, you must plant rice. If anyone wants to plant rice
they must come to the agricultural office and obtain rice and plant it.
Well, the second item on the agenda is that last year you planted lots of rice
in the Sepik area. We made big money last year. We made $134,000 last year.
This is really big money. Well, this money has helped us in a lot of ways. It
helped pay our council tax, it helped us send our children to school. It helped
us buy bags, grassknives, coffee machines, pruning saws and so on. All sorts
of things that help us to develop. Well, you know about last year’s money.
You know there was lots of money in each of our villages.
The third item is: if we do not start our business this year then our money
will be lost. Why? Last year we obtained lots of money for our villages. This
year, if we fail to start up our business, we won’t have the money we had last
year. If we are too lazy to plant rice then (…) this money again. All right, this
is item number three.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The unexpected use of singular yu instead of plural yupela may be due to
influence from English or else may have a Freudian explanation: the
speaker is thinking of one particular woman.
[2] Toksave ‘to inform’ is an instance of a verbal chain that has become
[3] This appears to be a clearcut case of the transitive marker -im having come
to be used as a reflexive marker.
[4] The more common orait has been replaced by English ‘OK’.
[5] The locative adverb hia ‘here’ is frequently used as an emphasizer (some-
times spelled ya).
[6] Until recently, the language of agriculture was very under-developed and
centred around situations where Papua New Guineans were recipients of
orders (cf. Scott 1977). When agricultural training was properly instituted
shortly before self-government in the early 1970s, numerous English terms
were borrowed.
102 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 38: Baby and caretaker talk

Baby and caretaker talk is rarely documented for pidgins and creoles. The
following text was recorded by Don Kulick of the Australian National Universi-
ty at Gapun in the Sepik area. It illustrates how Tok Pisin has taken over from
traditional languages (in this case Taiap) even in the mainly intimate domestic
Bonika: (bouncing Amambwira up and down on her lap)
Bus mangi bus mangi
bus mangi
bus bus mush mush bush
yu bus mangi bus mangi yu
bus mangi mush mush
bus mangi mush mush.
(Seeing their seven year old sister Yapa emerging from the forest, Bonika slaps
Amambwira lightly on the face and points to Yapa:)
Yapa ia Yapa ia
em ia em ia em ia
Yapa tata ia
lukim tata
apa apa apa
em ia Yapa bapa ba pa
pa pa pa.
(Bonika suddenly puts Amambwira belly down on the floor and spanks her
bottom to the rhythm of:)
Yu sindaun
(Bonika lifts Amambwira up and lays her across her lap:)
Nau bai yu slip
sip sip bebi
bebi! sip sip sip
bebi! bobi bobi
bebu bebu
wo wo wo wo wo wo …
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 103

Bush kid bush kid
bush kid
bush bush mush mush bush
you bush kid bush kid you
bush kid mush mush
bush kid mush mush.
There’s Yapa there’s Yapa
there there there
there’s older sibling Yapa
look at older sibling
apa apa apa
there Yapa Bapa ba pa
pa pa pa.
You sit down
sit down
sit down
sit down.
Now you’re gonna sleep
seep seep baby.
baby! seep seep seep
baby! bobi bobi
bebu bebu
wo wo wo wo wo wo…

Text 39: Interview about war experiences (TD)

In this interview Michael Wurio talks about his Second World War experiences.
Michael is 65 years old and comes from Kamanibit Village on the lower Sepik
River, Papua New Guinea. He is uneducated.
Yes, orait a … dispela stori em … mi, mi … mi nogat [1], mi, mi stap long
Yes all right ah … this story it … I, I … I not, I, I be in

bikples … bikples long Madang na i go inap long Mosbi dispela hap

area … area at Madang and pr go as far as to Moresby this piece
104 Tok Pisin Texts

graun kam, em dispela bikples graun mi stap na ol … ol i stap long

land come, it this area land I be and they … they pr be at/in

ailen [2] Rabaul na Siapan [3] i kisim ol i kam, planti ol Niugini,

island Rabaul and Japanese pr get them pr come, many pl New Guinea,

Niugini man, em ol Sepik tasol, na kisim ol i kam, na mipela tu

New Guinea man they Sepik only, and get them pr come, and we too

mipela karim kago i go, mipela karim kago i go. Mipela lukim Siapan a …
we carry cargo pr go, we carry cargo pr go. We see Japanese ah …

a … Amerika kirap nau ol i stopim mipela, ol i tok, ‘yu no ken i

ah … Americans get up then they pr stop us, they pr say, ‘you not can pr

kam kwik. Yupela mas i stap pastaim. Stop … stopim lain pastaim.’
come quickly. You pl must pr stay first. Stop … stop line first.’

Em nau [4] Siapan i kam nau. Ol i kam long sip long ol … a …

Then Japanese pr come then. They pr come in ship in they … ah …

ol i kam long a … samting ya i save ran insait long wara, a …

they pr come in ah … something foc pr hab run inside in water, ah …

wanem samting ya? … (Background: sabmarin) sabma … ol i kam long

what thing foc? … (Background: submarine) submar … they pr come in

sabmarin. Ol i kam long … man! sabmarin ya drip olsem pis, ol i

submarine. They pr come in … gee! submarine foc move like fish, they pr

kam sua. Na lain bilong mipela, Amerika na Austrelia, i no liklik, ol

come ashore. And line of us, American and Australian, pr not small, they

i no liklik. Em nau ol i sambai nau, Amerika i sambai nau, man!

pr not small. So they pr prepare then, Americans pr prepare then, gee!

Na Austrelia, ol i sambai nau. Em nau, Siapan i … i laik go

And Australians they pr prepare then. So, Japanese pr … pr want go

sua. Sori! Ol i go! Man, salim stret. Amerika, man! Mekim sa:::ve
ashore. Alas! They pr go! Gee, send straight Americans gee! Make understand
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 105

ol gan i go, mekim save. Nau ol tu gan bilong ol i kirap, mekim

pl gun pr fire make understand. Then they too gun of they pr begin, do

mekim mekim mekim mekim, pinis, em nau ol i angat [5] nau, ol

do do do do, finish, having done that they pr attack then, they

i angat. Ol i sanap lain nau, lain bilong Siapan, lain bilong Amerika
pr attack. They pr stand line then, line of Japanese, line of Americans

Austrelia ol i sanap nau. Em nau, ol i angat nau. Ol

Australians they pr stand then. Having done that, they pr attack then. They

mekim save angat i go:::, Siapan i dai. Amerika sampela i dai.

make understand attack pr cont, Japanese pr die. Americans some pr die.

Ol Siapan planti tumas i dai. Em nau, mipela … ol i stopim mipela i no

pl Japanese many very pr die. So, we … they pr stop use pr not

ken i kam ausait. Olgeta mas i stap. Mipela i stap. Mipela i sta:::p,
can pr come outside. Everyone must pr stay. We pr stay. We pr stay,

pait i pinis, Siapan i … i slip olsem, wanem samting? … ol dispela

fight pr finish, Japanese pr … pr lie down like, what thing? … pl this

diwai ol i kolim lok, slip olsem long nambis. Man! Planti mo!
tree they pr call log, lie down thus on beach. Gee! Many more!

Em nau, mipela lukim bilong mipela, mipela kisim ol i go planim

Having done that we check of us we get them pr go bury

ol, ol Amerika na Austrelia. Planim ol pinis na yip(?) … bilong

them, pl Americans and Australians. Bury them comp and heap(?) … of

Siapan tu olsem mipela kisim ol planim ol. Pinis nau, em nau! Mipela
Japan too thus we get them bury them. comp then that’s it! We

surik bek nau. Orait Amerika i tok, ‘orait yupela go bek nau long kem.’
move back then. Okay Americans pr say, ‘okay you pl go back now to camp.’

Mipela go bek nau long kem. Nau dispela lain Siapan ya i kam bihain
We go back then to camp. Then this line Japanese foc pr come behind
106 Tok Pisin Texts

long mipela, o::: man! Ol i kam i dai tasol, i dai tasol, i dai tasol na
us, oh gee! They pr come pr die only, pr die only, pr die only and

pinis. Em nau pait i slek nau. Nau ol i tokim mipela, ‘yupela no ken
finish. And so fight pr slack then. Then they pr tell us, ‘you pl not allow

go long Mosibi. Yupela mas kam bek nau!’ Mipela kam bek. Kam
go to Port Moresby. You pl must come back now!’ We come back. Come

bek i kam stap liklik nau. Em nau, Amerika wantaim Austrelia, man!
back pr come stay little then. And then, Americans with Australians, gee!

Oush! Balus i kam kapsaitim, i kam kapsaitim, kapsaitim kapsaitim

Gosh! Plane pr come disgorge, pr come disgorge, disgorge disgorge

kapsaitim man! Lae i pulap. Em nau. Kirap long Lae, raunim Siapan i
disgorge gee! Lae pr full up. That’s it. Start in Lae, drive Japanese pr

kam kam kam kam kam. Ol i no … Yu go! Nogat, olgeta i kam.

come come come come come. They pr not … You go! No they all pr come.

I dai long rot tasol. I dai long rot tasol, planti mo mo yet i dai long
pr die on road only. pr die on road only, many more more very pr die on

rot. A man! Mipela lukim ol ya, man! Sh [6]! I no liklik, kam kam
road. Ah gee! We see them foc, gee! Gosh! pr not little come come

kam kam [7] ol i tok, ‘ol … olgeta Siapan i ranawe pinis.’ Sh!
come come they pr say, ‘all Japanese pr run away comp.’ Gosh!

Ol Siapan i stap hia long Niugini a … long Sepik na long hap belong
pl Japanese pr be here in New Guinea ah … in Sepik and in area of

Aitape, olgeta i sh! I ranawe i go. I pinis nau. Em nau mipela kisim
Aitape, all pr gosh! pr run away pr go. pr finish then. And so we get

Sepik nau. Go kisim Aitape. Orait ol sampela wan wan tasol i pret i
Sepik then. Go get Aitape. Okay they some one one only pr afraid pr

ranawe i go stap nabaut nabaut long ol gaden ol i stilim kaikai bilong ol

run away pr go stay around around in pl garden they pr steal food of pl
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 107

kanaka. Em nau dispela ol lain … lain ya tasol ol i save kisim ol.

villager. And so this pl line … line foc only they pr hab get them.

Mipela kisim ol kalabusim ol pinis. Orait lusim ol mipela kirap ya i

We get them gaol them comp. Okay leave them we get up foc pr

go rata(?) Rabaul. I go Rabaul. Mipela mumutim Rabaul gen. Mumutim gen

go (?) Rabaul. pr go Rabaul. We clean up Rabaul again. Clean up again

Siapan bilong Rabaul. Go:::, pinis. I kam ausait [8], ol i stap nau.
Japanese of Rabaul. cont, comp. pr come outside, they pr be then.

Em nau, ol kam i dil nau, dilim nau. Ol i tok, ‘husat i …

And then, they come pr divide then, divide then. They pr say, ‘whoever pr …

husat i kapten … kapten nating, leftenan nating o solodia nating kam

whoever pr captain … captain just, lieutenant just or soldier just come

long hap.’ Em nau ol dispela ol solodia nating, kapten nating, leftenan o

to there.’ After that pl this pl soldier just, captain just, lieutenant or

wanem kain man, senerol, generol [9] o meja bilong ol, olgeta i go long
whatever kind person, general general or major of them, all pr go to

narapela hap. ‘Orait nau, we stap dispela man bilong katim nek? I brukim
another area. ‘Okay now, where be this person for cut neck? pr break

nek bilong man?’ Ol i tok, ‘em! Dispela lain i stap hia, ol Kembe.’
neck of person?’ They pr say, ‘those! This line pr be here, pl Kembe.’
Free Translation:
Yes, okay ah … this story that … I, I … I wasn’t one of them [those Sepik men
who were captured by the Japanese in Rabaul]. For my part I was in the area …
the area around Madang, between Madang and Port Moresby. I was there and
they … they [other Sepik men] were on the island of Rabaul and the Japanese
brought them, many New Guineans, New Guinea men, all Sepiks, brought them
[to the New Guinea mainland as labourers] and we also carried supplies, we
carried supplies. We saw the Japanese ah … the Americans stopped us. They said,
‘don’t come quickly. Stay first. Stop … stop the [cargo] line first.’
And so the Japanese came then. They came in a ship, in a ah … they came in a …
that thing that travels under water ah … what is it? [Background: submarine]
108 Tok Pisin Texts

subma … they came in a submarine. They came in a … gee!, submarines move

like fish. They came ashore. And our men, Americans and Australians, there was
quite a lot of them, quite a lot of them. And so they were ready then. The
Americans were ready then, gee!, and Australians. They were ready then. Then
the Japanese wanted to come ashore. Alas!, they went. Gee!, they were simply set
upon. The Americans … gee! … gave it to them! The guns fired and gave it to
them. Then everyone’s guns began firing, firing, firing, firing, firing, firing. After
that they attacked [with bayonets], they attacked. They stood up in lines, a
Japanese line and lines of Americans and Australians. Then they attacked. They
gave it to them with bayonets and that went on until the Japanese were dead.
And then we … they stopped us from coming outside [to where the action was].
We all had to stay [where we were]. We stayed and stayed until the battle was
over. Japanese were flying about like what is it? … trees called logs. They were
lying about like that on the beach. Gee!, large numbers of them.
Then we looked for our dead and took them and buried them, Americans and
Australians. After that … we also took and buried heaps (?) of Japanese dead too.
After that we pulled back.
Then the Americans said, ‘okay you chaps go back to camp now.’ So we went
back to camp. Then this group of Japanese followed us, oh man! They came on
but were simply killed [lit.: just died], and killed and killed until there was none
left. The battle was over then.
Then they said to us, ‘don’t go to Port Moresby. You have to move back now.’
We moved back and back and then stayed a while. Then the Americans together
with the Australians … man! gosh! … aeroplanes came and disgorged them and
kept disgorging them until … gee!, Lae was full up. Then starting from Lae we
rounded up the Japanese. They didn’t … one couldn’t go! No, [because] they all
came. They were simply killed [lit.: died] along the road. They were simply killed
along the road, lots and lots of them … gee! gosh! … very many [lit.: not a few].
We continued rounding up [lit.: come, come, come] and they said, ‘the … all the
Japanese have run away.’ Gosh! The Japanese who were here in New Guinea ah
… in the Sepik and in the Aitape area, all of them … gosh!, ran away. That was
the end then. We took over the Sepik and went and captured Aitape. Some, only
individuals, were afraid and ran away and lived here and there in gardens and
stole villagers’ food. That was how it was. But these groups [of soldiers] … these
groups captured them. We took them and interned them. After that they left
them and we went off (rata?) to Rabaul. They went to Rabaul. We cleaned up
Rabaul likewise, cleaned up the Japanese in Rabaul until there were none left.
They came outside and then stayed. Then they divided them up, divided them
up. They said, ‘whoever is … whoever’s a captain, just a captain, just a lieutenant
or an ordinary soldier come over here.’ And so those ordinary soldiers, captains,
lieutenants or whoever, generals, their generals or majors, all went to another area.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 109

‘Okay now, where is this guy who cut off people’s heads, the breaker of men’s necks?’
They said, ‘those! This group here, Kembes.’
And so they stood up in a line.
Then they said to them, ‘now you chaps, you take this compound.’
They took this other compound and interned them in it.
Points to note include:
[1] Michael’s introduction does not make much sense until he introduces ol
which refers to other Sepik men who were captured by the Japanese in
[2] For some reason Michael refers to Rabaul as an island even though he
claims later on in the text that he went there with the Allies as part of the
occupation force.
[3] Michael has no difficulty pronouncing English ‘j’ and ‘sh’, particularly in
the examples of Siapan, pinis and meja later in the text.
[4] Em nau is a common textual feature of Tok Pisin which is difficult to
translate directly into English. It indicates that the episode just mentioned
is complete and a new one is beginning. Literally it means something like
‘that having occurred’ but is often used to approximate to ‘so, as a result,
[5] Angat comes from English ‘on guard’ which refers to a movement in
bayonet practice where the bayonet is presented to an oncoming enemy.
[6] This sound is made by sucking in air through half rounded lips.
[7] This is a continuation of the thought introduced several lines back where
Michael was talking about rounding up the Japanese.
[8] It is unclear what Michael is referring to here. It would seem most likely he
is referring to the prison compound where captive Japanese were held.
[9] Note that Michael changes his pronunciation of ‘general’ on the second

Text 40: Interview with a field manager (TD)

In this interview Hosea John talks about his work as a field manager providing
support for fieldworkers of the Australian National University’s (ANU)
Research Support Unit in Port Moresby. Hosea is very well-educated and was
a school inspector before taking up this position. He is thirty-five years old and
comes from Vunakaur Village near Rabaul.
110 Tok Pisin Texts

Yes, a … fiu … fiu wok [1] i save kamap. A … wanpela bikpela wok bilong

Yes ah … few … few works pr hab arise. Ah … a main task poss

mi em bikos a … einyu em i gatim ol hauses long a … i no long Mosbi

me it because ah … ANU it pr has pl house in ah … pr not in Moresby

tasol bat long ol [2] narapela provinses tu we mi tekim kwait a lot ov a …

only but in pl other provinces too that I take quite a lot of ah …

taim bilong mi long mentenens long ol dispela hauses. A … so wanpela bikpela

time poss me in maintenance at pl this houses. ah … so a main

wok we mi save duim long meik siua that ol dispela hauses bikos ol rent
task that I hab do in make sure that pl this houses because pl rent

bilong ol i antap liklik so mi … mi mas meik siua that ol dispela hauses

of them pr high a little so I … I must make sure that pl this houses

em i … ol i welmeinteind, a … ol problems long ol i sot aut …

they pr … they pr well maintained, ah … pl problems in them pr sort out …

soted aut taim ol … ol tenant bilong ol i kam na ol i komplen

sorted out when pl … pl tenant of them pr come and they pr complain

na [3] olsem sampela samting i no … i no … wok gut long ol hauses nau,

and like some thing pr not … pr not … work well in/at pl houses then,

em nau mi … mi a … wok bilong mi nau long goaut na inspektim ol dispela

and so I … I ah … task poss me then to go out and inspect pl this

hauses, arenjim long ol … long kapentas long kam long fikisimapim ol

houses, arrange or them … for carpenters for come for fix up pl

kain kain wok insait long ol hauses na jes jenrol meintenens long ol
different kinds of job in pl houses and just general maintenance in pl

dispela hauses. Wanpela bikpela wok tu we mi save tekim kwait a lot ov taim
this houses. A major task too which I hab take quite a lot of time

bilong mi long itsh dei em bilong chesimapim ol tenant long ol rent long ol
of me in each day it for chase up pl tenant for pl rent in pl
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 111

hauses a … em wanpela bikpela wok we mi save duim tu bikos planti ol

houses ah … that a major task that I hab do too because many pl

tenant tu i save hambak liklik long mi long … long peimap in taim long
tenant too pr hab cause trouble a little to me in … in paying in time for

ol rent bilong ol na, em nau, na i … fiu taims nau mi kisim sampela

pl rent of them and, that’s it, and pr … a few times now I get some

i go long kot. Em i tekim longpela taim bilong mi tu long … long … long

pr go to court. It pr take long time of me too for … for … for

stap long kot na wantaim ol loyas bilong yumi yet long einyu long
stay in court and with pl lawyers of our own emph from ANU for

tshesimapim ol rent long a … long ol hauses bilong … bilong a … bilong einyu.

chase up pl rent in ah … in pl houses of … of ah … of ANU.

I wanpela bikpela wok we mi save duim. A … sampela taim sapos i no gat

pr one major task that I hab do. Ah … some time if pr not got

planti reseses i stap long a … long Mosbi eria, tasol long lain bilong
many researchers pr be in ah … in Moresby area, but in group of

yumi yet long einyu mi no save bisi tumas. Mi no save bisi tumas. A …
us own emph in ANU I not hab busy very. I not hab busy very. Ah …

i gat planti kain a … bukwok i … i nidim long mi i duim bat ounli

pr has plenty kind ah … book work pr … pr need comp me pr do but only

wen ol … ol lain bilong yumi long einyu i kam nau mi bisi long ol …
when pl … pl group of us in ANU pr come then I busy with pl …

long ol … ol wok bilong ol. Am … wanpela … wanpela wok tu we mi …

with pl … pl task of them. Um … a …a task too that I …

em i save kisim a … planti taim bilong mi long itsh dei during tha wik em
it pr hab take ah … much time of me in each day during the week it

long ol … pablisaizim ol buks bilong yumi ol … ol Niu gini rises

for pl … publicise pl books of us pl … pl New Guinea Research
112 Tok Pisin Texts

bulitins we mi … mi gatim … em a … ol planti institusens long hia long

Bulletins which I … I have … it ah … pl many institutions at here in

siti ol i save kam na baim na em wanpela samting we i save tekim

city they pr hab come and buy and that one thing which pr hab take

planti taim bilong mi long mi … mi salim ol dispela buks. In fak i no long

much time of me for I … I sell pl this books. In fact pr not at

hia long Mosbi tasol bat long ol provinses tu bikos mi bin a … bin
here in Moresby only but in pl provinces too because I past ah … past

wokim ol … ol a … a … mi advetaisim ol dispela buks long ol institusens,

make pl … pl ah … ah … I advertise pl this books in pl institutions,

ol ediukeisonel institiushns long Papua Niugini na planti odas i save …

pl educational institutions in Papua New Guinea and many others pr hab …

planti i save kam, so em mi save tekim planti taim long mipela long pekimap
many pr hab come, so it I hab take much time for us to packup

rapimap na bihain a … go salim ol dispela buks go long ol na em wanpela

wrap up and later ah … go send pl this book go to them and that one

samting we i save kisim taim bilong mipela long a … bilong mi … long … e

thing that pr hab take time of us for ah … of me … at … ah

… long long wok. A … mipela i gatim tu ol vikols, ol vikols we em tu

… at at work. Ah … we pr have too pl vehicles, pl vehicles that it too

i ken tekim taim bilong mi … long mi long sortimaut espesoli ol vekols long
pr can take time of me … for me to sort out especially pl vehicle in

Lae we yumi gatim. Ol man i yusim i go long hailens o i go long Lae

Lae that we have. pl person pr use pr go to Highlands or pr go to Lae

a … Madang eria em tu i ken tekim … sapos sampela vikols i gatim

ah … Madang area that too pr can take … if some vehicles pr have

problems em bai i tekim samtaim long mi long diuring tha dei long mi
problems that fut pr take some time for me in during the day for me
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 113

kontakt [4] wantaim ol long Lae na sortimaut ol problems olsem, em … e

contact with them in Lae and sort out pl problems thus, that … eh

… i taim konsuming liklik taim mi stap long fon o teleks o wetim

… pr time consuming a little when I be on phone or telex or await

informesen long we kar i stap. Em i ken tekim taim liklik long wanpela
information on where car pr be. It pr can take time a little in a

de long mi. Mi sindaun tasol long wetim ol informesen a … kontakt bai i go

day for me. I sit only for await pl information ah … contact fut pr go

long ol na i pasim ol long wanem samting bai ol i … ol i

to them and pr prevent them from whatever thing fut they pr … they pr

karimaut long ol kars bilong mi … bilong yumi. So emol sampela wok we mi ken
carry out to pl cars of me … of us. So they some task that I can

tekimapim a … i ken tekimapim taim bilong mi long diuring tha dei.

take up ah … pr can take up time of me in during the day.
Free translation:
Yes, ah … a few tasks come up. Ah, one of the main things I have to do is because
ah … the ANU has houses in ah … not only in Port Moresby but in other
provinces as well, which take quite a lot of my time to maintain. Ah, so one of my
main jobs is to make sure that … because the rent on them is quite high, I … I
have to make sure that those houses are well maintained … ah, that the problems
that arise in them are sorted out when the tenants come and complain that some
things are not … do not work properly in them. And so I … my job is to go out
then and inspect them, arrange for carpenters to come and fix the different things
in them and just general maintenance. One other main task too, which takes
quite a lot of my time each day, is chasing up tenants for rent of the houses … ah,
that is quite a task I have to do too because many tenants cause quite a deal of
trouble for me with … with paying up their rent in time and so a few times now I
have had to take some to court. And that takes a lot of my time too to … to … to
go and sit in court together with our own lawyers from the ANU to chase up the
rents on ah … on the houses of … of the ANU. It’s a major task I have. Ah, some
times if there are not many researchers in ah … in the Port Moresby area, but
only those from ANU, I am not usually very busy. I’m not usually very busy. Ah,
there is plenty of ah … book work that I have to do, but only when the groups of
our researchers from ANU come, then I am busy with … with their
114 Tok Pisin Texts

requirements. Ah, a … a job too that I … that takes ah … much of my time each
day during the week is to ah … publicising our books, the New Guinea Research
Bulletins, which I … I have … they ah … many institutions here in town come
and buy them and that’s one thing that takes much of my time, for me … for me
to sell those books. In fact it’s not only here in Port Moresby but in the provinces
as well [that I sell them] because I have ah … made ah … I advertised those
books in institutions, educational institutions in Papua New Guinea and many
orders, many come in. So that takes a lot of our time packing and wrapping them
up and then ah … going to send those books away to them [those who ordered
them] and that is one task that takes our time to ah … my time at … at work.
Ah, we also have vehicles which can also take my time … for me to sort out,
especially the vehicles we have in Lae. They are used to go to the Highlands or to
go to the Lae ah … Madang area, and that can also take … if some vehicles have
problems, that will take some of my time during the day for me to contact them
[those who look after the vehicles] in Lae and sort out the problems, and so that
ah … is somewhat time consuming when I sit by the phone or telex [machine] or
wait for information about where the vehicles are. That can take some time in a
day for me. I only sit and wait for information ah … contact to go out to them
and hold them to whatever has to be done to my … our vehicles. So they are
some of the tasks that can take up ah … can take up my time during the day.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Note how Hosea encorporates English borrowings into his Tok Pisin. Some
of these are so common that they could be said to be part of a developing
acrolect, e.g., so, bat, bikos, gatim, tekim taim, espesoli, eria, kontakt. Several
other phrases are idiosyncratic, as are words like duim (for mekim) and
vikols (for kar). Note also that Hosea often uses English plural forms even
though the nouns so pluralised are marked in the normal Tok Pisin way
with ol. As well, his pronunciation of many traditional Tok Pisin words is
anglicized, e.g., wok.
[2] Hosea pronounces ol in a way common to many Tok Pisin speakers who
come from the islands or coastal regions of the New Guinea mainland,
notably olo.
[3] The use of na here is obscure.
[4] This is a newly observed use of wantaim as transitivity marker. The expect-
ed form is kontakim.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 115

Text 41: Traditional story (TD)

This story is told by Alfred from the Aradip census division in the mountains
inland of Madang. He is in his late twenties and is a speaker of the Papuan
language Harway. He is uneducated.
Nem bilong mi Halavis. Olsem na nau mi laik wokim wanpela stori bilong
Name of me Alfred. Thus and now I about to make a story of

tumbuna. Em nau, wanpela man i … i go stap long longwe ples [1]. Orait
ancestor. That then, a certain man pr … pr go stay in distant place. Okay

wanpela meri i go na lukim dispela man. Em i kambek na i stap long

a certain woman pr go and see this man. She pr come back and pr stay at

ples bilongen. Na man ya laik givim kaikai long dispela meri na painim
village of her. And man foc want give food to this woman and look for

kaikai i go i go i go i go kukim … kisim sampela kaikai na

food pr cont pr cont pr cont pr cont cook … get some food and

karim i go givim i go bek slip wantaim em. Tumora moning i go … i

take pr go give pr go back sleep with her. Next morning pr go … pr

go long ples bilongen. Em makim de na i go. ‘Tripela … tripela mun pinis

go to place of his. He set day and pr go. ‘Three … three month finish

foa longen [2], bai mi kam.’ Em tok olsem na i go. Meri ya i wok
four after it, fut I come.’ He speak thus and pr go. Woman foc pr busy

long wet i go i go i go i go na dispela mun … tripela mun

at wait pr cont pr cont pr cont pr cont and this month … three month

i pinis foa longen i kamap man ya i no i kam nau em putim sampela

pr finish four after it pr arrive man foc pr not pr come then she put some

… brukim … katim diwai na brukim putim long lain na em wait. Man ya i

… break … cut tree and break put on line and it white. Man foc pr

stap long hap na lukim wait nau tok, ‘o sori, meri ya wetim mi na
stay at there and see white then say ‘oh dear woman foc await me and
116 Tok Pisin Texts

mekim.’ Em redi i kam. Redi i kam na i go kisim sa … painim

do it. He ready pr come. Ready pr come and pr go get some … look for

sampela kaikai bilongen. Go kisim nau wanpela pikinini bilong diwai ya na i

some food for her. Go get then a young of tree foc and pr

stap long antap. Man ya i go, i go daun long dispela diwai i kisim sampela
stay at on top. Man foc pr go, pr go down on this tree pr get some

pikinini bilong diwai ya. Nogat, hap diwai i bruk na man ya i gondaun
fruit of tree foc. But no, part tree pr break and man foc pr fall down

na i dai long tambolo. Tambolo i dai na i stap. Orait lain bilongen

and pr die at down below. Down below pr die and pr stay. Okay clan of him

kam(?) painim em na kisim em i go long putim long haus na i

come(?) look for him and get him pr go to put in house and pr

singautim em na meri bilongen em i go, wok long krai i go. I go i

call her and woman of him she pr go, busy at cry pr cont. pr cont pr

go i go i go lukim nau ol … dispela lain kirap na tok, ‘a, yu

cont pr cont pr cont see then pl … this clan get up and say, ‘ah, you

tasol mekim na dispela man i dai. Orait yu i kam na slip y … ananit long
only do it and this man pr die. Okay you pr come and sleep y … under

haus.’ Em [3] tok olsem na meri ya tok, ‘o mi no s … mi wok long

house.’ They say thus and woman foc say, ‘oh I not kn … I busy

wetim [4](?) em man bilong mi em i no kam. Mi no inap slip longen

wait for him husband of me he pr not come. I not able sleep with

insait long dispela, ananit bodi.’ Em tok olsem na ol … olgeta man em pait.
him inside this, under body.’ She say thus and pl … all man they fight.

Pait na meri ya kirap tok, ‘yupela mekim bai mi karim man bilong mi
Fight and woman foc get up say ‘you pl do it fut I take husband of me

bai mi karim go planim long sampela ples.’ Em tok olsem na ol man tok,
fut I take go bury in some place.’ She say thus and pl man say
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 117

‘maski, lusim na bai yumi planim long hia.’ Em tok olsem na ol man
‘nevermind, leave it and fut we bury at here.’ They say thus and pl man

em bung, wok long planim. Pinis, orait meri ya sutim em. Meri ya
they meet, busy at bury. Pinish, okay woman foc taunt them. Woman foc

i laik i go long haus bilongen tasol ol man i kam banisim rot na

pr about to pr go to house of her but pl man pr come block road and

meri ya i kam long rot. Ol man bungim em, kilim em na troimwe

woman foc pr come along road. pl man meet her, hit her and throw away

long wara, karim i go. Olsem na ol i stori na mi harim dispela stori nau
in river, take pr go. Thus and they pr tell and I hear this story now

nau wok … wokim pinis. Em tasol.

I do … do it comp. That only.
Free translation:
My name is Alfred. And so I’m going to tell [you] a traditional story.There was
this man who … who went to a distant place and stayed there. Then this woman
went and saw this man. She came back to her village and stayed there. And this
man wanted to give food to this woman and [went] looking for it. He kept
looking for it and then cooked it … got some food and took it and gave it to her
and then went back and slept with her. The next morning he went … he went to
his village. Before going he set a date [saying], ‘I’ll come back in four months
time’. He said that and went, and the woman waited and waited and when the
fourth month came up and the man had not come, she put some … broke … cut
down a tree and broke it and put it in the sun and it turned white. When the man
came and saw the white [tree] he said, ‘oh dear, this woman was waiting for me
and did that.’ He was preparing to come. He was preparing to come and went
and got some … looked for some food for her. He went to get some fruit that was
up high. He went, went down along this tree to get some of the fruit. But he was
unable to because part of the tree broke and the man fell down and died there.
He was dead down there. His clan came looking for him and took him and put
him in a house. Then they sent word to his wife, the woman. And she started
mourning for him. She kept mourning until she saw him then they … his clan
got up and said, ‘Ah, this man died because of what you did. So you come and
sleep … under the house.’ They said that and the wife said, ‘oh, I didn’t kno …
I’m busy waiting for my husband to come and he hasn’t come. I can’t sleep with
it [body] inside this, under the body.’ She said that and they … all the men
118 Tok Pisin Texts

started fighting. They fought and the woman got up and said, ‘If you do that I’ll
take my husband and go and bury him somewhere else.’ She said that and the
men said, ‘stop [the fighting] and let’s bury him here.’ They spoke thus and the
men came together and buried him. When they had buried him the woman
taunted them. Then, when she wanted to return to her house, the men came and
blocked the road and she came along the road. The men met her and hit her and
threw her into the river which carried her away. And that’s what they say and I
heard this story, and now I am … have told it. That’s the end.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Note the cryptic style of this story in which much background detail is
omitted and the logical and causal connection between events is often not
formally marked.
[2] Literally: ‘on the fourth one after three have elapsed’.
[3] Note the use of em for ol in the rest of this story.
[4] This is obscure. It sounds like a blend of wetim, na and em pronounced

Text 42: Interview

This is part of an interview with Angapachungwe, who comes from the

Menyamya area of the Morobe Province. In the interview Agnapachungwe is
talking about how his ancestor came back to life after being dead for eight days.
Agnapachungwe is about 42 years old and has had no formal education. He
learned his Tok Pisin in Menyamya, on coastal plantations in New Britain in the
late 1950s and early 1960s, and when he acted as interpreter on the government
station for one or two years. He is a Yagwoia speaker. This text was recorded in
1986 by Dr J. Mimica, Department of Anthropology, ANU, while he was
studying Yagwoia speakers. The text was transcribed with Dr Mimica’s help.
A: Mi laik stori long taim tumbuna bilong mi i dai long Ulamini [1], we
I intend tell about time ancestor of me pr die at Ulamini, which

em(?) ples Ulamini o … ol i save givim mi hamamas [2] nem

that(?) place Ulamini oh … they pr hab give me endearment name

Ulaminiogaye [3] long mi ya, dispela ples. Orait na mi laik stori long
Ulaminiogaye to me foc, this place. Okay and I want tell about
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 119

tumbuna bilong mi a … Nguyepacoqwa [4]. [Discussion in vernacular]

ancestor of me ah … Nguyepacoqwa.

Nem bilongen a … Nguyeqilqwaynguye [5]. Na taim em i sik na i

Name of him ah … Nguyeqilqwaynguye. And when he pr sick and pr

dai na em ol i krai. Krai i stap na em, fopela des, fopela des

die and they pr mourn. Mourn pr cont and it, four days, four days

na fopela nait.
and four night.

I: Ol i wokim aamakase [6].

They pr make mortuary song.

A: Nn, ol i wokim aamakase longen, na i go bungim inap etpela

Yes they pr make mortuary song for him, and pr go meet up to eight

de, na em olgeta skin bilong em i sting na i solap. Na i sting

day, and they all skin of him pr rotten and pr swell up. And pr rotten

bruk olgeta skin bilongen i solap na i bruk na wara bilong em i

broken all skin of his pr swell up and pr break and fluid of it pr

pundaun nabaut, sting [vernacular discussion] ye, ingaalye [7],

fall down around about, rotten [vernacular discussion] yes, fluid,

sting pinis. Na taim nambawan pikinini bilongen, nem bilongen

rotten comp. And when first child of him, name of it

Nguyipu [8], taim em i stap long Quainyaalyequlamini na em ol i

Nguyipu, when he pr stay at Quainyaalyequlamini and they pl pr

salim tok i gondaun long Quainyaalye olsem i tok, ‘o, Nguyipu, papa
send word pr go down to Quainyaalye thus pr say, ‘oh, Nguyipu, father

bilong yu Nguyepacoqwo em i dai pinis, longtaim. ‘Orait taim em

of you Nguyepacoqwo he pr die comp, a long time ago. ‘Okay when he

i kam antap, i kam antap long Ulamini na i kam daun na wanpela

pr come up, pr come up to Ulamini and pr come down and a
120 Tok Pisin Texts

ples ol i kolim Paqaqwa na taim em klostu long ples Pagawa’ em i

village they pr call Paqaqwa and when he near to village Pagawa’ he pr

kam kamap long Paqaqwa na em i krai i kam daun nau long

come arrive at Paqaqwa and he pr mourn pr come down then to

krai long papa bilong em. Na ol i harim. ‘Em husat?’ Na ol i

mourn for father of him. And they pr hear. ‘That who?’ And they pr

tok, ‘o, Nguyipuya pikinini bilong em.’ Orait na wanpela tumbuna bilong
say, ‘oh, Nguyipuya child of him.’ Okay and an ancestor of

mi, kayemu [9] bilong mama bilong mi, nem bilongen Nguyeuleqangapache
me, uncle of mother of me, name of him Nguyeuleqangapache

Wamataqangapache [10], orait tokim mama bilong mi, ‘Hwonya [11],’ a: …

Wamataqangapache, okay tell mother of me ‘Hwonya,’ ah …

sori, mi kranki! Taim em Nguyipu i krai i kam daun nau orait

sorry I mistake! When he Nguyipu pr mourn pr come down then okay

lapun tumbuna ya em i kirap na i singaut olsem tok, ‘Hwonya

old ancestor foc he pr arise and pr call out thus say ‘Girl

Nguyonaqa. Hwonya Nguyonaqa. Ol i mekim wanem bilong mi ya?’

Nguyonaqa. Girl Nguyonaqa. They pr do what for me foc?’

na em mama bilong mi no harim. Mama bilong mi em i taim i

and she mother of me not hear. Mother of me she pr when pr

yangpela, em i ya:::ngpela meri stret, susu sanap. Orait na em

young, she pr you:::ng woman really, breast stand up. Okay and he

tumbuna bilong mi kayemu bilong mama bilong mi ya, em i kirap na

ancestor of me uncle of mother of me foc, she pr get up and

tokim em, tok, ‘Hwonya Nguyonaqa. Hwonya!’ Na mama bilong mi no

tell it, say, ‘Girl Nguyonaqa. Girl!’ And mother of me not

harim tok na em i kirap na i tok, ‘e, yamaqune [12] yaecetenya!

hear word and she pr get up and pr say, ‘hey, forehead you come!
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 121

Yu kam! Em tok Pisin yu kolim olsem, tok, ‘Yu stonhet. Yu kam

You come! She Tok Pisin you say thus, say, ‘You idiot. You come.

Yu no harim tok.’ Orait, em tok olsem. Orait na tok bilong

You not hear what is said.’ Okay she say thus. Okay and language of

yu kolim olsem [vernacular discussion]. Ye, orait na mama bilong mi em

you say thus [vernacular discussion]. Yes, okay and mother of me she

i bekim singaut bilong kayemu bilong em. Na em i tok, ‘you go lukluk

pr return call of uncle of her. And she pr say, ‘you go look

long haus ya.’ Na mama bilong mi kirap na i tokim em, tok, ‘sori,
in house foc.’ And mother of me get up and pr tell her say, ‘sorry,

namne [13]! Em aamapiye i stap ya mi pret nogut kirap na holim mi.’

uncle! It corpse pr be foc I afraid very get up and hold me.’

Na em i tokim mama olsem tok, kayemu bilong mi i tok, ‘I no inap

And he pr tell mother thus say, uncle of me pr say, ‘it’s not able

holim yu. Em i singaut ya. Yu go lukim em.’ Na mama bilong mi i

hold you. It pr call foc. You go see it.’ and mother of me pr

tok, ‘em ilymane singaut, mi no inap i go(?).’Tasol kayemu bilong em i

say, ‘it ghost call out, I not able pr go(?).’But uncle of her pr

kirap i go lukim. Ol pasim dua long em pinis na pasim

get up pr go see. They shut door on him comp and tie

lekhan bilongen i stap na fopela lain i go painim wanpela ston

legs and hands of it pr cont and four clan pr go look for a stone

long Panauwye, ol i painim hyekiye ilymana bilong putim em.

at Panauwye, they pr look for stone hole for put it.

Orait na sampela lain ol i mumuim kaikai na kaikai pastaim, strong

Okay and some clan they pr cook food and eat first, strong

na ol i laik go.
and they pr want go.
122 Tok Pisin Texts

I: Strongim bel na ol i laik …

Strengthen stromach and they pr want …

A: Ye, strongim bel na ol i laik karim dispela aamapiye i go long

Yes, strengthen stomach and they pr want carry this corpse pr go to

hul bilong ston. Na kaiemu bilong mama bilong mi go, sanap long
hole of stone. And uncle of mother of me go, stand up in

dua na lukluk, tok, ‘E aamapiye kirap,’ na em i kir … kirap na em

door and watch, say, ‘Hey corpse get up,’ and it pr get … get up and it

i hamamasim nem bilong em, tok, ‘Mbela [14] hiwoye [15]. Ol i

pr honour name of her say, ‘brother-in-law endearment. They pr

mekim wanem samting long mi na mi singaut long pikinini Nguyonaqa nau

do what thing to me and I call out to child Nguyonaqa and

i no harim tok?’ Na em kamba bilong em i

pr not hear what said. And he (corpse’s) brother-in-law of her pr

kirap na singautim olgeta meriman [16], tok, ‘e, yupela olgeta lain, yupela
get up and call out all people, say, ‘hey, you pl all clan you pl

i kam na dispela man i dai ya em i kirap nau. Olsem wanem?’

pr come and this man pr die foc he pr get up now. Like what?’

Orait olgeta meriman em ol i kirap na bekim tok, tok, ‘a,

Okay all people they pr get up and reply say ‘ah,

Wamaiaqangapace yu giaman ya. I no gat wanpela man i dai

Wamaiaqangapace you tell untruth foc. pr not have one person pr die

em etpela des i sting pinis na em i kirap.’ Orait, ‘plis mi no tok

it eight days pr rotten comp and it pr get up.’ Okay ‘please I not say

giaman. Yupela olgeta meriman i kam sait i kam na yupela lukluk. Mi

untruth. You pl all people pr come side pr come and you pl look. I

opim dua nau.’ Orait em i opim dua i go insait kamba bilong

open door now.’ Okay he pr open door pr go inside brother-in-law of
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 123

em i kisim yoce, anga yoce, i no … i no gat ne …

him pr get knife, real knife, pr not … pr not have name …
Free translation:
A: I’m going to tell about when my ancestor died at Ulamini, that place Ulamini
where they … they gave me the endearment name Ulaminiogaye [ which is
derived from that name] … [it’s] that place. And so I’m going to tell about my
ancestor ah … Nguyepacoqwa [discussion in vernacular]. His name was
Nguyeilqwaynguye. And when he got sick and died he was mourned. The
mourning went on for four days, four days and four nights.
I: They sang mortuary songs …
A: Yes, they sang mortuary songs for him, and it went on for eight days, and all of
his skin was swollen up and rotten. And it was putrid, all of his skin was swollen
up and disintegrating, and his body fluids were dripping down everywhere,
putrid [vernacular discussion]. Yes, the body fluids were putrid. And when his
first child, who was Nguyipu, was in Quainyaalyeulamini, and they sent word
down to Quainyaalye, and said, ‘oh, Nguyipu, your father Nguyepacoqwo died, a
long time ago.’ So when she came up, came up to Ulamini and then down to a
place called Paqaqwa, when she was close to Paqaqwa and came up to it she was
mourning … she came down to mourn for her father. And they heard her and
said, ‘who’s that?’ And they said, ‘oh, Nguyipuya, the daughter.’ Then one of my
relatives, my mother’s uncle, Nguyeuleangapace Wamataqangapace, said to my
mother, ‘girl,’ ah … I’m sorry, I’m wrong. When Nguyipu was mourning and
coming down this old relative got up and called out, ‘girl Nguyonaqa. Girl
Nguyonaqa. What are they doing for me?’ But my mother didn’t hear what was
said. It was when my mother was a young, a really young girl with nubile breasts.
And so this ancestor of mine, that is, my mother’s uncle, got up and said to her,
‘girl Nguyonaqa. Girl!’ And my mother didn’t hear it and got up and said [in the
vernacular], ‘hey, bonehead, you come. You come!’ In Tok Pisin they say, ‘you
idiot you come!’ And in your language you say, ‘bonehead you come.’
[Vernacular discussion.] Yes. And so my mother replied to her uncle. She said,
‘you go and look in that house.’ And my mother got up and said, ‘sorry, uncle!
That corpse, that corpse is there and I’m really afraid that it will get up and grab
me.’ And he said to my mother, my uncle did, ‘it can’t grab you. It’s calling out.
You go and see.’ And my mother said, ‘that ghost/spirit of the deceased is calling
out, I’m not going.’ But her uncle got up and went and looked. They had shut the
door on it [the deceased] and tied his hands and feet, and four clans went to look
for a rock at Panauwye crevice or cave in the rock in which to put it [the corpse].
And some clans were cooking food in ground ovens and eating in order to fortify
themselves before going [to bury the deceased].
I: They fortified themselves and then intended …
124 Tok Pisin Texts

A: Yes, fortified themselves and then intended to carry the corpse to the rock
crevice/cave. And my mother’s uncle went and stood at the door and was
watching and said, ‘hey, corpse get up.’ And it got … got up and honoured his
name, saying, ‘brother-in-law, Hiwoye, they are doing something for me, I don’t
know what, and I called out to my daughter Nguyonaqa but she didn’t hear what
I said.’ And the corpse’s brother-in-law got up and called out to everyone, ‘hey,
all of you, come. This man who died is getting up. How come?’ And so everyone
got up and replied, ‘Ah, Wamataqangapace you’re a liar. There’s nobody who’s
dead for eight days and is putrid who can get up.’ And so [he replied], ‘please,
I’m not telling lies. You all come and stand around and look. I’m opening the
door.’ And so he opened the door and went inside and his brother-in-law got a
knife, a real knife, it doesn’t … it hasn’t got a name …
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Throughout this text Yagwoia proper names and other expressions are
spelled in Yagwoia orthography.
[2] Angapachungwa actually says hamagas.
[3] The length of proper names is an interesting feature of this text. In this
case (and in many others) the name is derived from a combination of
a place name (e.g. Ulamini) and a plant species as endearment term
(e.g., wogaye ‘red cordiline’).
[4] This was actually the narrator’s mother’s father.
[5] This is more specific name for the narrator’s mother’s father.
[6] Aamakase are mortuary songs. The word is also used to refer to the
actual performance of mourning through the singing of dirges and the
healing rites in which songs are sung, although these latter are not
[7] Inggalye are fluids which emanate from a corpse.
[8] This is the deceased man’s daughter introduced as his first-born child.
She is the narrator’s mother’s sister reintroduced later in the expression
‘Hwonya Nguyonaqa.’
[9] Kayemu is strictly speaking the narrator’s mother’s brother, that is,
mother’s maternal uncle.
[10] Narrator’s mother’s brother’s name.
[11] Wanja is a species of plant used here as an endearment name for his
[12] This is the way the Yagwoia say ‘hard head, idiot’.
[13] Namne is ‘(my) mother’s brother’.
[14] Mbela or mbele refers to one’s wife’s brother or sister’s husband.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 125

[15] This is a pandanus taxon used as an endearment name.

[16] Note that the elements in this item are reversed compared to those of
standard Tok Pisin, viz.: manmeri.

Text 43: A Masalai story (SR)

The speaker is a boy from the Kabwum District, who speaks Tok Pisin as a
second language. This is a traditional story about spirits called masalai.
Wanpla taim ol planti manmeri ol i stap na wanpla masalai man planti
One time pl plenty people they pr stop and one spirit man plenty

taim em sa kaikai ol man na ol pored long em na ol lusim ples na

time he hab eat pl man and they afraid of him and they leave village and

ol go apsaid lo disla maunten.

they go otherside of this mountain.

Na wanpla tumbuna meri em i stap insait lo haus na em i stap na

Now one ancestor woman she pr stop inside of house and she pr stop and

em go daun lo gaden blongen na em lukim disla kokomba na em kisim i

she go down to garden of her and she see this cucumber and she get pr

kam, em sapim em na em sapim blongen na em tok, ‘nogut masalai kam

come, she slice it and she slice of her and she say, ‘no-good spirit come

kaikaim [1] mi,’ na em kisim lip putim na blut blem i go lo lip. Na em

eat me,’ and she get leaf put and blood of her pr go in leaf. Now she

i stap em lukim nau tupla man tupla kamap i stap na em kisim bosim
pr stop she see now two man two come up pr cont and she get boss

tupla, tupla kamap bikpla na tupla wokim spel blo tupla na tupla tokim
two, two come up big and two work spell of two and two say

mama, ‘mitupla go mipla kisim kilim disla devel ia mitupla bai kam.’
mother, ‘we two exc go we exc get kill this devil foc we two exc fut come.’
126 Tok Pisin Texts

Tupla tokim na tupla go putim spia long wantaim na tupla go lo aus blo
Two say and two go put spear in together and two go to house of

disla devel na tupla kisim bun blongen tupla kukim lo paia nau disla devel ia
this devil and two get bone of him two cook in fire and this devil foc

em kam. Tupla sutim em na tupla sutim sutim sutim kam long tumbuna
he come. Two shoot him and two shoot shoot shoot come to ancestor

blol. Tumbuna blo tupla em kamap pisin na em plei antap i stap na

of them. Ancestor of two he come up bird and he fly on top pr cont and

tupla em lai kaikaim disla pisin ia nogat tupla sutim long lewa blongen disla
two they want eat this bird foc neg two shoot in gut of this

devel ia em pundaun. Tupla kisim bunara blo tupla na tupla go lo

devil foc he fall down. Two get bow and arrow of two and two go to

ples blo tupla na tupla tokim ol kukim kaikai blo tupla na ol kaikai.
village of two and two tell them to cook food of two and they eat.
Once upon a time there were many people and a spirit man, who often ate
people. They were afraid of him so they left this place where they stayed and went
to the other side of the mountain. Now an old woman was inside a house and she
went down to her garden and saw a cucumber. She got it, and while she was
cutting it, she cut herself. She said, ‘it will be no good if the spirit comes and eats
me.’ So she got a leaf, put it on herself and her blood went onto the leaf. Then she
saw two men coming up. She took them in and looked after them till they grew
up. They worked a spell on themselves and they said, ‘we’ll go get this devil and
kill him, then we’ll come back.’ They said this and got their spears and went to
the devil’s house. They got his bones and cooked them in the fire and then the
devil came. They shot him, then they went to their ancestor’s. Their ancestor
turned himself into a bird and was flying around. The two of them wanted to eat
this bird. They shot it through the heart and it fell to the ground. They got their
bows and arrows and went back to their village and told the people to cook their
food, and they ate.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The verb kaikai has both a transitive and an intransitive form. The transi-
tive form is not very frequently used.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 127

Text 44: A hunting story (SR)

The speaker is a 10 year old boy from the Kabwum District. This is a story about
hunting. The lexis here is traditionally rural.
Wanpla taim wanpla papa blongen na liklik brata pikinini blongen tupla i go
One time one father of him and little brother child of him two pr go

lo bus na painim kapul i stap. Na wanpla draipla pig em kam na

to bush and hunt tree kangaroo pr cont. And one big pig he come and

em lukim tupla na tupla ran i go lo gaden. Na tupla i stap na displa pig

he see two and two run pr go to garden. And two pr stop and this pig

ia em i kam na em i kam painim tupla na i go i kam em lukim

foc he pr come and he pr come look for two and pr go pr come he see

tupla lo gaden na em kaikai pikinini blongen na papa blongen tasol em i go

two in garden and he eat child of him and father of him just he pr go

na papa blongen tasol em i go na papa blongen tasol em i go na em tokim

and father of him only he pr go and father of him only he pr go and he tell

ol man na ol kisim naip na tamiok i kam na ol ranim pig. Na ol

pl man and they get knife and hatchet pr come and they chase pig. And they

kisim bonara [1] na kisim i kam na putim. Ol kilim kilim kilim em

get bow and arrow and get pr come and put. They strike strike strike it

na ol kukim long sitpaia [2]. Em finis.

and they cook in ashes. It finish.
Once upon a time a father and his young son went to the bush to look for game.
A huge pig came and saw them. They ran to the garden. Now the pig came
looking for them and he saw them in the garden. He ate the child. His father
went and told the men of the village and they got their knives and axes and
chased the pig. They got their bows and arrows and they killed the pig and
cooked it in the ashes of the fire. That’s the end.
128 Tok Pisin Texts

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] This is a condensed form from English ‘bow’ + ‘arrow’ which goes through
faulty segmentation.
[2] This is a compound from English ‘shit’ + ‘fire’.

Text 45: A traditional story (SR)

The speaker is a boy from the Kabwum District who has never been outside the
Apart from the use of the words bebi (cf. pikinini) and plying pox (cf. blakbokis)
the lexis is traditionally rural.
Bifo tru wanpla meri na sikspla brata ol i stap na wanpla meri
Before true one woman and six brothers they pr stop and one woman

karim bel na ol tok, ‘yu no inap bai i stap wantaim mipla yu bai
carry stomach and they say, ‘you neg able fut pr stop with us exc you fut

i go lo bus.’ Na em i go lukim wanpla bikpla diwai em sindaun ananit

pr go to bush.’ And she pr go see one big tree she sit down underneath

na em karim pikinini na em lusim em na em i kam lo ples. Na wanpla

and she carry child and she leave him and she pr come to village. And one

kapul ia em kam na em lai kaikai kiau blo diwai. Em kam daun

tree kangaroo foc he come and he want eat egg of tree. He come down

na lukim bebi ia singaut i stap na em lukim i go na em kapul

and see baby foc cry pr cont and he see pr go and he tree kangaroo

save kaikai ia em kari i kam na givim em na em i go lo bus na plying

hab eat foc he carry pr come and give it and he pr go to bush and flying

pox ia em kam na em harim singaut blongem ia na em i go na lukim

fox foc he come and he hear cry of it foc and he pr go and see

ia, em lukim disla bebi em krai i stap. Na em kam antap kisim kaikai blo
foc, he see this baby he cry pr cont. And he come on top get food of
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 129

plying pox i go daun na givim em. Tupla givim em i go i go kamap

flying fox pr go down and give him. Two give he pr go pr go come up

bikpla mangi na tupla kisim sped na i go na wokim gaden blong disla

big boy and two get spade and pr go and work garden of this

mangi i go na tupla wokim gaden pinis na em karim kaikai blongen na

boy pr go and two work garden comp and he carry food of him and

tupla kisim kam givim em disla mangi i go bikpla tru.

two get come give it this boy pr go big true.

Na wanpla ples ol tok, ‘yupla bai kam singsing,’ na ol wokim …

Now one village they say, ‘you pl fut come celebrate,’ and they work …

blong ol na ol i go lo disla ples na ol singsing i stap na mama

of them and they pr go to this village and they celebrate pr cont and mother

blong disla mangi ia em karim na lusim i kam ia em lukim disla mangi

of this boy foc she carry and leave pr come foc she see this boy

ia na em tok, ‘em bebi blomi.’ Em traim long olim em nau, bebi ia mangi
foc and she say, ‘he baby of me.’ She try to hold him now baby foc boy

ia em tok, ‘papa em laik holim mi,’ na em tok olsem i kam ol kisim em

foc he say, ‘papa she want hold me,’ and he say thus pr come they get him

i go lo haus blongen na ol putim em i stap lo haus blongen na ol

pr go to house of him and they put him pr stop in house of him and they

kukim kaikai na ol givim em i go. Disla plying pox ia ol kilim em na

cook food and they give him pr go. This flying fox foc they kill it and

ol kukim em na kaikai na mangi ia em sori nogut long disla na em

they cook it and eat and boy foc he sorry no good about this and he

krai i stap na em kisim naif na em sutim nek blongen na em indai na

cry pr cont and he get knife and he shoot neck of him and he die and

ol planim ol.
they bury him.
130 Tok Pisin Texts

In the very old days, a long time ago, there was a woman and six brothers. The
woman was carrying a child and they said, ‘you can’t stay with us, you’ll have to
go to the bush.’ She saw a big tree, sat down underneath it and had her child. She
left it there and came back to the village. Then a tree kangaroo came and wanted
to eat some nuts off the tree. He came down and saw the baby crying. The tree
kangaroo got some food and gave it to the baby, and then he went into the bush.
A flying fox came and heard the baby’s cries. He went and saw it crying. So he got
some food and gave it to the baby. Both of them fed him till he grew up into a big
boy. The two of them took spades and worked in the boy’s garden. When they’d
finished the garden they took food from it and came and gave it to the boy, and
the boy grew up into a big boy. Now in the village they said, ‘you come and have
a feast,’ so they prepared it and they came to this village and had a feast. The
boy’s mother, who had given birth to him and left him, saw the boy and she said,
‘he’s my baby’. She tried to grab him. The boy said, ‘father, she wants to grab me.’
So they took him home, cooked some food and gave it to him. They killed the
flying fox and cooked it and ate it. The boy was very sorry about this, so he took a
knife and stuck it through his neck and died. They buried him.

Text 46: Interview (TD)

In this interview John Arisi Parinjo talks about the effect of Tok Pisin on his
mother tongue, Boiken, a Papuan language spoken near Wewak in the East
Sepik Province. John is 52 years old and is a former school teacher and govern-
ment interpreter, who was partly educated in Australia. He speaks in a very
crisp, precise school-masterish style.
Tru tumas brata bilong mi olsem [1]. Gutpela askim bilong yu na mi
True very friend of me thus. Good question of you and I

tru [2] mi, mi gat bikpela sori nau long lukim tokples bilong mi
true I, I have tremendous sadness now to see local language of me

tok Boiken we [3] i wok long go daun isi isi isi. Na mi tru nau
language Boiken which pr busy at go down slow slow slow. And I true now

mi tok, ‘skul i — i gutpela samting. Tasol bilong wanem na ol pikinini

I say, ‘school pr — pr good thing. But for what and pl child
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 131

bilong yumi [4], ol nau liklik tru, na ol dispela pikinini bilong yumi em i
of us, they now small really, and pl this child of us they pr

bikpela na nau marit ol i gat pikinini, long ples, na long ausait long
big and now married they pr have child, in village, and in outside of

ples bilong wok long stesin, ol i tok pisin [5] tasol long pikinini bilong
village to work at station, they pr speak pidgin only to child of

ol, na ol i no tok ples long a … a … a … long pikinini bilong

them, and they pr not speak village to ah … ah … ah … to child of

ol. Olsem na tok ples bilong mi long Boiken em wok long ranawe. Bilong
them. Thus and speak village of me in Boiken it busy disappear. For

wanem? Mi tru mi i gat tenpela pikinini. Long tenpela pikinini bilong mi

what? I true I pr have ten children. Amongst ten child of me

nau namba wan i skultisa, namba tu i skultisa, namba tri i

now first one pr school teacher, second one pr school teacher, third one pr

go wok long habas bod, na ol tu i marit nau ol tu i toktok

go work in Harbours Board, and they too pr married now they too pr converse

long pisin na Inglis. Na lukluk bilong mi stret nau mi tok ples long
in pidgin and English. And view of me own now I speak village to

wanpela pikinini belong me em bai i bekim me long pisin o Inglis.

one child of me it fut pr reply me in pidgin or English. (It’s a)

Bikpela sem na i sori bilong mi lukluk olsem tokples long

big shame and pr sadness of me view thus local language for

wanem(?) [6] i tok Boiken i bin bikpela tokples bipo nau i

what? pr language Boiken pr past large local language before now pr

go … i no gat, pisin i karamapim. Na mi tingting olsem mi lukluk go

go … pr not have, pidgin pr replace. And I think like I see go

nara twenti yias terti yias … terti yias baimbai Inglis i karamapim
another twenty years thirty years … thirty years later English pr replace
132 Tok Pisin Texts

pisin gen. Bikos olgeta pikinini long olgeta ples ol i go long skul
pidgin again. Because all child in all place they pr go to school

wanem samting ol lainim long skul ol tok pisin tasol insait ol i

what thing they learn in school they speak pidgin only inside they pr

strong long lainim Inglis. Long dispela as tingting na mi tru mi tok

persistent in learning English. About this reason and I true I say

olsem pisin baimbai i karamapim tasol long bihain Inglis bai i karamapim
thus pidgin later pr replace but at later English fut pr replace

na dispela kantri baimbai a … a … trupela tok bilong mamapapa

and this country later ah … ah … true language of parents

bilongen long ples bilong … em tru baimbai i pinis. Mi lukim pinis long
of it in village of … it true later pr finish. I see comp in

sampela hap long wol long wanem mi yet mi travol planti hap long wol na
some part in world for what I self I travel many part in world and

mi lukim.
I see.
Free translation:
It’s very true what you say my friend. That’s a good question of yours and I
myself I, I am deeply saddened now to see my native language, Boiken, going
downhill slowly, slowly, slowly. And now I myself say that school is … is
something good, but why are our children, those really small ones and those who
are grown up and now married with children in the village and those working
outside the village on stations, speaking only Tok Pisin to their children and not
local languages to ah … ah … ah … to their children? And so my native
language, Boiken, is fast disappearing because I myself have ten children. Of
those ten, the first one is a schoolteacher, the second is a school teacher, and the
third works at the Harbours Board. And they are married too now and they
converse in Tok Pisin and English. And in my own view, [if] I speak our local
language to one of my children, they will reply in Tok Pisin or in English. It’s
quite a shame, and it saddens me to see that local languages … because Boiken
was once an important local language but now is going … is no longer: Tok Pisin
is replacing it. And I think that I can see that in another twenty or thirty years …
thirty years, English will replace Tok Pisin again. [Why?] Because all the children
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 133

everywhere are going to school. Whatever they learn in school they speak only
Tok Pisin [while] within [the school] they are persistent in teaching English. For
this reason I myself say that Tok Pisin will replace them [the local languages], but
that later English will replace it and later on this country ah … ah … the real
language of the parents in the village … it will really be gone later. I have seen this
in some parts of the world because I myself have travelled to many parts of the
world and I have seen it.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Olsem here refers to a suggestion made in the interviewer’s question to
which this text is a reply.
[2] This is an unusual use of tru, the more common qualifiers are yet, wanpela,
tasol. It seems to be a feature of John’s speech although he does use yet right
at the end of the text.
[3] This is conflated to something like [eiyu].
[4] Yumi here is unexpected unless the speaker knows that the interviewer’s
children are in the same category as those of his own. The expected form is
[5] Note here and in later expressions such as tok ples John is using tok as both
a noun and a verb simultaneously for ‘the language’ and ‘to speak’. Note
also that John pronounces pisin as [pijin].
[6] What is said here is obscure but one can see the train of thought.

Text 47: The development of Tok Pisin on Manus Island (PM)

The following text was told by a middle-aged fluent second language speaker of
Tok Pisin, Mr Joseph K. of Lorengau, Manus, in 1973. It is a fairly accurate
account of the history of Tok Pisin at Manus and illustrates the metalinguistic
sophistication of the narrator.
Nem bilong me bihain. Mi laik toktok long pasin bilong Tok Pidgin. Tok
Name of me later. I want tell story about manner of Tok Pisin. Tok

Pidgin [1] em i luk olosem tete nau taim belong ol nupela man nau
Pisin it pr looks like today now time of pl new generation now

i luk olosem i tripela toktok nau. Nambawan toktok long taim German i
pr look like pr three talks now. First talk in time Germans pr
134 Tok Pisin Texts

kam i bin yusim ol i bin yusim taim ples i bin tudak [2] yet, i
come pr past use, they pr past use time place pr past uncivilized emph, pr

no gat man bilong mi ol i save pren gut long ol waitman. Orait,

not exist man of me they pr hab friends good with pl whiteman. Alright,

ol i bin lusim dispela toktok bilong bipo tasol i no gutpela toktok

they pr past abandon this language of before only pr not good language

tumas. Sampela ol i bin yusim tasol mipela tete mipela laik traim lainim i
very. Some pl pr past use but we exc today we exc like try learn pr

hat tumas i olsem planti i no krai gut, orait, i kam long mipela
hard very pr like plenty pr not sound good, alright, pr come to us exc

tete, mipela i kam bihain long ol, em i klia liklik tasol. Pisin i
today, we exc pr come after prep them, it pr clear little bit only. Pidgin pr

no olosem i no wanpela tok I tru. Olgeta hap toktok i kamaut

not like pr not one language pr real. All bit language pr appear

insait long wanpela wanpela wanpela ples insait long ailan long Niugini.
inside of one one one place inside of island of New Guinea.

Planti sampela hap i kam long Rabaul [3], sampela hap long Niugini,
Plenty some part pr came from Rabaul, some parts from New Guinea,

sampela hap long Papua, sampela hap long Manus, olsem ol liklik hap
some part from Papua, some parts from Manus, this pl little part

tok tok ol i bin save joinim [4] i go wantaim ol i mekin i kamap

language they pl past hab join pr go with them pr make pr appear

wanpela toktok, olsem ol i kisim liklik liklik liklik ol i joinim dispela i

one language, like they pr catch little little little they pr join this pr

go wantaim nau i wanpela tok nau. Olsem tru i no wanpela toktok

go together now pr one language now. Like true pr not one language

i tru, orait, long tete mipela i toktok bipo long ol bikman i klia
pr true, alright, at today we exc pr talk before to pl bigman pr clear
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 135

liklik long ol long bipo long taim long Germany, i klia moa long ol.
little bit to pl of before in time of Germany, pr clear more to them.

Orait nau inap long mipela ol dispela toktok i pinis nau i gat tete
Alright now until to us exc pl this language pr finished now pr exist today

em i narapela nupela toktok gen nau ol i yusim tete bikos planti

emph pr other new language again now they pr use today because plenty

manki ol i bin go long ol bikpela skul na ol i gat gutpela save

boy they pr past go to pl big school and they pr got good knowledge

nau ol i ken toktok long Pidgin na ol i ken putim liklik hap Inglis moa
now they pr can talk in Pidgin and they pr can put little bit English more

i go long sampela hap hatpela [5] toktok i no orait long Pisin. Orait,
pr go in some bit hard language pr not alright in Pidgin. Alright,

ol i save bringim ol sampela hap long Inglis i go ol i sotim i

they pr hab bring pl some bit from English pr cont they pr shorten pr

go nau, ol i bringim dispela toktok i kam longpela. Tasol long taim

cont now, they pr bring this language pr come long. But in time

bilong ol bikman nogat, i narakain olgeta, mipela no inap long harem.

of pl big man not, pr different entirely, we exc not able to understand.

Mipela traim harim bipo long taim ol bikman ol i toktok long em

We try understand before at time pl big man they pr talk in it

mipela i no inap i no krai gut. Nem bilong sampela samting i no

we exc pr not able pr not sound good. Name of some object pr not

klia, i no klia, i no gut, tasol i kan long mipela i klia liklik nau, i
clear, pr not clear, pr no good, but pr can to us exc pr clear little bit now, pr

gutpela orait nau tete dispela toktok olsem i laik go, i laik go i pinis
good all right now today this language thus pr fut go, pr fut go pr finish

nau. Olsem nupela save i kamap nau. Nupela man gen i kamap na i luk
now. Thus new hab pr appear now. New man again pr appear and pr look
136 Tok Pisin Texts

olsem nupela toktok gen i laik kamap nau. Olsem ol i planti Pidgin i
like new language again pr fut appear now. Thus they pr plenty Pidgin pr

go ol i bringim moa planti liklik hap Inglis long sampela hap gutpela toktok
go they pr bring more plenty little bit English in some area good talk

i nogat long Pisin ol i kisim sampela long Inglis ol i putim i

pr not exist in Tok Pisin, they pr catch some from English they pr put pr

go insait na ol i skruim dispela toktok i go longpela olgeta. Tasol bipo

go inside and they pr increase this language pr go long really. But before

nogat. Orait, em dispela toktok sampela mi laik toktok long yu long em.
not. All right, emph this talk I want talk to you about it.

Tasol, tru mi not nap long tokim yu long toktok bipo bikos mi
But, truly I not able to tell you about some talk of before because I

manki yet na mi bai harim na mi start long lainim Pidgin tu, tasol mi
buy emph and I fut hear and I start to learn Pidgin too, but I

harim dispela ol papa ol i toktok long en na olsem, mi no kisim mi harim

hear this pl father they pr talk in it and like, I not catch, I hear

dispela olsem i no gut, em mi long wok long lap tasol long ol i

this like pr not good, emph I prep busy to laugh only at them pr

harim i no stret na mi wok long lap long ol i go tasol mi tok

hear pr not correct and I busy to laugh at them pr go only I say

nogat [6]. Taim German na Siapan tupela i kamap hia, orait, ol i

no. When Germany and Japan two pr appear here, all right, they pr

stat, i gat sampela Buka na sampela ol dispela man ol i kisim ol i

start, pr exist some Buka and some pl this man they pr catch them pr

leba [7] bilong ol, ol i wok long ol bipo. Orait, ol i save stat
labour for them, they pr work for them before. All right, they pr hab start

bikos ol i no ken save long tok bilong em yet, ol i statim ol

because they pr not can know about talk of them emph, they pr start pl
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 137

dispela kain Tok Pisin. Orait, i go, i go, i go, i go, i go, i go Pidgin
this kind Tok Pisin. All right, pr go, pr go, pr go, pr go, pr go, pr go, Pidgin

tu mi no save, ating ol misinari [8] tu ol kisim mi no save i kam

too I not know, perhaps pl missionary too they catch I not know pr come

we, i kam Malay o i kam Indonesia o i kam ol sampela hap bilong

where, pr come Malaya or pr come Indonesia or pr come pl some part of

ol dispela eilan. Orait, ol i kam hia na ol i skulim nabaut man.

pl this island. All right, they pr come here and they pr instruct around man.

Orait, ol i skulim nau i kamap olsen i kamap olsem wanpela toktok

All right, they pr instruct now pr come up like pr come up like one talk

tru nau. Tasol i no tru i haphap nabaut long olgeta hap ailan ol i
true now. But pr not true pr bit bit around in all part island, they pr

bringim ol dispela hap toktok i go wantaim tasol. Em ol dispela as bilong

bring pl this bit talk pr go together only. emph pl this reason for

dispela Pidgin i go olosem. Tasol tete long ol nupela man i luk olsem i
this Pidgin pr go thus. But today among pl new man pr look like pr

senisim olgeta ol i bringim planti nupela samting long Inglis ol i

change altogether they pr bring plenty new something from English they pr

bringim long insait ol sampela hap toktok long … ol i no ken kisim long
bring from inside pl some bit talk from … they pr not can catch in

Pisin i hat, ol I painim, nogat, ol i kisim dispela hap tok long

Pisin pr hard, they pr look for, no, they pr catch this bit talk for an

Inglish ol i putim i go insait. Orait mekim i go longpela, toktok i go

English they pr put pr go inside. All right, do pr go long, talk pr go

olsem nupela toktok nau. Tete ol i ken kolim olsem nupela toktok na nau ol
like new talk now. Today they pr can call like new talk and now pl

dispela olpela toktok bilong bipo em i pinis nau i bihainim ol yet

this old talk of before it pr finished now pr follow them emph
138 Tok Pisin Texts

ol i pinis. Orait, mipela mipela letim mipela statim i go tasol mipela

they pr finished. All right, we exc we exc let us exc start pr go only new

no ken bringim moa i go nau, nogat, inap. Nupela man em nupela toktok
not can bring more pr go now, no, enough. New man he new talk

nau na baimbai mipela gen mipela mas bihainim ol tasol i go.

now and eventually we exc again we exc must follow them only pr go.

Em dispela toktok. Orait, em pinis nau, mi nogat moa longpela toktok

Enough this talk. All right, it finished now, I no got more long talk

long en.
about it.
I shall give you my name later. I would like to tell you about the ways of Tok
Pisin. From the perspective of today’s generation of speakers it looks as if there
have been three languages. The first was the one used when the Germans arrived,
when the country was still uncivilized and no one was friendly with the White
people. Well, they have abandoned this old way of talking now — it was a pretty
impoverished variety. Some people spoke it but we today would find it hard to
learn: a lot of expressions do not sound right. Well, my generation was the next
one and our variety is quite a bit clearer, but Tok Pisin is still not a real language.
All sorts of expressions from all parts of New Guinea were incorporated. Lots
came from Rabaul, some from mainland New Guinea, some from Papua, and
some bits from Manus. All kinds of expressions were mixed to make up the
language. It is true that it is still not a real language, but my generation used a
much more intelligible variety than that spoken in German times. All right, the
variety spoken by my generation has lasted to the present, but now it looks as if it
is finished. There is a new generation now and a new kind of language. They keep
adding little bits of English to their Tok Pisin, good expression for which there
had been no word in Tok Pisin. They take words from English and they increase
the expressive power of the language. In earlier days this did not happen. Well, I
wanted to tell you about this early variety but I really can’t because I was only a
little boy when I was exposed to it and began to learn it. But I only listened to the
older generation and I thought it was pretty bad; I used to laugh when I heard
them but I did not speak the language. When the Germans and the Japanese
arrived here they employed labourers from Buka. When they started they did not
understand one another’s language, so they developed this second variety of Tok
Pisin. I am not quite sure how it started but I believe the missionaries brought it
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 139

from Malaysia, Indonesia or some other islands. Well, they arrived here and
instructed the people and it became a real language — but not quite real yet
because speakers from different islands used different expressions. This is the
life[?] of Tok Pisin. Today, it looks as if the new generation is changing it around
again by borrowing lots of English expressions. They want to express something
and they find it hard to do so in Tok Pisin; they look for an expression but with
no success, and then they borrow one from English. They increase the size of the
lexicon. We can speak of a new language today. The older varieties and those who
spoke them are on the way out, we have nothing to contribute to the growth of
Tok Pisin. We have to adopt the language of the new generation. My story is
finished now, I have nothing to add.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Note that Joseph K. variably refers to Tok Pisin as Pidgin, Tok Pidgin, Tok
Pisin, and Pisin. The name ‘Tok Pisin’ is not widely known to older speakers
and was made official only in 1985.
[2] Tudak ‘dark’ is used to refer to the times before missionization and Wes-
[3] There was a considerable influx of Tolai expressions between 1900 and
1930, with Tolai words such as buai ‘betelnut’ replacing earlier English
derivations such as bilinat. During the 1920s and 1930s a large number of
words from other local languages were also borrowed (see Mühlhäusler
1979: 239–241).
[4] Note the use of transitive verb joinim as passive or reflexive, a construction
widespread in Manus Tok Pisin.
[5] Hatpela ‘hard’ is pronounced happela, a somewhat unusual pronounci-
[6] For a long time an active knowledge of Tok Pisin was found among grown
men only. Since the Second World War the learning age of Tok Pisin has
declined dramatically.
[7] The setting up of plantations on Manus was the main catalyst for the
development of a stable Tok Pisin on this island. The main source of labour
was Bougainville, Buka and the interior of Manus. In at least one instance
(Malabang Village) a new non-traditional community grew out of a
[8] We have evidence that Catholic missionaries began to use Tok Pisin in
Manus around 1910.
140 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 48: How Tok Pisin came to Tumam (PM)

An account of how Tok Pisin was established in Tumam Village in the Torricelli
Mountains of the East Sepik Province is found in the following text by a middle
aged man from this village. Most males of his generation had a good knowledge
of Tok Pisin in 1972 though only a small number of women were proficient in
it. The transition from Tok Boi (language of males in European service) to Tok
Pisin occurred in the next generation.
Tok Pisin, brata bilong mipela ol i go long stesin [1]. Na mipela
Tok Pisin, my male relatives (and I) we exc pl pr go to plantation. And we

i no save long Tok Pisin tu. Brata bilong mipela ol i go long stesin,
pr not know of Tok Pisin also. Relative of us pl pr go to plantation,

orait, ol i kisim save long stesin. Ol i kam bek, orait,

all right, they pr acquire knowledge at plantation. They pr return, all right,

ol i tok Pisin. Na mipela save mipela i save samting i klia

they pr speak Tok Pisin. And we know, we pr know something pr clear

longen mipela i save. Tasol samting i no klia long em i hat liklik,

about it, we pr know. But something pr not clear in it pr hard a bit,

orait, mipela mas haskim ol. Tok: ‘dispela samting kolim olsem wanem?’
all right, we must ask them. Say: ‘this one is called like what?’

Orait, ol i tok: ‘dispela samting em Tok Pisin ol i kolim olsem.’

All right, they pr say: ‘this something emph Tok Pisin they pr call it thus.

Orait, i go i go i go i go, woa i kamap, orait, mipela i klia gut

All right, pr go, pr go, pr go, pr go, war pr arrive, all right, we pr clear good

long Tok Pisin. Sampela lapun man long ples, mipela ol

about Tok Pisin. Some old man in village, we pl

manki, mipela i kisim save long Tok Pisin. Woa i

young (unmarried) men, we pr acquire knowledge of Tok Pisin. War pr

pinis, mipela i kisim save nau. Planti masta ol i kam

comp, we pr acquire knowledge now. Plenty European males they pr come
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 141

insait long mipela, kiap o kampani masta ol kam bek, ol i wokim

inside of us, patrol officer or business man they return, they pr run

tret stua, o mipela i gat bisnis, na mipela olgeta meri man [2], mipela i
trade store, or we pr got business, and we all people, we pr

gat liklik save long Tok Pisin, na ritrait [2] nau. Na bipo,
got a little knowledge of Tok Pisin, and read and write now. And before,

misin tasol i kam, wanwan man tasol ol i kisim save long Tok
mission only pr come, a few men only they pr acquired knowledge of Tok

Pisin long misin. Taim misin i kam long ples. Orait, mipela i
Pisin at mission. When mission pr come to village. All right, we pr

kisim save long tok pisin. Planti manmeri o mipela pikinini ol pikinini
acquire knowledge of Tok Pisin. Plenty people or my children pl children

mipela i no save Tok Pisin. Ol i tok olsem wanem, mipela i ting i

we pr not know Tok Pisin. They pr talk how, we pr think pr

hat, tasol nau, mipela i klia gut long Tok Pisin. Nau mipela i
hard, but now, we pr informed well about Tok Pisin. Now we pr

klia gut nau, husat narapela ples i laik kam, mipela tok
informed well now, whatever other village pr wants come, we say

susta [3], brata, kandare, na bipo, mi no inap long go long hap long Kuanga
sister, brother, uncle, and before, I not able to go to area of Kuagna

o Urim o Bubuita, Wam, Kombio, mi no nap long go long dispela hap longwe.
or Urim or Bubuita, Wam Kombio, I not able to go to this area distant.

Long wanem mi go tasol toktok bai mitupela i toktok olsem wanem?

Because I go just (and) talk then the two of us pr converse how?

Mi no nap long save tok ples bilong em, em no nap long save
I not able to know local language of him/her, he/she not able to know

tok ples bilong mi, nogat. Mi no save tok ples bilong em,
local language of me, no way. I not know local language of him/her,
142 Tok Pisin Texts

bai em i sutim mi long supia. Taim em i kam bek long ples bilong mi, mi
then he pr shoot me with spear. When he pr come back to place of me, I

no save tok ples em, bai mi sutim em long supia. Tasol nau, mipela i
not know local language he, then I shoot him with spear. But now, we pr

kisim save long Tok Pisin, orait, mipela mas toktok long Tok Pisin
acquire knowledge of Tok Pisin, all right, we must talk in Tok Pisin

nau, sista, kandare, brata. Nau nogat kros, no gat fait na

now, sister, uncle, brother. Now not exist quarrel, not exist fight and

mitupela i stap olsem sista, kandare, brata. Em tasol.

the two of us pr live like sister, uncle, brother. That’s all.
Regarding Tok Pisin, me and my fellow villagers went to a station/plantation and
we did not know Tok Pisin. Our relatives went to a station and they learnt it
there. When they returned they spoke Tok Pisin. Some Tok Pisin expressions
were clear to us but we were not so clear about others and we had to ask others:
‘what do you call this thing?’ They answered: ‘in Tok Pisin it is called this or that.’
Well, time passed, the war came, and we were pretty good at Tok Pisin. Some old
men in the village — we were young boys then — we acquired a knowledge of
Tok Pisin. The war came to an end and we learned. Lots of Europeans came to us,
the patrol officers and business men returned, they opened up trade stores and
started businesses and we had some knowledge of Tok Pisin and could read and
write. In earlier times, only missionaries came and only a few people acquired a
knowledge of Tok Pisin at the mission. When the mission came to the village we
acquired a knowledge of Tok Pisin. Many people and children did not know Tok
Pisin when we were children. How did they talk? They thought it was difficult but
now we know Tok Pisin well. Now we know it well and whoever wants to visit us
from another village we call them sisters, brothers and uncles. In the old days we
could not go to Kuange or Urim or Bubuita, Wam or Kombio. I was not able to
go to distant areas. Because, when I wanted to talk to someone, I did not know
their language and they did not know mine, no way. When I did not know their
language they would shoot me with a spear. Conversely, if they came to my
village and they did not speak my language I would shoot them with a spear. But
now we have got Tok Pisin, we must talk to one another in Tok Pisin like sisters,
brothers and relatives. We don’t quarrel, we don’t fight and we live in harmony.
That’s all.
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 143

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] Tok Pisin tesin or stesin is a merger of English ‘plantation’ and ‘station’. It
refers to mission and government stations as well as centres of expatriate-
instigated economic activity such as plantations.
[2] One of the earliest types of compounds to emerge in the development of
Tok Pisin were cumulative nominal compounds such as meriman (‘women
and men’ = ‘people’) or verbal compounds of the type ritrait (‘to read and
write’ = ‘to be literate’).
[3] Susta is a mixed form combining traditional susa (‘sibling of the opposite
sex’ with the more recent loan sista ‘sister’). It was probably reinforced by
another item svesta (‘religious sister’) from German Schwester.

Text 49: Comments on some differences between varieties

of Tok Pisin (SR)

These remarks on variation in Tok Pisin were made by the pastor of a rural
church in near Lae in the 1980s.
Abus, animal o enimal em wanpla tok tasol. Enimel [1] em
‘Abus’, ‘animal’ or ‘enimal’ it one talk just. ‘Enimel’ it

olsem bignem. Enimal blo bus olsem bus i gat kainkain enimal, na abus
like big name. ‘Enimal’ of bush thus bush pr got kind ‘enimal’, and ‘abus’

em olsem wankain liklik. Abus olsem lo stua abus olsem tinfis, mit em ol
it thus same little. ‘Abus’ thus in store ‘abus’ like tin fish, meat it pl

abus na em lo tinfish ol i no inap tok enimal em nogat em olsem abus

‘abus’ and it in tin fish they pr no can say ‘enimal’ it neg it thus ‘abus’

wanpla tok. Bebi [2] em mining ‘bebi’ em olsem em dring susu, em bebi. Pikinini
one talk. Baby it means baby it same it drink milk it baby. Little

bebi. Pikinini blo bebi bois o pikinini gels, ‘gels’ em ‘meri’ tok inglis. Nau
baby. Little baby boys or little girls, ‘gels’ it ‘woman’ (in) English. Now

i stap meri tasol, pikinini meri o bebi meri o bebi bois [3], bebi
pr exist woman only, child woman or ‘baby’ woman or ‘baby’ boys, ‘baby’
144 Tok Pisin Texts

em bebi i no inap em yet i wokabaut em bebi. Boi, bois, ol boi ol

it ‘bebi’ pr neg able it emph pr walk it ‘bebi’. ‘Boi’, ‘bois’, ‘ol boi’, ‘ol

bois, bifo em boi, Tok Pisin blo bifo boi olsem. Olgeta ting ee olsem boi
bois’, before it ‘boi’ Tok Pisin of before ‘boi’ thus. All think ‘ee’ thus ‘boi’

em disfela leta i bihainim Tok Pisin dis leta ol putim disla boi na bihain
it this letter pr follow Tok Pisin this letter they put this ‘boi’ and letter

ol putim olsem bois. Baimbai nogat, em nau liklik. Baimbai em i go,

they put thus ‘bois’. ‘Baimbai’ neg, it now little. ‘Baimbai’ he pr go

baimbai i kam. Em baimbai [4] i kam. Baimbai em klostu bai. I gat

‘baimbai’ pr come. He ‘baimbai’ pr come. ‘Baimbai’ it similar ‘bai’. pr got

kainkain mining i stap. Bai baimbai ating wantain liklik. Mi bai i go,
kind meaning pr stop. ‘Bai’ ‘baimbai’ perhaps same little. I ‘bai’ pr go,

lapun tok mi bai i go. Ol liklik nau ol i stap in skul ol tok bai mi go.
old say I ‘bai’ pr go. pl little now they pr stop in school they say ‘bai’ I go.

Senis i kamap em i gutpla tasol i no gutpla tumas. Nau em i no

Change pr come up it pr good but pr neg good too much. Now it pr neg

gutpla tumas blo wanem i tok yu mekim apun i no klia lo Tok

good too much for what pr talk you make old pr neg clear about Tok

Pisin, blo wanem i miks wantaim Inglis.

Pisin, for what pr mix with English.

Narapla tok em hari yu painim pinis lo sampla [5] pikinini. Hari, harim.
Another talk it ‘hari’ you find comp in some children. ‘Hari’, ‘harim’.

Long lapun yu bai harim olsem harim, halim tok. Wantaim olsem karim,
In old you fut hear thus ‘harim’, ‘halim’ talk. Together thus ‘karim’,

kalim. Tok i miks, pisin blo bifo, pisin blo nau.

‘kalim’. Language pr mix, pidgin of before, pidgin of now.

Givi, puti em taun ating Inglis em gat puti. Em olsem ol i kisim hap
‘Givi’ ‘puti’ it town perhaps English it got ‘puti’. It thus they pr get half
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 145

tok tasol i no pinisim. Em olsem long taun i gat kainkain senis em klostu
talk but pr neg finish. It thus in town pr got kind change it close

… nau ol pikinini i stap in skul em tok pisin go long ol klostu wantaim

… now pl children pr stop in school it tok pisin go to they close with

ia olsem lo taun. Long pisin, putim na harim na karim… em ol yet

foc thus in town. In pidgin, ‘putim’ and ‘harim’ and ‘karim’… it they emph

kamapim, em i no tok pisin, em i no tok pisin … em pasin blo yangpla

come up, it pr neg tok pisin, it pr neg tok pisin … it custom of young

long taun, i sotim tok na mekim arapla samting. Nau em miksi

in town, pr shorten speech and make other something. Now it mix

wantaim disfela, naispla nais [6] tru. Em inglis, nais. Inglis gut, pisin
with this, ‘naispela’ ‘nais’ true. It English, ‘nais’. English ‘gut’, pidgin

gutpla na long bifo pisin bifo em gutfela, arafela, em ol bai putim

‘gutpla’ and in before pidgin before it ‘gutfela’, ‘arafela’, it they foc put

‘f ’ [7] wantaim. Yufela, yupla. Nau em gutpla, gutpla. Yufera pisin blo
‘f ’ together. ‘Yufela’, ‘yupela’. Now it ‘gutpla’, ‘gutpla’. ‘Yufera’ pidgin of

bifo nau yu no harim ‘f ’ moa, yupla yupra yupa nek olsem.

before now you neg hear ‘f ’ more, ‘yupla’ ‘yupra’ ‘yupa’ pronunciation thus.
‘Abus’, ‘animal’ or ‘enimal’, they’re all just one and the same. ‘Enimal’ is the
general term, as in bush animal; in the bush there are all kinds of ‘enimal’, and
‘abus’ is almost the same thing. ‘Abus’, as in meat in the store, like tinned fish,
meat that’s ‘abus’ and tinned fish you wouldn’t be able to call that ‘enimal’, that
is ‘abus’. One way of saying the same thing.
‘Bebi’ — the meaning of ‘bebi’ is that it’s one that drinks milk. That’s a baby.
Little baby. Little boys or little girls, ‘gels’ means ‘woman’ in English. Now it’s
‘meri’ only, young women or baby girls or baby boys. A ‘bebi’ is one who isn’t
able to walk yet.
‘Boi’, ‘bois’, ‘ol boi’, ‘ol bois’ — before it was ‘boi’ in the pidgin of the past, it was
‘boi’. Everybody thought ‘ee’ — this letter following Tok Pisin, now they put ‘s’
after it and they say ‘bois’.
‘Baimbai’ — you hear that seldom now. ‘Baimbai’ he goes, ‘baimbai’ he comes;
146 Tok Pisin Texts

he ‘baimbai’ comes. That’s ‘baimbai’. It’s similar to ‘bai’: they’ve got the same
meaning. ‘Bai’ and ‘baimbai’ are perhaps just about the same.
The changes that are taking place are good but they are not always very good. It’s
not very good because the old people don’t understand this kind of pidgin
because it’s mixed with English.
Another thing is ‘hari’ — you find this among some children: ‘hari’ ‘harim’.
Among the old people you’ll hear ‘harim’, ‘halim’. And the same with ‘karim’,
‘kalim’. The language is mixed: pidgin of the past and pidgin of today. ‘Givi’,
‘puti’ — that’s town pidgin, perhaps English has ‘puti’. It’s as if they catch a piece
of the word and they don’t finish it. In town there are all kinds of changes — it’s
nearby now the children are in school and they speak it in a similar way to those
in town. In pidgin — ‘putim’, ‘harim’ and ‘karim’ — these new things that are
coming in are not pidgin. It’s not pidgin. It’s a fashion of the young people in
town. They shorten their speech and do all sorts of other things.
Now it’s mixed, so there’s ‘naispela’ and ‘nais’. That’s English ‘nais’. English has ‘gut’
and pidgin ‘gutpla’ and in the pidgin of the past it was ‘gutfela’, ‘arafela’. They put ‘f’
in the middle. ‘Yufela’ and ‘yupla’. Now it’s ‘gutpla’ and ‘yufera’. That was the pidgin
of the past. You don’t hear ‘f ’ anymore. The pronunciation is ‘yupra’, ‘yupa’.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The English term ‘animal’ has penetrated all but the most rural areas of
Papua New Guinea to some degree. It is fast becoming the preferred term
for urban children in colloquial speech. It often happens when a language
borrows a new term for a word it already has, semantic specialization
occurs. This man suggests that the English term ‘animal’ is now used in a
generic sense as the superordinate category name, while Tok Pisin abus
preserves its meaning of ‘edible meat’. The semantic distinction is reminis-
cent of one that exists between English pig/pork, cow/beef, etc., where the
native English term refers to the animal in the hoof, so to speak, while the
borrowed French term refers to the edible version on the table.
[2] Here a semantic distinction between bebi and pikinini is being explained.
He suggests that bebi refers to a young infant still drinking milk and unable
to walk.
[3] The introduction of -s plural marking has occurred since at least the 1950s
and is now very frequent (see Romaine 1992).
[4] Baimbai is now a recessive feature. A reduced form bai is used both clause-
initially and preverbally. With younger speakers it is more frequently used
[5] Here short forms are discussed. Although this man seems to believe they are
the result of English influence, it seems more likely they are the result of
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 147

more general processes of morphophonological condensation operating in

colloquial urban speech.
[6] Some adjective forms have variants with and without -pela as a result of
English influence.
[7] Here the informant comments on variation between /p/ and /f/; /f/ is
preferred among younger speakers whereas forms such as dispela were
commonly used among the older generations.

Text 50: Story of first hearing Tok Pisin (SR)

The speaker is a village elder in his seventies from the Kabwum District of
Morobe Province, who relates his impressions of first hearing Tok Pisin while
working as an indentured laborer outside the district. He and many others
thought it was the White man’s language, i.e., English. Tok Pisin was intro-
duced into this part of Morobe Province after the arrival of the first Whitemen,
German missionaries, in 1919. Many of the village men learned Tok Pisin while
working as contract laborers in the goldfields of Bulolo and brought it back to
the village where it was learned by younger boys. Thus, the language was
introduced into many areas by New Guineans themselves rather than directly
by Europeans. The shift from vertical to horizontal communication, i.e.,
between superordinate and subordinate to equals, is a main force in the
stabilization of Tok Pisin (from Romaine 1988: 122–3).
It was probably not until after the Second World War when people had
more exposure to Europeans that they realized that English was the ‘real’
language of Europeans. Many people believed that English was being deliberate-
ly withheld from them so that they would be unable to get access to European
secrets and material goods. As knowledge of English became increasingly
important for advancement, people withdrew their support from mission
scholars who taught in Tok Pisin or vernacular languages (see Romaine 1992:
Chapter 3).
Long taim yupela harim tok pisin pastaim, yupela ting em tok bilong
At time you pl hear Tok Pisin first, you pl think it language of

waitman o nogat?
White man or neg?
148 Tok Pisin Texts

Mipela ting em tok bilong waitman ia. Mipela ting tok bilong
We exc think it language of White man foc. We exc think language of

waitpela. Bihain ol i tok em i tok insait long namel i tasol. I

Whiteman. After they pr speak it pr language inside in middle pr only. pr

no bilong waitman. Mipela askim kiap ol kiap mipela askim kiap. Mi tok,
neg of White man. We exc ask kiap pl kiap we exc ask kiap. I speak,

‘em tok ples bilong yu?’ Em tok, ‘nogat. Disfela Tok Pisin em i bilong
‘it language village of you?’ He say, ‘neg. This Tok Pidgin it pr of

yupela bilong Niu Guini. Mipela longlong. Mipela ting em bilong kiap ia
you pl of New Guinea.’ We exc wrong. We exc think it of kiap foc

bilong gavman, tok ples bilong en nau. Nogat.

of government, language village of it now. neg.

When you first heard Tok Pisin did you think it was the White man’s language?
We thought it was the White man’s language. We thought it was the language of
the White people. Then they said that there’s only a little bit [of English] inside of
it [i.e., Tok Pisin]. It’s not the White man’s. We asked the kiaps [Australian
administrative officials]. We asked the kiap. We said, ‘is this your native
language?’ He said, ‘no. This pidgin language is your language, a new Guinean
language.’ We were wrong. We thought it was the kiap’s language, the
government’s language, their native language, but it wasn’t.

Text 51: The story of the origin of Tok Pisin (SR)

The speaker is a man in his forties from the Kabwum District of Morobe
Province, and has Tok Pisin as a second language.
In order to understand the full significance of this explanation, it is impor-
tant to know that in many parts of Papua New Guinea birds play a large role in
V. Traditional indigenous voices 1970 to the present 149

the culture. For example, among many groups birds are believed to be spirits of
the dead. People hope that when they die, they can become birds. However,
they try to prevent the association of young children with birds, and they avoid
eating pigeons which make sounds like birds. In the early stages of language
development children have not yet learned the phonology specific to their
native language, and they typically babble. Schieffelin found that when children
made cooing noises and sounded like birds, the mothers corrected them and
told them not to talk like birds. The Kaluli fear that children might become like
birds and die. Therefore they must protect the children’s language development
at a stage when the children’s language is not ‘hard’, i.e., fully formed (Romaine
1988: 109–110).
It is interesting that the speaker attributes a large role to New Guineans as
erecting the language through their imperfect attempts at imitating English
speakers. It is also significant that Tok Pisin is referred to as narapela tok ples
bilong ol Niu Gini — ‘another of the vernacular languages of New Guinea’.
Bifo ol i kolim Tok Pisin, tok bilong pisin. Ol i makim nating. I
Before they pr call Tok Pisin, language of bird. They pr mark nothing. pr

no olsem. Ol waitman i kam. Ol i no save long harim tok

neg thus. pl Whiteman pr come. They pr neg know to understand language

bilong ol Niu Guini. Ol Inglis tok, ol Inglis tok olsem: ‘yu kam’.
of pl New Guinean. pl Englishman say, pl Englishman say thus: ‘you come.’

Ol tok Inglis tasol long yu kam. Na ol Niu Guini ol hat tru

They speak English only in you come. And pl New Guinean they hard true

ol ting em wanem tok ol inglis tok yu kam. Ol tok: ‘hu xam’ i

they think it which language they English say you come. They say: ‘hu xam’ pr

go i go kain olsem i go i go i go na ol i kisim tok pisin. I narapela

go pr go like thus pr go pr go pr go and they pr get Tok Pisin. pr another

tok ples bilong ol Niu Guini. I go i kam olgeta ol toktok

language village of pl New Guinean. pr go pr come altogether they speak

long inglis tasol. Nau Niu Guini man i tok i go i kam em narapela
in English only. Now New Guinean man pr speak pr go pr come it other
150 Tok Pisin Texts

inglis, tok wantok bilong narapela. Na ol bihainim disfela [1]. Em tok,

English, speak relative of another. And they follow this. He speak,

‘yu kam’, I go i kam i go i go. Ol i kisim. Em i narapela tok

‘you come’, pr go pr come pr go pr go. They pr get. It pr another language

olsem. Ol i kolim Tok Pisin. I no pisin ol i toktok nogut.

thus. They pr call Tok Pisin. pr neg pidgin they pr speak speak no good.

Ol i makim nating.
They pr mark nothing.
Before, they called it Tok Pisin, ‘the speech of birds’. They didn’t mean anything
by it. It wasn’t that way at all. When the Whiteman came they didn’t know the
languages of New Guinea. The English people spoke like this: ‘/yu kam/’. They
just said it like this: ‘/yu kam/’. And the New Guineans were puzzled. They
thought, what kind of language is this that the English people speak. The English
people said: ‘/yu kam/’, and they said, ‘/hu xam/’, and it went on like this, and
that’s how they got Tok Pisin. It’s another of the local languages of the people of
New Guinea. They just kept on like this. They themselves spoke only in English,
English only. And New Guineans kept speaking another kind of English, a related
variety of it, and now they all speak this variety. They kept on saying: ‘/yu kam/’.
They acquired it. It’s another language. This is how they got Tok Pisin. It’s not
bird language. That doesn’t mean anything.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The form disfela instead of dispela is common in this area among the older
VI. Translations of foreign voices

Text 52: Tok Masta in a newspaper article, 1933

The imperfect Tok Pisin, often not more than idiolectal variants of English
interspersed with Tok Pisin expressions, used by expatriates in the times of
colonization, is called Tok Masta ‘master talk’. It was a source of miscommuni-
cation and racial friction and has now become largely restricted to a stylistic
device in Tok Pisin writings. In former times, quasi-Tok Pisin of the Tok Master
type was often found among the jokes and witticisms published in local
newspapers such as the Rabaul Times. Here follow examples from the 1930s:
(i) Rabaul Times 28.7.1933 [anonymous author who signs him/herself Long-
Long ‘stupid’]
(Present-day Tok Pisin)
‘Missus he no [1] stop?’
‘Misis i no stap?’
‘Me like talk along him.’
‘Mi laik tok longen.’
‘He no stop.’
‘Em i no stap.’
‘He no stop?’
‘Em i no stap?’
‘He no stop along house?’
‘Em i no stap long haus?’
152 Tok Pisin Texts

‘He no go Rabaul?’
‘Em i no go long Rabaul?’
‘He go ‘long who’s that ‘long Rabaul?’
‘Em i go long husat long Rabaul?’
‘He no go ‘long Rabaul.’
‘Em i no go long Rabaul.’
‘He no got paper he stop along me?’
‘I no gat pepa long mi i stap?’
‘Bring him he come.’
‘Yu bringim i kam.’
‘He no got.’
‘I no gat.’
‘He no go Kokopo?’
‘Em i no go Kokopo?’
‘He go ‘long who’s that along Kokopo?’
‘Em i go long husat long Kokopo?’
‘He no got.’
‘Goddam, Missus he go where?’
‘Goddam, misis i go we?’

(ii) Rabaul Times 29.9.1933

One moonlight night a fearful din and caterwauling in the garden signalised
that the local tomcats were competing for the favours of a female of the species.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 153

The concert having ended in a fight, daylight revealed quantities of fur scattered
over the lawn, and the house-wife enquired of the monkey: ‘What name
something?’ But the resources of Pidgin were equal to the strain: ‘’E feather [2]
belong pussy, I tink.’
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The use of negative no and affirmative yesa particles in Tok Pisin differs
from English in that they deny or affirm what has been stated in the
question. The ‘yes we have no bananas’ construction has been the source of
numerous colonial jokes.
[2] The use of feather in this text looks like a fabrication, as the Tok Pisin word
gras ‘hair, fur, feathers’ was widely known in the 1930s.

Text 53: Translation of an English bawdy ballad, 1959

In 1973 a conference was held at the University of Papua New Guinea where it
was recommended that a wider range of reading materials be produced in Tok
Pisin. According to Donald Laycock this was to include ‘humour, biography,
fables, language games, etc., as well as instructional subjects’ (see Laycock
1985b). The following is a translation of the English bawdy ballad ‘Sam Hall’
contributed by Laycock.
O nem bilong mi Samol, yes Samol
O nem bilong mi Samol
na mi gat wanpela bol
em i inap long pakim ol
bladi sit, bladi sit
em i inap long pakim ol
bladi sit
Mi laik plei long meri long nait…
tasol man bilongen i no laik
na bol i lus long pait…
O kiap em i kam…
na i kotim mi long san-
em i ken siubim kot long bam [1]
nau mi stap kalabus…
na nau mi nogat brus [2]
na bai ol moni i lus…
154 Tok Pisin Texts

o mi wok long katim gras…

na pater i go pas-
em i man bilong pakim as…
o bai mi pinistaim…
mi laik kisim misis traim-
mi gat moni inap long baim…
o mi laik go long Lae…
brukim kontrak, ronewe
na les long san olde…
o klosap bai mi dai…
kisim ples paia baimbai-
tasol mi no ken i krai…

O my name is Sam Hall, yes Sam Hall
O my name is Sam Hall
and I’ve only got one ball;
that’s enough to fuck you all,
bloody shit, bloody shit
that’s enough to fuck you all
bloody shit
I wanted to sleep with a woman at night,
but her husband objected,
and I lost my ball in the fight.
The administrative officer came
and prosecuted me next day;
he can stick his court up his bum.
Now I am in prison,
without tobacco,
and soon my money will be finished.
I work at cutting the grass,
and the priest goes past;
he is a sodomite.
Soon my time will be up;
I should like to try a White woman,
I’ve got enough money to buy one.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 155

I should like to go to Lae,

break my contract, and run away,
and idle in the sun all day long.
Soon now I shall die,
and go to hell,
but I shan’t cry.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] This is an ad hoc loan substituting Tok Pisin as ‘posterior’.
[2] Brus refers to native tobacco grown in the villages and dried over a fire. It
contrasts with other types of tobacco such as kapstan ‘European tinned pipe
tobacco’, stik or stange ‘twist tobacco’ and tabak or tambak ‘processed

Text 54: Translation of ‘Max and Moritz’

Another attempt to extend the range of Tok Pisin literature is the translation of
the German Wilhelm Busch’s ‘Max and Moritz’, an illustrated account of the
adventures and misdeeds of two young rascals. Attempts to get this translation
published in Papua New Guinea were unsuccessful as this kind of literature was
regarded as unsuitable for Papua New Guineans. Laycock’s translation was
subsequently published in a scholarly collection of translations of Max and
Moritz into a number of different pidgins and creoles, edited by Görlach
Long Rida:
To the reader:

Pasin bilong manki i olosem:

Manner of boy pr thus:

long olkain trik I no ken sem.

of all sorts of trick pr not can have shame.

Ol i hambak, ol i kranki.
They pr humbug, they pr silly.

Nau mi stori long tupela manki,

Now I tell story about two boy,
156 Tok Pisin Texts

Max na Moritz, ol i kolim.

Max and Moritz, they pr call (them).

Tupela i no save holim

The two of them pr not hab hold

gutpela tingting bilong ol tisa;

good thought about pl teacher;

tupela i save lap long misa,

the two pr hab laugh at mass,

tok bilas long meriman,

talk insult at women and men,

hambak nabaut long everiwan.

humbug around with everyone.

Wonem samting man i gat,

Whatever man pr has,

tupela i stilim olosem rat [1];

the two pr steal it like rat;

tinmit, banana, wonem samting,

tinned meat, banana, whatever,

tupela i save tekim nating.

the two pr hab take it for nothing.

Tupela i no go long skul,

The two pr not go to school,

mekim pasin bladiful.

make fashion bloody fool.

Tasol, wantok, yu mas sore

But, friend, you must be sorry

long pinis bilong dispela stori,

about end of this story,
VI. Translations of foreign voices 157

taim Max na Moritz tupela i dai [2],

when Max and Moritz the two pr die,

ating, pren, bai yu ken krai.

perhaps, friend, fut you can cry.

Nau yu ridim stori long dispela buk

Now you read the story in this book

na long ol piksa yu ken lukluk.

and at pl picture you can look.
Here follows the free translation as given in Görlach (1984: 7)
Ah, the wickedness one sees
Or is told of such as these,
Namely Max and Moritz; there!
Look at the disgraceful pair!
Who, so far from gladly reaching
For the boons of moral teaching,
Chose those very rules to flout
And in secret laugh about.
But designs of malefaction
Find them keen on instant action!
Teasing folk, tormenting beasts,
Stealing fruit for lawless feasts
Are more fun, as one can tell,
And less troublesome as well,
Than to sit through class or sermon,
Never fidgeting or squirming.
Looking at the sequel, though:
Woe, I say, and double woe!!
How it all at last came out
Chills the heart to think about.
That’s why all the tricks they played
Are retold here and portrayed.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Rat can mean both ‘rat’ or ‘mouse’.
[2] Note in this sentence the idiomatic resumptive dual pronoun tupela
followed by the predicate marker i.
158 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 55: Translation of Macbeth, 1977

Another piece of literary translation by Laycock is that of Shakespeare’s

Macbeth. As in the case of ‘Max and Moritz’, the translator has changed the
setting from a European one to a New Guinea village setting. The date of this
translation is 1977. Regrettably, it remains unpublished:


Ples 1: Ples kunai.

Place 1: Place (with) tall grass.

Klaut i pairap. Tripela poisonman i kam.

Cloud pr explodes. Three sorcerer pr arrive.

Poisonman 1: Wonem taim yumi bung gen? Long klaut i pairap, o long ren?
Sorcerer 1: What time we inc meet again? In cloud pr explode, or in rain?

Poisonman 2: Taim ol i pinis tru long pait, taim ol i lusim nau

Sorcerer 2: When they pr finish really with fight, when they pr leave now

na hait.
and hide.

Poisonman 3: Ating bai klostu long nait.

Sorcerer 3: Perhaps fut close to night.

Poisonman 1: Long wonem hap?

Sorcerer 1: At what place?

Poisonman 2: Klostu long ples.

Sorcerer 2: Close to village.

Poisonman 3: Yumi bung wantaim Makpes.

Sorcerer 3: We inc meet with Macbeth.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 159

Poisonman 1: Rokrok i singautim mi.

Sorcerer 1: Frog pr calls for me.

Poisonman 2: Mi kam, kotkot!

Sorcerer 2: I come, raven.

Poisonman 3: Na mi!
Sorcerer 3: And me.

Tripela: Mi tripela poisonman behainim nait na hait long san!

The three: The three of us (are) sorcerer follow night and hide during day.

Text 56: Translation of the highway code, 1969

In 1969 the first Tok Pisin translation of the Highway Code Your Guide to Safety
was produced by the Government Printer of New South Wales, Sydney, for use
in Papua New Guinea. The following passage deals with regulations for speed
160 Tok Pisin Texts

7. Long sipid tambu

About speed taboo

Yu noken draivim kar long sipid nogut. Igat bikpela tambu long dispela.
You cannot drive car at speed bad. pr exist big taboo against this.

Maski [1] tingim igat tambu long winim 30 mail tasol. Nogat. Sapos yu
Nevermind think pr exist taboo to exceed 30 miles only. No. If you

ron long 20 mail na planti manmeri wokabaut, em tu i tambu. Olsem ol

drive (at) 20 mile and many people walk, it too pr taboo. Likewise pl

sipid. Igat sampela peles nabaut yu noken ron sipid [2] longen. Olsem 10
speed. pr exist some place around you cannot run speed in them Thus 10

mail emi ariap tumas long kolostu [3] long sukul [3] o bung o hap bilong
mile it pr speedy very at near school or market or area for

wokabaut bilong planti man. Bihanim tok bilong sipid tambu sapos yu lukim
walk of plenty people. Follow word of speed taboo if you see

wanpela sain i tok long sipid. Long taun insait long ol hap Papua New
one sign pr talk about speed. In town inside of area of Papua New

Guinea, yu noken winim 30 mail. Tasol long sampela hap emi 20 o 15

Guinea, you cannot exceed 30 mile. But in some places it pr 20 or 15

olsem. Igat sain long dispela nau yu mas putim gut ai bilong yu long
thus. pr exist sign for this and you must put well eye of you to

painim sain pinis na bihainim tok long sipid. Long bik rot long bus
look for sign comp and obey talk about speed. On big road in bush

igat tambu inap long 40 mail. Tasol sapos igat sain, yu ken ron
pr exist taboo amounting to 40 mile. But if pr exist sign, you can run

long sipid sain i tok longen.

at speed sign pr talk about it.

Ol sain long sipid olsem piksa. Em hia.

pl sign about speed like picture. It here.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 161

Free Translation:
7. Speed restrictions
You are not allowed to drive a car at an unreasonable speed. This is strictly
forbidden. It does not matter, for instance, that the official limit is 30 miles per
hour. If you drive at a speed of 20 miles per hour and many people are walking in
the street, this is illegal. The same holds for all speed restrictions. There are some
places where speeding is not appropriate. Thus, 10 miles per hour is quite fast
near a school, market or public gathering. Make sure you obey the speed
restriction when you see a sign. In built-up areas of Papua New Guinea the top
permitted speed is 30 miles per hour. However, in some places it is 20 or 15 miles
per hour only. There are signs alerting you to this and you must watch out
properly and obey the speed sign. In unbuilt-up areas there is a maximum speed
limit of 40 miles. However, if there is a speed sign you can only go as fast as the
sign tells you. The speed signs look as follows.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] No pronoun subject appears in this sentence. Whilst in this particular case
this may be a bad translation, the phenomenon is common and needs to be
[2] Sipid can be either an adverbial or a verb. The sequence ron sipid is one of
the many that is ambiguous in its grammatical interpretation. European
speakers of Tok Pisin tend to favour a verb + adverbial interpretation,
whereas for indigenous speakers it tends to be verb + verb, i.e., a verb chain.
[3] In this official document, like in most others, the standard spelling conven-
tions are not heeded. Thus, predictable epenthetic vowels are spelled out
and there is a tendency towards etymological spelling.

Text 57: Example of literary Tok Masta

Tok Masta is the variety of Tok Pisin associated with English speaking expatri-
ates [see Text 52]. It ranges from broken English with a few Tok Pisin expres-
sions interspersed to relatively fluent Tok Pisin with a heavy English accent and
discourse pattern. A recent example of literary Tok Masta is found in Rushton
(1983: 83):
Long Place Belong Man Cutim Grass Belong All Mary
At the Hairdresser’s
162 Tok Pisin Texts

Halo, switi!
Hello, sweetie!
Halo, man cutim grass belong all mary he you?
Hello, are you the hairdresser?
He tru, honi. Name belong me — Yesus Kraist!
Yes, honey. My name is — Jesus Christ!
Me no hearim.
Got belong me, switi! Me look-look long grass belong you!
My God, sweetie! I just saw your hair!
Me sory long you!
You poor thing!
You all-same someting pusi he bringim inside!
You look like something the cat dragged in!
Me savvy. Me likim wanfella sempu?
I know. May I have a shampoo?
O sory, he tru!
Oh dearie, yes!
Me got wanfella tikit costim nutting here.
I have a free ticket here.
Oboy, you buyim plenty someting long stor, switi.
Goodness me, you must have bought a lot of things at the department bulk store,
Storman he monki belong me.
The proprietor is my friend.
That’s nice.
No got! Me haitim him.
No! I hate him.
Me sory.
I’m sorry.
Me likim wanfella sempu en wanfella set?
Could I have a shampoo and set?
Altagether someting, switi! You likim:
Anything, sweetie! Would you like:
VI. Translations of foreign voices 163

cutim grass belong you,

your hair cut,
blitzim grass belong you,
your hair bleached,
pulim eyegrass belong you,
your eyebrows plucked,
cleanim en washim en cutim fut,
a pedicure,
cutim en sharpim en cleanim fingga-nil,
a manicure,
rippel he stop longtime?
a permanent wave?

Text 58: Japanese propaganda leaflet, c.1942

Tok Pisin was used as a medium for propaganda by both the Allied Forces and
the Japanese. Here is one of the rare preserved examples of a message dropped
by Japanese planes over New Guinea (Luke 1945: 95–96). Note that the spelling
adopted here is somewhat aberrant, with [p], [f], and [b] being used inter-
changeably. The date of this document is around 1942. Note that the glosses in
this text are the ones of Luke 1945 and not the editors of this volume.

Dis pala tok i mas strog [1] log ol man.

This fella talk he most strong along all man.

Dis Imperal belong Nipponis [2] Nevi ituru nau i holim pas.
This Imperial-belong Nipponese Navy it true now he hold him fast.

Dis pala hap peles log solowara na log kilaut to log hap belog
This fella have place along salt water, along cloud too, along half belong

u mi.
you me.
164 Tok Pisin Texts

Nau ol Nevi belog mifala i rere turu belog sitorog fait.

Now all Navy-belong-me-fella it really true belong strong fight.

Nou sopos ol man belog dis pala peles i habak log Nippon.
Now suppose all man belong-this-fella-place he humbug along Nippon;

Orait bai bai ol i fait log ol tu.

All right, bye and bye all he fight along all too.

Mi fala harim i gat sam fala man i salim tok log ol

Me-fella hear him he got some fella man be send in talk along all

waitman log ol sam tig [3] Nippon Nevi i mekim log Nippon
white man along all same thing Nippon Navy he make him along Nippon

waia na balus hu sat i fainim dis fala man i salim tok log waitman.
aeroplane. You find him this fella man and see him talk along white man;

Olrait u mas holim pas em na pulim na birigim i go log

all right, you must hold him fast and pull him and bring him he go along

na ba uan be log Nippon Nevi em stap log dis pala peles Shorland na
Number One belong Nippon Navy him be stop along this-fella place Shortland and

Buka bai bai i bekim qut tumas log u log samtig u

Buka. Bye and bye he make him Court too much along you along something you

bin alivim ol Nippon Nevi.

been all of him Nippon Navy.

Me pala tok em u ol sopos dis pala pasin bi log salim tok log ol
Me fella talk him you all suppose this fella fashion belong send him talk long all

waitman. Olrait mi pala Nippon Nevi i salim bom balus I go bom

white man; all right; me-fella Nippon Navy he send him bomb aeroplane he go bomb

im dis pala peles ol tupeta bai bai no mo man stap.

him this fella place altogether; bye and bye no more man stop.

Naba uan Comander na Cheef belog Imperal Nippon Fleet.

Number One Commander-in-Chief belong Imperial Nippon Fleet.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 165

The Imperial Japanese Navy has now conquered this place. We have troops along
the beaches and in the skies over the greater part of the Group.
Our Navy is completely ready for heavy fighting. If anybody in this place double-
crosses the Japanese, they will be fought against.
We hear that some men are reporting to the White men of the activities of the
Japanese Navy. If anyone finds a man doing this, he must capture him and bring him
to the Japanese Naval Commander at Shortland or Buka, and he will be tried.
You are warned that if anyone spies on behalf of the White men, the Japanese
Navy will bomb his village and kill everyone there.
The Commander-in-Chief of the Imperial Nipponese Navy.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The Japanese appear to favour the Fijian type of spelling for representing
nasalized stops and nasals followed by stops.
[2] Note the use of Nipponis rather than Siapan.
[3] In this document there are a number of unusual conventions for deciding
on word boundaries. The general standard of language is less impressive
than that in the leaflets prepared by the Australians.

Text 59: Translation of Australian Customs reqirements, 1986

An increasing number of New Guinean travellers to Australia have prompted

the Australian Customs to issue Tok Pisin translation sheets of information for
travellers. The following extract comes from a publication distributed by the
Australian Quarantine service in 1986:
Sampela bilong ol samting [1] yu noken kisim o karim i go long Australia.
Ol kain sik bai i bakarapim ol wel-apus na diwai bilong Australia, i gat sampela
bilong ol dispela samting yu no inap bringim long Australia.
Em ol i yu no inap bringim: As bilong em:
Pusiket, dok, na ol liklik wel-apus Rebis sik nogut tru em i na apus stap long
ol wel-apus em i gat hotblut [2].
Pisin, kangal na ol kain kiau. Niukasel sik: sik bilong ol kakaruk, bai i
bakarapim ol pisin bilong Australia na ol
166 Tok Pisin Texts

Kiau: ol kain kiau. Niukasel sik: wankain sik olsem antap.

Ol kain kain apus bilong solowara. Sik bilong fis: man i ken kisim dispela sik
tu. Dispela sik em i nogut tru.
Pikinini bilong diwai belong planim. Pikinini bilong diwai em i save karim sik.
Ol binatong [3]. Binatang bilong diwai na wel-apus.
Kraun [4]. As tru bilong bringim ol sik bilong ol wel-
apus na diwai.
Doti/pipia na kiau bilong ol wel-apus. Planti kain diwai wel-apus na sik bilong
man meri.
Susu bilong bulumakau: wantaim jis [5]. Sik bilong leg na maus. Embai i
bakarapim tru ol apus.
Mit bilong ol apus wantaim longpela sosis.
Sik bilong log na maus: sik na raun sosis
bilong pik ol i kolim Africa. Pik sikin i hot.
Tin mit. Sik bilong leg na maus, sik bilong pik ol i
kolim Afrika. Pik sikin i hot.
Pikinini diwai [6] bilong gaden na taro, Binatang na sik.
binatang na narapela liklik yam,
kaukau, mami na tapioka.
Nupela diwai, han bilong diwai na binatang.
Ol kain kain sik bilong diwai nupela
flawa na liklik.
Han o lip bilong diwai long gaden. Bai i bringim ol liklik binatang na sik
nogut tru bilong gaden.
Ol kaikai yu larim long balus. Ol kain kain sik bilong ol wel-apus.
Tasol, ol dispela samting yu ken karim em yet aninit stret long Kwarantin pasin,
sapos yu kisim tok orait pastaim long Australian Kwarantin opis. Yu mas kisim
dispela tok orait pastaim tru long han bilong yu long taim yu laik wokobaut.
Pusiket, dok na ol aparela liklik apus.
Kavings, pikinini bilong diwai, kiau bilong ol wel-apus.
Nupela diwai, hap-hap hang [7] bilong diwai na nupela han bilong diwai.

Some of the things you can’t bring into Australia.
Because of the disease threat to Australia’s animal and plant life, there are some
things which you cannot bring into Australia. These include:
VI. Translations of foreign voices 167

Some things you can’t bring in: The quarantine risk:

Cats, dogs and other small animals. Rabies, lethal to all warm-blooded
animals and man.
Birds, feathers, poultry products. Newcastle disease, fowl plague, would
endanger all native birds and poultry.
Eggs, egg products. Newcastle disease, fowl plague, would
endanger all native birds and poultry.
Aquatic life. Fish disease, human parasites, potential
Crop seeds. Seed-borne plant diseases.
Live insects. Plant and animal pests.
Soil. Ideal medium for transporting animal
and plant diseases and pests.
Cultures, organisms, animal semen and ova.
Range of plant, animal and human
Dairy products, including cheese. Foot and mouth disease, a major threat
to all livestock.
Meat including salami and other sausages.
Foot and mouth disease, African swine
Canned meat. Foot and mouth disease, African swine
Fresh fruit and vegetables. Fruit flies and other insect pests and
Live plants, cuttings, bulbs. A wide range of plant diseases and pests.
Straw and straw articles. Pests and diseases of major cereal crops.
Food items left over from your aircraft A range of animal diseases.
or ship.
However, the following items may be imported separately under quarantine
conditions provided that you obtain specific prior approval from Australian
Quarantine authorities. Such approval must be obtained before you begin your
Cats, dogs and other small animals.
Cultures, organisms, animal semen and ova.
Live plants, cuttings, bulbs.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] This text suffers from a number of problems, one of them being a strong
168 Tok Pisin Texts

tendency to translate morpheme by morpheme. Sampela ol samting would

have sufficed as a translation of ‘some of the things’.
[2] The concept of ‘warm-blooded’ is not common among the speakers of Tok
Pisin and the explanation is therefore likely to be lost on its intended
[3] An unconventional spelling for binatang. A major problem of this transla-
tion is that Papua New Guineans, unlike Australians, do not categorize
animals into pests and non-pests. The suggestion that all small animals
(insects and other creepy crawlies) are pests is infelicitous.
[4] A non-standard spelling for graun ‘ground, soil’. Kraun is usually the
spelling for ‘crown’, an item which is not a restricted import.
[5] The non-standard spelling jis for ‘cheese’ can lead to a confusion with yeast
which of course happens to be another prohibited import.
[6] ‘Vegetable’ in Tok Pisin is sayor. Pikinini diwai are bushes or small trees/
[7] In this sentence the non-standard spelling hang ‘branch, hand’ is found
alongside han.

Text 60: A recipe, 1987

The following is a recipe for lemon sponge sandwich from Wantok Niuspepa, 5
March 1987. The ingredients are obviously available at the urban consumer
store, as it assumes familiarity with store-bought goods such as Flame brand
sponge and biscuit flour and the availability of electricity and cooking utensils
such as sandwich tins. Flour-based products are not in traditional diets, but
baked goods of this type are sought after and easily available in towns like Lae
where there are bakeries. In this recipe new expressions such as wait mit ‘egg
white’ are coined, while others such as ais suga ‘icing sugar’ are calqued.
We bilong Kuk Lemon-Sponge Samis
Way of cook lemon sponge sandwich

4-pela kiau (brukim yelo na wait mit i go tuhap)

4 egg (break yellow and white meat pr go two part)

tri-kwata mak kap suga

three quarter mark cup sugar
VI. Translations of foreign voices 169

wara bilong hap lemon prut

water of half lemon fruit

wanpela kap Flame sponge-na-bisket plaua

one cup flame sponge and biscuit flour

We bilong kukim:
way of cook:

Hatim ges o lektrik aven i go inap 180C (350F). Brukim na tantanim wait
Heat gas or electric oven pr go until 180C (350F). Break and beat white

mit bilong kiau i go inap em i malumalum. Putim yelo mit bilong kiau
meat of egg pr go until it pr soft. Put yellow meat of egg

wantaim wara bilong lemon i go wantaim na miksim ol gut. Kisim hap

with water of lemon pr go together and mix them good. Get part

hap flaua i redi pinis na karamapim dispela miksa bilong kiau na lemon.
part flour pr ready comp and cover this mixture of egg and lemon.

(No ken tantanim gen). Apim samis na putim ol i go insait long

(neg can beat again). Open sandwich and put them pr go inside in

samis praipan i gat tupela hap (raunpela hap inap 8 ins). Subim
sandwich fry pan pr get two halves (round half up to 8 inches). Put

praipan i go insait long aven na larim i stap inap 25 o 30 minit. Autim

fry pan pr go inside of oven and let pr stop for 25 or 30 minute. Take out

praipan na larim samis wantaim krim (whiped) na rabim ais suga

frypan and let sandwich together cream (whipped) and rub ice sugar

antap long en.

on top of it.

Swit moa!
Sweet more!
170 Tok Pisin Texts

4 eggs (separate the eggs)
3/4 cup sugar
juice of half a lemon
1 cup Flame sponge-and-biscuit flour
Heat gas or electric oven to 180 C (350F). Break and beat egg whites until soft.
Put the egg yolks into the lemon juice and mix well. Get the flour ready and cover
the mixture of egg and lemon. (Don’t mix again). Lift the sandwich and pour it
into two halves of an 8 inch round sandwich tin. Put the tins in the oven and
leave for 25–30 minutes. Remove the tins and let the sandwich cool. Put the two
halves together with cream (whipped) and cover the top with icing sugar.

Text 61: Translation of the Constitution of Papua New Guinea, 1975

The Constitution, which was adopted on Independence in 1975, has appeared

only in English. In his introduction, Mihalic includes the English subtitle ‘an
unofficial tentative translation’. However, at the end of his preface there is a
note indicating that the translation has been printed with the approval of the
First Legislative Council of Papua New Guinea, but that it cannot be used as a
basis for instituting legal proceedings against anyone. In court only the English
version is binding. Mihalic’s intended audience is the village court magistrate
who does not know English. He says he has avoided adopting words and
phrases wholesale from English and has tried instead to express the meaning of
legal concepts in Tok Pisin.
Nevertheless, like Save na Lukim it incorporates many English terms
belonging to a technical register, in this case, legalese, e.g., jas ‘judge’, pablik
ofisa ‘public officer’, which are phonologically adapted. There are also many
other new English borrowings, e.g., promis ‘promise’, onaim ‘honour’, pocket
‘pocket’, fri ‘free’, takis ‘tax’, etc., which have no Tok Pisin equivalent. Others
such as pipol alternate with manmeri.
Syntactically speaking, the text presents some interesting examples of
complexity, such as multiple embeddings of clauses, such as the last sentence,
which contains eight clauses. The Constitution is less syntactically conservative
than Save na Mekim. For example, 55% of the instances of bai are clause-initial
and predicate markers are not obligatory in all the contexts in which they are
found in Nupela Testamen and Save na Mekim (see Romaine 1988).
VI. Translations of foreign voices 171

Article from:

Konstitusen Bilong Independen Kanrti Papua Niugini

Constitution of Independent country Papua New Guinea

Tok Orait Long Konstitusen

Talk Alright of Constitution

Mipela pipel bilong Papua Niugini mipela i bung wantaim na mipela

We exc people of Papua New Guinea we exc pr meet together and we

i wanpela pipel mipela i onaim ol tumbuna bilong mipela bilong bipo, long
pr one people we exc pr honor pl ancestors of us exc of before, for

wanem, ol yet i givim strong long mipela na ol yet i kirapim

what, they emph pr give strength to we exc and they emph pr begin

olgeta pasin bilong mipela.

all custom of us exc.

Mipela i tenkim [1] ol tumbuna long olgeta gutpela kastam na gutpela tingting
We exc pr thank pl ancestors for all good custom and god idea

i stap namel long mipela nau, na i bin kamdaun long han bilong ol
pr stop middle of us exc now, and pr past come down from hand of pl

papa na bubu na tumbuna inap long mipela. Mipela i promis bai

father and grandfather and ancestor until to us exc. We exc pr promise fut

mipela i holim na bihainim gut na givim long ol manmeri i kam bihain

we exc pr keep and follow good and give to pl people pr come behind

long mipela, olgeta gutpela pasin bilong bipo na tu olgeta Kristen lo na

after us exc, all good custom of before and too all Christian law and

pasin mipela i bin kisim pinis. Mipela yet i gat pawa na i gat rait,
custom we exc pr past get comp. We exc emph pr got power and pr got right

long wanem, mipela i lain pipel i bin stap hia longtaim moa, na
for what, we exc pr line people pr past stop here long time more, and
172 Tok Pisin Texts

mipela i fri na mipela i independen. Olsem na nau mipela pipel i

we exc pr free and we exc pr independent. Thus and now we exc people pr

sanapim dispela nesen i gat pawa bilong bosim em yet. Mipela i tokaut
stand up this nation pr got power of govern it emph. We exc pr talk out

klia olsem: mipela i stap long han bilong God, na kantri bilong mipela
clear thus: we exc pr stop at hand of God and country of us exc

Papua Niugini i independen.

Papua New Guinea pr independent

Fridom — Tambu Long Go Insait Nating Long Haus Bilong Yu.

Freedom — Taboo to Go Inside Nothing in House of you.

I tambu long sekapim poket bilong man, o samting em i holim, o go

pr forbidden to check pocket of man, or something he pr hold, or go

insait long banis o haus bilong em, sapos lo i no givim orait long yu.
inside in fence or house of him, if law pr neg give alright to you.

Lo i tok, yu ken kalapim dispela lo sapos: kot i givim oda long sekapim
Law pr say, you may breach this law if: court pr give order to check

haus ol polisman i ken sekapim haus na ples bilong yu sapos wanpela

house pl policeman pr may check house and place of you if one

kot o jas i ting ol i mas mekim, na em i tok tru antap long

court or judge pr think they pr must do, and he pr say true on top of

dispela na i autim as bilong dispela sekap sapos lo i orait long

this and pr declare reason for this check if law pr alright for

wanpela pablik ofisa bilong Gavman o wanpela ofisa bilong wanpela

one public officer of Government or one officer of one

grup o lain i gat wok long helpim wok bilong ol pipel — na ol dispela
group or clan pr got work to help work of pl people — and pl this

man i mas go insait long banis o graun o haus bilong man bilong sekapim
man pr must go inside of fence or ground or house of man of check
VI. Translations of foreign voices 173

wok takis, o sapos Gavman i gat wanpela samting bilong em i stap

work tax, or if Government pr got one something of it pr stop

long dispela graun, o narapela bikpela lain i holim wok bilong Gavman
in this ground, or other big group pr hold work of Government

na em tu i gat ol samting bilong em i stap long dispela hap graun sapos

and it too pr got pl something of it pr stop in this place ground if

lo stret i tok orait long ol ofisa i ken go insait long dispela banis o
law emph pr talk alright for pl officer pr may go inside of this fence or

haus o graun bilong sekapim ol kago, ol ka na trak, na ol sip na balus

house or ground to check pl cargo, pl car and truck and pl ship and plane

— bilong painimaut ol i bihainim ol lo bilong bringim samting i kam

— to find out they pr follow pl law for bring something pr come

insait long kantri, o bilong bringim ol pipel i kam insait; na tu bilong

inside of country, or for bring pl people pr come inside and too for

sekapim ol pipel i lusim Papua Niugini na tu ol kago samting

check pl people pr leave Papua New Guinea and too pl cargo something

bilong Papua Niugini mipela i salim i go long ol arapela kantri.

of Papua New Guinea we exc pr send pr go to pl other country.
The Constitution of the Independent Country, Papua New Guinea
Permission for Constitution
We the people of Papua New Guinea join together. We are one people and we
honor our ancestors of before because they gave us strength and they began all
our customs. We thank our ancestors for all the good customs and good ideas we
have inside us now and have been handed down from fathers, grandfathers and
ancestors to us. We promise we will keep them and follow them faithfully and
pass them on to the people who come after us, all the good customs we have
received. We ourselves have the power and the right because we are the people
who have been here a long time and we are free and independent. Thus we the
people erect this nation with the power to govern itself. We declare clearly thus:
we stand by the hand of God and our country, Papua New Guinea, is independent.
174 Tok Pisin Texts

Freedom Forbidden to Enter Your House Without Cause

It is forbidden to search a man’s pocket or his belongings or to enter his fence or
house if the law does not permit you. The law says you may breach this law if the
court issues an order to search the house. Policemen may search your house and
village if a court or judge thinks they must do it and gives the grounds for this
search. If the law permits, an officer or group who is responsible for assisting the
people may have to enter the fence, grounds or house of a man to check taxes, or
if the Government has goods belonging to it inside this property, or another big
group has work pertaining to the Government and it too had something
belonging to it in its grounds. If the law permits, the officers may go inside this
fence, house or grounds to search all cargo, cars, trucks, ships and planes to find
out if they have followed the law for importing goods into the country or for the
entry of people, and also to check people leaving Papua New Guinea and also all
goods which we export from Papua New Guinea to other countries.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] Normally one would expect the paraphrastic tok tenkyu long x.

Text 62: How to take care of pigs

This text is an extract from Save na Mekim (Bergmann 1982), a handbook of

alternative technology, published by the Melanesian Council of Churches. It is
described by its editor as a translation of the Liklik Buk (1977) which appeared
only in English (despite its Tok Pisin name). The book contains chapters on
animal husbandry, cultivation of traditional crops, healthcare, and house
construction, etc. Save na Mekim contains more material than the Liklik Buk,
including letters sent in by readers. Mihalic and various Papua New Guineans
served as language advisors to the editor.
This book is especially interesting because it contains an epilogue in English
(pp. 467–8) in the use of Papua New Guinea Pidgin English, discussing editorial
policy on matters such as borrowings, spelling, and the problems of discussing
technical and culturally alien concepts in Tok Pisin, so that they will be intelligi-
ble to the average speaker of Tok Pisin. Although the editor follows Mihalic’s
(1971) spellings, the text incorporates many technical English terms like stas
‘starch’, protin ‘protein’, vaitamin ‘vitamin’, mineral ‘mineral’, etc., which were
phonologically adapted, but are nevertheless opaque morphologically and
VI. Translations of foreign voices 175

As far as syntactic norms are concerned, however, the text is conservative.

This can be seen in the fact that 81% of the occurence of bai is clause initial
rather than preverbal, and the predicate marker is rarely omitted. In the spoken
language, most instances of bai are preverbal and the predicate marker is often
omitted (see Romaine 1988).
Kaikai bilong pik
Food of pig

Tok bilong tripela kain kaikai

Talk of three kind food

Tingim gut tok bilong kain kain strong bilong kaikai.

Think good talk of kind kind strength of food.

Insait long kaikai i gat stas na i gat protin na i gat vaitamin wantaim
Inside of food pr got starch and pr got protein and pr got vitamin with

mineral. Stas i stap long kaukau na taro na banana na rais na tapiok.

mineral. Starch pr stop in yam and taro and banana and rice and cassava.

Dispela ol kaikai i save pulapim bel bilong pik. Tasol i no inap helpim
This pl food pr hab fill stomach of pig. But pr neg able to help

pik i kamap bikpela. Sapos yu givim dispela kain kaikai tasol bai bel
pig pr come up big. If you give this kind food only fut stomach

bilong pik i solap na bun i stap nating. Protin i stap long ol liklik
of pig pr swell up and bone pr stop nothing. Protein pr stop in pl little

binatang na snek bilong graun. Em i stap long bin na pinat na soyabin

insect and snake of ground. It pr stop in bean and peanut and soybean

na mangbin tu. I gat liklik long kon na sogom tu, na long lip kaukau
and mungbean too. pr got little in corn and sourgum too, and in leaf yam

na long gutpela gras na long kaupi na long lip tapiok. Konsentret bilong
and in good grass and in kaupi and in leaf cassava. Concentrate of

pik, yumi save baim long stua, em tu i gat planti protin. Protin i helpim
pig we inc hab buy in store, it too pr got plenty protein. Protein pr help
176 Tok Pisin Texts

pik i kamap bikpela. Tasol protin i no inap was long kain kain
pig pr come up big. However protein pr neg able to guard against kind kind

sik. Vaitamin na mineral i stap long olgeta lip na gras na long

sickness. Vitamin and mineral pr stop in altogether leaf and grass and in

popo na muli na yambo. Em i helpim skin bilong pik i stap smat.

pawpaw and citrus and yam. It pr help skin of pig pr stay smart.

Wel pik
Wild pig

I no gat wok bilong lukautim. Tasol em i save bagarapim gaden. Na

pr neg got work of look after. However it pr hab destroy garden. And

tu, bipo i gat planti wel pik i stap, nau i no gat. Olsem na mobeta
too, before pr got plenty wild pig pr stop, now pr neg got. Thus and better

yumi no tingim tumas dispela rot. Em i samting bilong bikbus.

we inc neg think too much this way. It pr something of big bush.
Food for pigs
Discussion of three kinds of food
Pay good attention to this discussion of the many kinds of strength of food.
Inside food there is starch, protein, vitamins and minerals. There is starch in
yams, taro, bananas, rice and cassava. These foods fill up the pig’s stomach. But
they don’t help the pig to grow up big. If you give only this kind of food,
however, the pig’s stomach swells up and its bones stay weak. There is protein in
little insects and ground snakes. It is in beans, peanuts, soybeans and mungbeans
too. There is a little in corn and sourgum too, and in the leaf of the yam, and in
sweet grass, and in kaupi and cassava leaf. Pig concentrate that we buy in the
store, it too has plenty of protein. Protein helps the pig to grow up big. However,
protein is not sufficient to guard against all kinds of sickness. Vitamins and
minerals are in all leaves, grass, and in pawpaw citrus and yam. It helps the pig’s
skin stay nice.
Wild pig
There is no work in looking after it. However, it tends to destroy gardens. Also,
before there were plenty of pigs, but now there aren’t. However, it’s better if we
don’t think too much about this route. This is something for the wild bush.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 177

Text 63: The story of the loaves and fishes (2)

This text is the standard version of the loaves and fishes from Nupela Testamen,
which has served as a standard for Tok Pisin since its publication in 1967.
Jisas i givim kaikai long 4,000 man
Jesus pr give food to 4,000 man

Long dispela taim bikpela lain manmeri i bung gen, na ol i no gat

At this time big group people pr meet again, and they pr neg got

kaikai. Na Jisas i singautim ol disaipel i kam, na em i tokim ol, ‘mi

food. And Jesus pr call pl disciple pr come, and he pr say them, ‘I

sori long dispela ol manmeri. Ol i stap wantaim mi inap tripela de pinis,

sorry for this pl people. They pr stop with me until three day comp,

na ol i no gat kaikai. Na sapos ol i stap hangre na mi salim ol i

and they pr neg got food. And if they pr stop hungry and I send them pr

go long haus bilong ol, bai ai bilong ol i raun na ol i pundaun

go to house of them, fut eye of them pr round and they pr fall

long rot. Sampela ol i bin wokabaut longwe na i kam.’ Na ol disaipel

on road. Some they pr past walk for and pr come.’ And pl disciple

ol i bekim tok bilong em, i spik [1], ‘dispela hap i no gat man. Na
they pr return talk of him, pr speak, ‘this place pr neg got man. And

bai yumi inap kisim bret we na yumi givim kaikai long ol dispela
fut we inc able to get bread where and we inc give food to pl this

manmeri?’ Jisas i askim ol, ‘yupela i gat hamas bret?’ Na ol i

people?’ Jesus pr ask them, ‘you pl pr got how much bread?’ And they pr

tok, ‘7-pela.’ Na em i tokim ol manmeri, na ol i sindaun long graun.

say, ‘seven.’ And he pr say pl people, and they pr sit down on ground.

Na em i kisim dispela 7-pela bret, na em i tenkyu long God, na i brukim,

And he pr get this seven bread, and he pr thank to God, and pr break,
178 Tok Pisin Texts

na i givim long ol disaipel, bilong ol i tilim. [2] Na ol i tilim

and pr give to pl disciple, for them pr to distribute. And they pr distribute

long ol manmeri. Na ol i gat wanpela wanpela liklik pis. Na em i tenkyu

to pl people. And they pr got one one little fish. And he pr thank

long God long dispela, na em i tokim ol disaipel long tilim dispela tu.
to God for this, and he pr tell pl disciple to distribute this too.

Bihain ol i kaikai inap pinis, ol i bungim olgeta liklik hap i stap yet,
After they pr eat enough comp they pr gather all little pr cont,

na i pulapim 7-pela basket dispela ol manmeri inap olsem 4,000. Na Jisas i

and pr fill seven basket this pl people thus 4,000. And Jesus pr

salim ol i go. Na kwiktaim em i kalap long bot wantaim ol disaipel bilong

send them pr go. And quickly he pr jump in boat with pl disciple of

en, na ol i go long hap bilong Dalmanuta.

him, and they pr go to of Dalmanuta.
Jesus gives food to 4,000 people.
At this time a great group of people met again and they had no food. And Jesus
called for his disciples to come and he spoke to them, ‘I am sorry for all these
people. They have been with me for three days and they don’t have any food. And
if they are hungry and I send them to their houses they will faint and fall down in
the road. Some of them have come from far away.’ And the disciples replied to
him saying, ‘there are no people in this area. And when will we be able to get
bread and give food to these people?’ Jesus asked them, ‘how much bread do you
have?’ And they said, ‘seven’. And he spoke to the people and they sat on the
ground. And he took these seven loaves of bread and thanked God, broke them
and gave them to the disciples so that they could distribute them. And they
distributed them to the people. And they had a few small fish. And he thanked
God for this and he told the disciples to distribute these too. After they had eaten
enough, they gathered all the pieces that still remained and they filled up seven
baskets. These people numbered 4,000. And Jesus sent them away. Then he
quickly got into the boat with his disciples and they went to Dalmanuta.
VI. Translations of foreign voices 179

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The form spik is found mainly in these older texts. Compare Hall
(1943: 85): ‘Em i tok i spik: yu no ken grisim mi’ (‘He spoke saying, you can’t
get around me by flattery’.) In colloquial Tok Pisin speech is generally
introduced by means of tok olsem (‘say these’) which may be reduced to tok
se. Mühlhäusler introduces another possible origin for tok se as a condensed
version of em i tok i se, where se is from English ‘say’. When the the predi-
cate marker is omitted, se is reinterpreted as a complementizer rather than
as an independent word.
[2] Tilim, a variant of dilim.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence
of English

Text 64: Code mixing and code switching (PM)

Code mixing and code switching is a frequent phenomenon among speakers of

urban Tok Pisin. The following texts were recorded by Mühlhäusler in 1976
around Port Moresby:
(i) Extracts from a discussion about politics:

Nesonelis olsem, olgeta man i mas save longen ya. Wanpela samting
Nationalist like that, all people pr must know him emph. One item

tu olsem, sam pipel ol i politically minded na mipela sampela olsem yupela

thus, some people pl pr politically minded and we exc some like you

tu i bin manipulated by others …

pl pr past manipulated by others …

Ol i ken do whatever they want to. Em nau mi save. O, I don’t like them.
They pr can do whatever they want to. emph now I know. O, I don’t like them.

So what, laki tru na mi kam.

So what, lucky really, and I come.

Em ol Morobe siti kaunsil, Lae siti kaunsil, no no, area authority, area
emph pl Morobe City Council, Lae City Council, no no, Area Authority, Area

authority. Em area authority long Lae ol i vote in favour long yu.

Authority. emph Area Authority at Lae they pr vote in favour of you.
182 Tok Pisin Texts

(ii) Extract from a conversation about study habits:

A: Mi, I like sleeping during the day.

Me, I like sleeping during the day.

B: Tru ya? Mi gat prektikels na mi no save slip.

(Is that) true, (tag)? I have practicals and I not hab sleep.

A: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, after lunch mi save go slip; kirap one

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, after lunch I hab go sleep; get up one

o’clock, wok till four, na i go long leksas.

o’clock, work until four, and pr go to lectures.
1. Everybody knows nationalists like that one. Another thing is that some
people are politically minded and others like you lot are manipulated by
them. They can do just what they want. I know. Oh, I don’t like them. So
what, it was really lucky that I arrived on the scene. The Morobe City
Council, the Lae City Council, I mean Area Authority. This Area Authority
in Lae voted in your favour.
2. A: I like to sleep during the day.
B: Is that so? I have practicals and I usually don’t sleep.
A: On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday I usually sleep after lunch; I get up at
one and I work till four and then I go to lectures.

Text 65: Chain letters

In this interview Mel Togolo of the University of Papua New Guinea talks with
Peter Kilara about the chain letter he received. This conversation was broadcast
over the National Broadcasting Commission’s ‘Contact’ programme in 1974.
PK: Nau sen leta i i kamap long long Papua Niu Gini. Ating i
Now chain letter pr pr arrive in in Papua New Guinea. I guess pr

gat planti kain sen leta. Wanpela i sen leta yu no yu no baim tasol
have many kind chain letter. One pr chain letter you not you not buy but

yu salim pas i go long narapela poroman bilong yu. Na narapela yu yu

you send letter pr go to other friend of you. And other you you
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 183

baim a dispela sen leta na bihain yu salim sen leta long ol narapela
pay for ah this chain letter and later you send chain letter to pl other

wantok bilong yu a na dispela samting sen leta i i wok long

relative/friend of you ah and this thing chain letter pr pr busy at

kamap bikpela nau long Papua Niu Gini na ating i gat sampela
become big now in Papua New Guinea and I guess pr have some

pasin nogut long dispela sen leta.

practice unsavoury associated with this chain letter.

MT: Wanem wanem bikpela tintin tru o wari bilong yu long a

What what major thought real or concern of you about ah

bringim dispela kain a sen leta i kamap long Papua Niu Gini?
bring this kind ah chain letter pr appear in Papua New Guinea?

PK: Ating wanpela wari long sen leta long dispela sen leta i
I guess one concern about chain letter about this chain letter pr

gat i gat mani na ol pipol i save baim sen leta. Long dispela sen
has pr has money and pl people pr hab pay for chain letter. For this chain

leta ating planti man i man i save baim na westim nating mani
letter I guess many person pr person pr hab pay for and waste in vain money

bilong ol bikos long dispela kain i gat a i gat planti man i i ol

of them because at this kind pr have ah pr have many person pr pr they

i save westim na i gat tupela o tripela man tasol i win na ol sampela

pr hab waste and pr have two or three person only pr win and pl some

ma man i baim nating i no save win.

per person pr pay for in vain pr not hab win.
PK: Chain letters are … are appearing now in Papua New Guinea. I guess there
are many kinds of chain letters. One kind is not … one does not pay for them
but they are sent to one’s friends. And another kind is the one one … pays
for ah … this one. You send it to other friends after you have received it. Ah
184 Tok Pisin Texts

… and this chain letter business is … is threatening to become a big thing

now in Papua New Guinea and I guess there are some unsavoury practices
associated with these chain letters.
MT:What are your major opinions or concerns about ah … bringing these kinds
of chain letters into Papua New Guinea?
PK: I guess one concern (I have) about chain letters … these chain letters that
have money (in them) and that people pay for this. I guess many people pay
for them and waste their money because for this kind ah … there are lots of
people who … who waste their money (on them) and there are only two or
three people who win and some people who buy them and do not win.

Text 66: A conversation, 1975

This is part of a conversation with a descendant of a Malaysian man who found

his way to Papua New Guinea in the early part of last century. The text was
recorded by the late Raden S. Roosman in 1975 in Rabaul as part of a study of
so-called ‘Ambonese Pidgin English’ that he made while employed as a lecturer
in the University of Papua New Guinea. Unfortunately, however, details of the
study have never been published, so that the identity of and other details about
the speaker of the present text are not known. For present purposes she is
identified as ‘F’.
F: Em i laik painim sam yang gel olsem wanpela yang wan so bai
He pr want look for some young girl like a young one so fut

i gat pikinini na i ken helpim em [1] aut(?). So em i askim papa

pr have children and pr can help him out(?). So he pr ask father

Sale, ‘yu no dat?’

Sale, ‘you know that one?’

RR: Yes, aha.

Yes, aha.

F: Askim papa Sale na papa Sale i as … toktok wantaim Nene.

ask father Sale and father Sale pr ask … discuss with Nene.

RR: Aha.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 185

F: Em i tokim Nene na Nene i tok, ‘bat em i stap long skul.’

He pr told Nene and Nene pr say, ‘but she pr be in school.’

RR: (Indistinct- bikpela skul ya).

big school foc.

F: Skul ya.
School foc

RR: Ye.

F: Orait na yu(?) [2] save ol kastom na yu mas jes harim

Okay and you(?) know pl custom and you must just listen

tok. So mama i harim tok na meri telim em em

what is said. So mother pr listen what is said and woman tell her she

i ounli fiftin.
pr only fifteen.

RR: Aha.

F: Na papa iz abaut nili fifti. Thats wot em i tok bat em i

And father he was about nearly fifty. That’s what he pr say but he pr

no save rili eig bilong em bat i toksave fifti.

not know really age of him but pr declared fifty.

RR: (Indistinct)

F: A, orait tupela i marit. Wen de marit nau em thats onli mi

Ah, okay two pr married. When they married then he that’s only I

save long nn hau em i go [3]. From de nau em i plantesin.

know about how he pr go. From there then he pr plantation

RR: Ye.
186 Tok Pisin Texts

F: Orait mi askim, ‘ded wai yu no go bek?’ Mi tok, ‘papa watfo yu no

Okay I ask, ‘dad why you not go back?’ I say, ‘dad why you not

go bek … go bek long houm? [4]. A, houm bilong yu tru long

go back … go back to home? Ah, home of you real in

Singapo. Yu no bipo Singapo i seim a?’

Singapore. you know before Singapore pr same eh?’

(Background comment)

Em i tok, ‘Mi no laik go bek mo. Maski, mi stap

He pr say, ‘I not want go back any more. Nevermind I stay

olgeta long (Background discussion). So em i … em i stap

completely in … so he pr … he pr stay

olgeta nau long … long Rabaul olsem long hia na i from we

completely then in … in Rabaul that is at here and pr from where

go fes long dablyu a kapenta plantesen ol i kolim ovasia

went first to WR Carpenter’s plantation they pr call overseer

lukautim tasol
take care of only

RR: Ye, ye.

Yes, yes.

F: lebas(?) bikos em i no ken rit na rait

labourers because he pr no able read and write

RR: Ye, ya.

Yes, yes.

F: Bat em i marit long mama bilong mi na mami i lainim em

But he pr married to mother of me and mummy pr teach him

liklik nau na lainim em long, yu no, rait sainim nem bilong

little then and teach him about, you know, writing sign name of
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 187

em long sek. Em papa. Orait na em i mi askim, ‘wai yu no go

him on cheque. That father. Okay and he pr I ask, ‘why you not go

bek?’ Na em i tok, ‘sapos mi go bek ol i no mo save long mi

back?’ And he pr say, ‘if I go back they pr not any more know me

nogut ol i no laikim mi mo.’ Yu no bikos det woz

bad they pr not like me any more.’ You know because that was

longtaim pinis na em i no laik mo go bek. Na em i tok, ‘tru

a long time ago and he pr not like more go back. And he pr say ‘real

houm bilong mi Jaho.’ Em i bon de …

home of me Jahore.’ He pr born there …

RR: Jahor.

F: Jaho. Ye, bat em i ranawe from Jaho na em i kam stap

Jahore. Yes, but he pr run away from Jahore and he pr come stay

Singapo. Olsem nau mi save dat Jaho na Singapo iz not the

Singapore. So then I know that Jahore and Singapore were not the

sem. Bat bipo ai …

same. But before I …

RR: (Comments indistinct … i wan, yes.)

… pr one, yes.

F: I wan.
pr one.

RR: (Comments indistinct)

F: Em i setl Singapo i ailan. Em i tok … dispela nem (?) em i

He pr settled Singapore pr island. He pr say … this name (?) he pr

menson (?) a? … na olsem Jaho i bik ples. Na em i tok olsem

mention (?) eh? … and thus Jahore pr big place. And he pr say thus
188 Tok Pisin Texts

ol i po tu na i no ken karian long skul. Orait em … afta

they pr poor too and he not able carry on at school. Okay he … after

da wo mama i ranawe.
the war mother pr run away.

RR: After the First World War ya?

F: Sekon wol wo.

Second World War

RR: Second World War?

F: Nn, mama i ranawe longen.

Yes, mother pr run away from him.

RR: Aha.

F: Orait em nau em wanpela i stap na i wok. Olsem em i ting

Okay and so he alone pr stay and pr work. Thus he pr think

long mipela na tasol evribodi olsem ol Chainiz olgeta i save gut

about us and but everybody like pl Chinese all pr know well

longen ol i tok, ‘wai em no go kot?’ Na em i tok, ‘I no

about him they pr say, ‘why he not go court’ And he pr say, ‘pr no

nid mi kot bikos em i yang meibi em i painim mo gut

need I court because she pr young maybe she pr find more good

laif. Mi mi old. Bat onli ting mi lukautim ol pikinini bilong mi bai

life. I I old. But only think I look after pl child of me fut

ol i ken helpim mi.’ Orait em i … i dai long Angarai plantesen [5]

they pr can help me.’ Okay he pr … pr die on Angarai plantation

long a … Manus, long ailan antap long Manus.

on Ah … Manus, on island above Manus.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 189

RR: Long wanem … wanem yia i dai?

In what … what year pr die?

F: A … naintin foti nain.

Ah … 1949.

RR: 1949 a?
1949 eh?

F: Nn, long Julai.

Yes, in July.

RR: O!
Is that so!

F: Em i dai.
He pr die.
F: He wanted to look for some young girl, a young one so that he would
have children to help him out (?) so he asked Papa Sale, you know him?
RR: Yes, aha.
F: He asked Papa Sale and Papa Sale discussed it with Nene.
RR: Aha.
F: He told Nene and Nene said that she was still going to school.
RR: (Indistinct … this large school.)
F: That school.
RR: Yes.
F: All right, and you know the customs and you must just listen to what is
said. So mother listened and the woman told her that she [Nene] was
only fifteen.
RR: Aha.
F: And father was approaching fifty. That’s what he said but he didn’t really
know what his age was but he declared it to be fifty.
RR: (Indistinct)
F: Ah, so the two of them were married. When they were married then only
I know what happened to him from then on (?). From there then he
[became] a plantation …
RR: Yes.
F: So I asked him, ‘dad, why didn’t you go back?’ I said, ‘dad, why didn’t
you go back … go back home? Ah, your real home is in Singapore.’ You
190 Tok Pisin Texts

know, before Singapore was the same eh? (Background comment). He

said, ‘I don’t want to go back any more. No, I’m going to stay in
(background discussion) for ever’. So he … he stayed then in … in
Rabaul, that is here. From there he went first to WR Carpenter’s
plantation as what is called an overseer, to look after only …
RR: Yes, yes.
F: labourers (?) because he couldn’t read or write.
RR: Yes, yes.
F: But he married my mother and she taught him a little then and taught
him about, you know, writing, signing his name on cheques. That was
father. And so he, I asked him, ‘why didn’t you go back?’ And he said, ‘if
I go back they wouldn’t recognize me any more and it wouldn’t be good
if they didn’t like me any more.’ You know, because it was a long time
ago [that he left] and did not want to go back any more. And he said,
‘my real home is Jahore.’ He was born there.
RR: Jahore.
F: Jahore. Yes, but he ran away from Jahore and he went to live in
Singapore. So then I realized that Jahore and Singapore were not the
same. But before I …
RR: (Comments indistinct … they were one, yes.)
F: One.
RR: (Comments indistinct)
F: He settled in Singapore, which is an island. He said he mentioned that
name eh? And so Jahore is a big place. And he said they were poor too
and he couldn’t carry on at school. So he … after the war mother ran
RR: After the First World War?
F: Second World War.
RR: Second World War?
F: Yes, mother ran away from him.
RR: Aha.
F: And so he was alone then and worked. His only thought was for us but
everyone like the Chinese knew him well. They said, ‘why didn’t he go to
court?’ And he said, ‘there’s no need for me to go to court because she is
young and perhaps will find a better life. As for me I am old. But the only
thing [that concerns me] is that I look after the children so that they will
be able to help me’. So he, he died on Anchorites plantation on ah …
Manus, on an island north of Manus.
RR: In what … what year did he die?
F: Ah, 1949.
RR: 1949 eh?
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 191

F: Yes, in July.
RR: Is that so!
F: He died.
Points to note here include:
[1] Earlier on the speaker had explained that her father’s first wife was from
Java but was sent home when she failed to bear any children.
[2] It is not clear exactly what is said here.
[3] The go here is obscure unless the intention is to mean something like ‘he
was able to keep track of his age thereafter’.
[4] The repetition here suggests that the first form of the question in which wai
is used is not regarded by the speaker as ‘real’ pidgin.
[5] This was apparently the plantation on one of the small Anchorites (or
Kaniet) Islands north-west of Manus Island.

Text 67: An account of an accident (SR)

In this excerpt Marilyn talks about her work and a frightening experience. She
is 25 years old and reasonably well-educated and comes from the Tari area in
the Southern Highlands Province.
Mi bai stori hau [1] mi bin statim wok bilong mi long rises.
I fut talk about how I past start work of me in research.

Long nainten seventi et long Januari etin a … sikstin, mi bin stap long
In nineteen seventy eight on January eighteen ah … sixteen I past be at

… mi bin stap wantaim Pita, Pita Takasur i bin a … pastaim em bin

… I past be with Peter, Peter Takasur pr past ah … first he past

wok i stap hia na mi pinisim gred nain bilong mi nau mi kam I stap
work pr cont here and I finish grade nine of me then I come pr cont

long ples na am … mi go askim Dokta Smit antap long Yuropen (?)

at village and um … I go ask Doctor Smith up at European (?)

Rises Institut na mi go tok olsem mi no … mi bi … mi pinisim gred

Research Institute and I go say that I not … I past … I finish grade
192 Tok Pisin Texts

nein olsem na mi painim wok na em tok, ‘oke bihain yu ken wok … mi

nine thus and I look for work and he say, ‘okay later you can work … I

ken painim wok bilong yu yu i tisim ol friskul long antap yerapo(?).’

can look for work for you you pr teach pl preschool at up (?).’

Nau ol i save gatim [2] ol man save dring bia na samting olsem
Now they pr hab have pl person hab drink beer and something thus

ya [3]. Na mi tisa i stap, haumeni … tu, tri mans samting olsem

foc. And I teacher pr be, how many … two three months about thus

nau Dokta Smit tok, ‘oke yu ken wok long … long hia.’ Na mi stat wok
then Doctor Smith say, ‘okay you can work at … at here. And I start work

long dispela hap. Mi wok i go. Mi no save gut long olgeta samting.
at this area. I work pr cont. I not know good about all thing.

‘Yu ken wokim olsem olsem’ na mitupela [4] Dokta Smit save ron ron long kar
‘You can do thus thus and we(2) Doctor Smith hab go go in car

i go i kam. Olsem mi go nau, wanpela taim mitupela go long … long Pari

pr go pr come. Thus I go then, one time we(2) go along … on Pari

rot. Mipela go long Pari rot nau na long bris ya dispela hap Pari rot,
road. We go on Pari road then and on bridge foc this part Pari road,

bris i no gutpela. Na Dokta Smit wantaim [5] a … Dokta Smit

bridge pr not good. And Doctor Smith with ah … Doctor Smith

wantaim mitupela sindaun long dispela kar i go na bris … wanto(?) bris

with we(2) sit in this car pr go and bridge … Wanto(?) bridge

em bruk. Bruk nau na klostu … dispela … narapela taia go insait long am …

it broke. Broke then and nearly … this … other tyre go inside of um …

bruk wanem ya? … bris ya na narapela taia i go long … long arere bilong
broke what foc … bridge foc and other tyre pr go on … on side of

bris na klostu mitupela Dokta Smit pundaun long dispela hap tasol wanpela
bridge and nearly we(2) Doctor Smith fall down at this part but one
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 193

… tupela man sanap long dispela hap i stap em pulim mitupela olsem na
… two man stand at this part pr cont they pull we(2) thus and

mitupela sef Na kam bek, wok pinis, planti man wantaim mipela brukim
we(2) safe and come back, work comp, many man with us break

dispela … sampela diwai olsem karim i kam bek. [Background question] a:,
this … some tree thus carry pr come back. Yes

karim i kam bek na fiksim dispela bris na mitupela kam sef long op …
carry pr come back and fix this bridge and we(2) come safe to off …

a … long stesin na … na mi go long haus. Sapos bris i no wanem? …

ah … to station and … and I go to house. If bridge pr not what? …

mitupela dai pinis.

we(2) die comp.
Free Translation:
I’m going to tell the story about how I started work in research. On the 18th ah
… 16th January 1978 I was at … I was staying with Pita, Pita Takasur, who was
ah … he was here working first. I finished my grade nine and then I went home
to the village and was um … I went and asked Dr Smith at the European (?)
Research Institute that I didn’t … I had, I had finished grade nine and so I was
looking for work. And he said, ‘okay, you can work [here] later, I can get some
work for you. You teach the preschoolers up at Yerapo (?), where there are now
men who drink beer and similar things.
And I was a teacher for how many? … two or three months or so, and Dr Smith
said, ‘okay you can work here,’ and I started work in this place. I was working
although I didn’t understand everything too well, but Dr Smith said, ‘do it this
way and this way.’ And Dr Smith and I used to go driving in the car to and fro.
And I went, this particular time we went on … on the Pari road. We were going
on the Pari road and on this one section of the road the bridge was no good. And
Dr Smith with ah … Dr Smith and I were sitting in this car going along and the
bridge … the Wanto (?) bridge collapsed. It broke and we almost … this … the
other tyre went down into the um … broke what is it … this bridge, and the
other tyre went down on … on the side of the bridge and Dr Smith and I nearly
fell down there, but a … two men were standing there and pulled us and so we
were safe and came back. And after work together with a lot of men we broke this
… some trees down and brought them back [Background question] yes! and
brought them back and fixed the bridge up and we came [back] safely to the
194 Tok Pisin Texts

office, to the station and … and I went home. If the bridge wasn’t what? … we
would have died.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Hau is now a common item in the developing acrolect of Tok Pisin.
Haumeni and sef, which occur later in the text, are also increasingly com-
mon items.
[2] Gatim is increasingly used for gat in the developing acrolect of Tok Pisin.
[3] The socio-geographical details lying behind this last comment are obscure.
[4] Note that mitupela is pronounced [mitala]. This is increasingly common in
meso- and acrolectal varieties of Tok Pisin. Note also the construction
mitupela Dokta Smit. This means ‘we(2) including Dr Smith’ and not
‘we(2) and Dr Smith’.
[5] Note that the use of wantaim here and elsewhere in this text means that Dr
Smith is included in mitupela. This is not standard Tok Pisin.

Text 68: Interview

In this interview Mr Ton Otto, Research Scholar in the Department of Anthro-

pology, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University,
is talking to two young female shop assistants, Ms Terry Jumogot and Ms
Josephine Pondrilei. Terry comes from Loniu village on Los Negros Island and
Josephine from Pere village on the south coast of Manus Island in the Manus
Province. Terry is twenty-two years old and Josephine nineteen. They are both
well educated.
TO: Wanem nem bilong yu?
What name of you?

TJ: Nem bilong mi em Teri Jumogot.

Name of me it Terry Jumogot.

TO: Yu bilong wanem ples?

You of what village?

TJ: Mi bilong Loniu, long liklik [1] ples insait long [2] Los Negros ailan
I of Loniu from small village within Los Negros Island
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 195

na i stap long Manus Provins.

and pr be in Manus Province.

TO: Na yu gat hamas krismas?

And you have how many year?

TJ: Mi twenti tu yia old.

I twenty-two year old.

TO: Na yu bin go long wanem kain skul? Olsem toktok liklik long
And you past go to what kind of school? Like discuss a little about

ediukesen bilong yu.

education of you.

TJ: Pastaim tru mi liklik mi stap mi atendim comuniti skul yet long
First really I small I be I attend community school still in

ples na pinis mi go long wanpela ketlik haiskul mi mekim

village and finish I go to a Catholic high school I do

gred seven na gred eit na bihain mi kam long provinsol

grade seven and grade eight and later I come to provincial

haiskul long Manus, em Manus Haiskul, na mi mekim gred

high school in Manus, it Manus High School, and I do grade

nain na gred ten bilong mi. Na bihain [cough] mipela mekim sampela
nine and grade ten of me. And later we do some

of … ofa na ol akseptim mi long Hailans Agrikalsol Kolis

of … offer and they accept me at Highlands Agricultural College

na mi bin go long hap long tupela yia na d … long eiti tu na

and I past go to there for two year and d … in eighty two and

eiti tri na mi greduet wantaim wanpela setifiket long tropikol

eighty three and I graduate with a certificate in tropical

agrikalsia. Na mi kam long ples na ol i … kisim mi laik go

agriculture. And I come to village and they pr … get I want go
196 Tok Pisin Texts

wok long Simbu tasol mama bilong mi no laik nau na mi stap long
work in Chimbu but mother of me not like then and I stay in

ples. Em i ting bai mi go na ol Hailans na ol i kilim

village. She pr think fut I go and pl Highlands and they pr hit

mipela o samting olsem na em pret nau na em tok mi no inap

us or something thus and she afraid then and she say I not able

go na mi stap.
go and I stay.

TO: Wanem nem bilong yu?

What name of you?

JP: Nem bilong mi Josephine Pondrilei.

Name of me Josephine Pondrilei.

TO: Yu bilong wanem ples?

You of what village?

JP: Mi bilong Pere long saut kos bilong Manus.

I of Pere on south coast of Manus.

TO: Yu gat hamas krismas?

You have how many year?

JP: Mi naintin yias.

I nineteen years.

TO: Nau toktok liklik long ediukesen bilong yu.

Now discuss a little about education of you.

JP: A … mi wokim a … mi bin skul long misin skul em mi wokim

Ah … I do ah … I past school at mission school that I do

gred wan go antap long … inap long sikis na mi bin go atendim a …

grade one go beyond … up to six and I past go attend ah …

provinsol haiskul long hia, long Lorengau hia. E [3] mi

provincial high school at here, in Lorengau here. And/ah(?) I
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 197

wokim gred seven up to gred nain tasol na mi ting olsem … olsem mi

do grade seven up to grade nine only and I think thus … thus I

kam luksave long Bikpela olsem na mi ting olsem i gutpela long mi

come find out about God thus and I think thus pr good for me

sevim Bikpela instet long mi geinim mo mi go mekim mo stadis

serve God instead for me gain more I go do more studies

bilong mi so mi bin ranawe long skul na mi bin go long ples.

of me so I past run away from school and I past go to village.

TO: Nau yu stap long Lorengau taun. Wanem kain wok bilong yu?
Now you stay in Lorengau town. What kind work of you?

JP: Mi wok long Christian Bookshop nau.

I work in Christian Bookshop now.

TO: Toktok liklik long dispela wok. Wanem kain wok yu wokim?
discuss a little about this work. What kind work you do?

JP: O, mi, mi olsem selspeson mi save olsem salim buk long ol man
Oh, I, I like salesperson I hab like sell book to pl person

wantaim sampela aitems tu na … olsem mi hamamas long wok long

with some items too and … thus I happy about work in

dispela shop bikos at the sem taim bai mi witnes long ol … ol

this shop because at the same time fut I witness prep pl … pl

man ol i kam insait na olsem mi wokim long sevim Bikpela tu.

person they pr come inside and thus I do at serve God too.

TO: A, yu wok long Christian Bookshop tu na yu gat seim wok

Ah, you work at Christian Bookshop too and you have same work

longen o wok bilong yu i narakain?

in it or work of you pr different?

TJ: Mitupela wantaim mekim seim wok tasol. Mipela salim ol buk bilong
We (2) together do same work only. We sell pl book of
198 Tok Pisin Texts

lotu nabaut [4] na sampela ol samting tu mipela i salim insait

religion kinds and some pl something too we pr sell inside

tu. I no ol buks tasol ol kloz na begs na kain samting nabaut

too. pr not pl books only pl clothes and bags and kind thing kinds of

mipela i salim tu long kisim mani na helpim lotu bilong mipela

we pr sell too for get money and help church of us

long ran gut.

for run well.

TO: Tasol nem i Bookshop tasol. Bilong wanem yu no senisim nem?

But name pr Bookshop only. For what you not change name?

TJ: Aha, na nem Bookshop tasol mipela salim ol buks tasol na i no

Aha, and name Bookshop only we sell pl books only and pr not

bin gat … mipela i no kisim planti mani long dispela na mipela

past have … we pr not get much money from this and we

i kisim ol sampela samting i kam insait long kisim mani tu. Olsem
pr get pl some thing pr come inside for get money too. Like

buks tasol ol man i no baim planti. I no gat planti man na

books only pl person pr not buy many. pr not have many person and

olsem ol i no baim planti buks na … mipela kisim ol beg

thus they pr not buy many books and … we get pl bags

samting bilong salim na kisim mani tu long dispela. Na

and other things for sell and get money too for this. And

planti man i bin komplen long dispela na ol [5] tok bookshop

many person pr past complain about this and they say bookshop

na wai na yupela salim ol kain kain samting insait tasol? Mipela i

and why and you pl sell pl kind kind thing inside only? We pr

tok, ‘I no gat rong long dispela. Mipela i salim ol samting bilong

say, ‘pr not have wrong with this. We pr sell pl thing for
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 199

kisim mani long helpim wok bilong Bikpela insait long provins.’
get money for help work of God inside province.’

TO: Hamas taim yu bin wok long bukshop?

How much time you past work in bookshop?

TJ: Mi stat wok long eiti faiv long Epril namba nain na inap dis yia
I start work in eighty five in April number nine and up to this year

mi wok yet. Ating wanpela yia bilong mi i stap nau na sampela

I work still. Perhaps one year for me pr be now and some


TO: Yu save laikim wok o nogat?

You hab like work or not?

TJ: Mi enjoim long wok long bukshop na salim ol kain kain buks
I enjoy work in bookshop and sell pl kind kind books

nabaut na ol planti kain nupela samting we i no stap long Manus

kinds of and pl many kind new thing which pr not be in Manus

mipela gat long buksop na planti man tu ol interes long

we have in bookshop and many person too they interest to

kam. Maski ol planti man iI komplen tasol stil gutpela samting

come. Although pl many person pr complain but still good thing

longen nau ol planti man i save kam. Na mi enjoim wok bilong

in it now pl many person pr hab come. And I enjoy work of

mi long bukshop. Salim ol buks i go long ol man na helpim ol

me in bookshop. Sell pl books pr go to pl person and help them

tu long tok bilong Bikpela.

too in talk of God.

TO: Na bipo yu stap long ples o long skul tasol?

And before you stay at village or in school only?
200 Tok Pisin Texts

TJ: Mi stap long … taim mi pinis long kolis mi kam long ples nau mi
I stay in … when I finish from college I come at village then I

stap tasol long ples na ol lain long wanem? … lotu bilong mipela
stay only at village and pl group in what? … church of us

ol i painim ol man long wok long bukshop nau na wanpela

they pr look for pl person for work in bookshop then and a

misinari bilong mipela I kam na tokim mi na em I kam kisim

missionary of us pr come and told me and he pr come get

mi. Eiti fo mi stap nating long ples, wan hol yia, eiti faiv
me. Eighty four I stay just in village, one whole year, eighty five

Epril nau ol i kam kisim mi na mi kam wok long bukshop.

April then they pr come get me and I come work in bookshop.

TO: Na laif long ples na laif long liklik taun olsem Lorengau i
and life in villages and life in small town like Lorengau pr

narakain. Na yu lukim wanem differens namel long tupela?

different. And you see what difference between two?

TJ: Laif long ples em save kain … kain bilong mipela long ples em mipela
Life in village it hab kind … kind of us in village it we

… taim bilong wok mipela i wok. Sapos no gat wok mipela i stap
… time for work we pr work. If not got work we pr stay

nating tasol. Na long taun em taim yu gat wok olsem moning yu

just only. And in town it when you have work like morning you

mas kirap na kam mekim wok na apinun go bek. Na sampela

must get up and come do work and afternoon go back. And some

we ol i … olsem ol i stap long sports na kain olsem ol i

who they pr … like they pr be in sports and kind like that they pr

go pilai. Na mipela sampela no gat … mipela stap nating em mipela

go play. And we some not have … we stay just that we
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 201

stap tasol. Wanem kain wok bilong haus mipela mekim mipela mekim,
stay only. What kind work of house we do we do,

no gat, mipela stap tasol. Na sampela nait em mipela save go mekim

not have, we stay only. And some night that we hab go do

feloship nabaut long lotu bilong mipela. So(?) [6] olsem long Baibel
fellowship kinds of in church of us. So like in Bible

stadi na kain olsem. Long nait mipela i gat ol grup feloship

study and kind like that. At night we pr have pl group fellowship

mipela save go atendim. Tasol long ples em i orait. Mi ting em i

we hab go attend. But in village that pr okay. I think it pr

orait bikos … long taun tu no gat planti wantok na mipela

okay because … in town too not have many relative/friend and we

stap tasol long haus na i no gutpela tumas na sapos mi go [7] long

stay only in house and pr not good very and if I go to

ples em kaikai pinis na go raun stori nabaut. Olsem em [8] kain

village that eat comp and go around yarn about thus that kind

bilong ples. Em nau.

of village. That then.

TO: Yu bin stap long ples tu bipo yu kam long taun long wok long
You past stay in village too before you come to town to work in


JP: Yes.

TO: Yu bin stap hamas taim long … long ples?

You past stay how much time at … at village?

JP: Mi stap olsem wan yia tasol long ples na bihain mi kam wok long
I stay like one year only in village and later I come work in
202 Tok Pisin Texts


TO: Na wanem tingting bilong yu long laif bilong ples na laif bilong …
And what thought of you about life of village and life of …

long taun?
in town?

JP: A, mi lukim difrens long tupela em wanpela samting em long ples

Ah, I see difference in two that one thing that in village

mipela i … mipela i fri oslem mipela i … i no gat taim we

we pr … we pr free like we pr … pr not have time that

bai mipela i olsem bihainim taim bilong gavman a? Olsem mipela

fut we pr like follow time of government eh? So we

i wok long laik bilong mipela. Na tu mi painim gutpela a

pr work according to wish of us. And too I look for good ah

… gutpela long mi stap long ples tu em i no gat raskol na olsem

… good for me stay in village too it pr not have raskol and like

ol bikpela problems olsem i save hepen long taun. I no save bisi

pl major problems like pr hab happen in town. pr not hab busy

tumas long … long ples olsem long taun planti kain kain man na ol
very in … in village like in town many kind kind person and pl

samting olsem.
thing like that.

TO: Raskol i kamap pinis long Lorengau?

Raskol pr emerge comp in Lorengau?

JP: Yes, kamap pinis. Olsem ol i save brek en enta long shops nabaut
Yes, emerge comp. Like they pr hab break and enter in shops round

na traim long repim ol meri. Tasol olsem long ples i no gat

about and try rape pl woman. But like that in village pr not have
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 203


TO: Na i gat geng tu long … long Lorengau?

And pr have gang too in … in Lorengau?

JP: I gat. I gat. I gat ol liklik grups i stap. Ol gengs we ol i

pr have. pr have. pr have pl small groups pr be. pl gangs that they pr

save mekim ol dispela pasin.

hab do pl this behaviour.

TO: Na sapos wanpela meri i laik wokabaut long nait i sef liklik
And if a woman pr want walk about at night pr safe a little

o i nogat?
or pr not?

JP: Mi no ting bikos long pastaim em i orait, em i sef, olsem ol

I not think because at first it pr okay, it pr safe, like pl

meri ken wokabaut long nait ol yet bat distaim mipela i

woman can walk about at night they themselves but now we pr

save harim long nius olsem a … ol manki save repim ol meri long
hab hear on news that ah … pl boys hab rape pl woman on

rot. So mi no ting em i sef tumas long ol meri wokabaut ol

road. So I not think it pr safe very for pl woman walk about they

yet long nait.

themselves at night.

TO: Na sapos yu laik wokabaut yu go wantaim planti meri o yu

And if you want walk about you go with many woman or you

wokim olsem wanem? O yu stap long haus tasol?

do like what? Or you stay in house only?

JP: O, sapos mi laik wokabaut long nait bai mi ken wokabaut wantaim
Oh, if I want walk about at night fut I can walk about with
204 Tok Pisin Texts

ol sampela frens bilong mi, olsem sampela ol brathas bilong mi. Sapos
pl some friends of me, like some pl brothers of me. If

nogat mi ken wokabaut wantaim ol planti meri. I no mi tasol.

not I can walk about with pl many woman. pr not me only.
Free translation:
TO: What’s your name?
TJ: My name is Terry Jumogot.
TO: What village are you from?
TJ: I’m from Loniu, a village on Los Negros Island in Manus Province.
TO: And how old are you?
TJ: I’m twenty-two years old.
TO: And what kind of a school did you go to? Tell us a bit about your
educational background.
TJ: In the very beginning, when I was still small, I went to the village
community school, and after that I went to a Catholic high school where
I did grade seven and grade eight. Later, I came to the provincial high
school on Manus, that’s Manus High School, and I did my grade nine
and grade ten there. And after that [cough] we did some … received
offers to go to the Highlands Agricultural College, and I was accepted
and went there for two years. That was in 1982 and 1983, and I
graduated with a certificate in tropical agriculture. Then I went home
and they got me to go and work in Chimbu, but my mother didn’t want
me to, and so I stayed in the village then. She thought that if I went the
Highlanders’d kill us or something similar and so she was afraid then
and said I couldn’t go so I stayed.
TO: What’s your name?
JP: My name’s Josephine Pondrilei.
TO: Where do you come from?
JP: I’m from Pere on the south coast of Manus.
TO: How old are you?
JP: I’m nineteen years old.
TO: Now tell us a bit about your educational background.
JP: Ah … I did ah … I went to school at a mission school where I did grade
one and beyond … up to grade six. Then I went to the ah … provincial
high school here in Lorengau. [There] I did grade seven up to grade nine
only, and then I thought that I’d come and find out about God, and so I
thought it would be good to serve God instead of acquiring more for
myself by going and pursuing my studies further. So I ran away from
school and went back to the village.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 205

TO: Now you’re in Lorengau. What kind of work do you do?

JP: I work in the Christian Bookshop.
TO: Tell us a little bit about this work. What kind of work you do.
JP: Oh, I, I’m a salesperson. I sell books and other items too to people and
… and I’m pleased with the work in this shop because I can be a witness
[for God] to the … the persons who come in [to the shop] while at the
same time serving God.
TO: Ah you work in the Christian Bookshop too, and do you do the same
work in it [as TJ] or is your work different?
TJ: The two of us just do the same kind of work. We sell different kinds of
religious books and some other things as well in here. It’s not just books
but clothes, bags and similar different kinds of things. We sell them too
to get money and to help our churches run well.
TO: But the name says it’s a bookshop. Why haven’t you changed it?
TJ: Aha, the name is ‘bookshop’, but we sell books, only books, and there
hasn’t been … we did make much money from that, and so we brought
in other things to get money too. People don’t buy many books. There
aren’t many people and so they don’t buy many books, and we got bags
and the like to sell and get money from them too. And lots of people
complain about this. They say [we call it a] bookshop yet we sell
different kinds of things inside. We reply that there’s nothing wrong with
that. We sell things to get money to help God’s work in the province.
TO: How long have you been working in the bookshop?
TJ: I started work in 1985 on April 9th and I’m still here. I guess it’s a year
and a few months.
TO: Do you like the work or not?
TJ: I enjoy working in the bookshop and selling different kinds of books and
many other kinds of new things which are not to be found in Manus and
which we have in the bookshop. And many people are interested in
coming too. Although many people complain there are still good things
in it and many people come. And I’m enjoying my work in the
bookshop, selling books and clothes to people and helping the word of
TO: And before you were just at home or at school?
TJ: I was in … when I finished college I went home, and then I was just
staying there and the members of what? … of our church group were
looking for people to work in the bookshop, and then one of our
missionaries came and spoke to me and he came and got me. During
1984 I was just staying in the village, for a whole year, and in April 1985
they came and got me and I came to work in the bookshop.
206 Tok Pisin Texts

TO: And life in the villages … and life in a small town like Lorengau is
different. And what differences do you see between the two?
TJ: Live in the village is usually kind of … our life in the village is … when
it’s time to work we work. If there’s nothing to do we just sit around
doing nothing. And in town when you have work you have to get up in
the morning and come and work and then go back in the afternoon. And
some, like those who engage in sports and similar things, go and play.
And some of us don’t have … we just stay, not doing anything in
particular. Whatever housework we have to do we do it. If we don’t have
any we just sit around doing nothing in particular. And sometimes at
night we go and have different kinds of fellowship within our church, for
example, Bible study and similar things. At night we have group
fellowships and we go and attend that. But it’s not bad in the village. I
think it’s okay because in town too there are not many relatives/friends
and we just stay in the house and it’s not very good. And if I go to/am
in(?) the village I go around yarning here and there after dinner. That’s
the way it is in the village. That’s the difference.
TO: You were at home in the village too before you came to town to work in
the bookshop?
JP: Yes.
TO: How long were you at … at home in the village?
JP: I was there for something like one year and then I came to work in the
TO: And what do you think about life in the village and life of … in town?
JP: I see differences between the two. One thing about being in the village is
we … we are free. We … there’s no such thing as having to do things
according to a government schedule, eh? We just work according to our
wishes. And I think it’s good ah … for me to be in the village, and that
there are no raskols and similar major problems like one finds in towns.
One’s not so busy in the village as one is in town and there’s not the
many different kinds of people and similar things one finds in the towns.
TO: Have raskols appeared in Lorengau?
JP: Yes, already. They break and enter shops around about and try to rape
women. But there’s none of that in the village.
TO: And there are gangs as well in Lorengau?
JP: There are. There are. There are small groups. Gangs which act like that.
TO: And if a woman wants to walk about at night is she reasonably safe or not?
JP: I don’t think so, because in the beginning it was okay, it was safe, so
women could walk about at night by themselves. Now we hear on the
news that ah … boys are raping women on the road. So I do not think
it’s very safe for women to walk about at night by themselves.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 207

TO: And if you want to walk about you go together with a lot of women, or
what do you do? Or do you just stay in the house?
JP: Oh, if I want to walk about at night I could go with some of my friends,
for example, my brothers. If I don’t have any I could go together with a
lot of women, not just on my own.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Although the speaker uses liklik here she does not mean that it is a small
village, liklik is used to contrast the place with the larger district name (such
as ‘Los Negros’ in this case).
[2] Loniu is actually on the south coast of Los Negros Island. The speaker uses
insait long here merely to refer to the fact that Loniu is on the island not in
its interior.
[3] This is very short and may be either a shortened form of na ‘and’ or is a
shortened form of ah, a hesitation form.
[4] Note the use of nabaut here and elsewhere. It modifies the noun and not
the verb and means ‘different kinds of’, which is normally expressed by kain
[5] Na ol is very brief and devoiced.
[6] What is said here is obscure but it sounds most like so.
[7] What is said here is also unclear. The recorder is of the opinion that it is
stap but others hear go.
[8] These two words are run together and not very clear.

Text 69: Narrative (SR)

This is a narrative of personal experience and the speaker is a twelve year old
boy from Madang. There are many English borrowings such as enjin, hospital
(cf. Tok Pisin haus sik), fain aut (cf. Tok Pisin painimautim), injekshin (cf. Tok
Pisin sut). Again broad phonetic transcription has been used to signal non-
standard pronunciations.

Mipla go lon Lig nau. ‘Pla go nau, mipla kambek, kambek lo ia

We exc go to Lig now. We exc go now, we exc come back, come back to here

nau. Balus, balus nogut na noe tri enjin Daglis. Mipla kam
now. Plane, plane no good and number three engine Douglas. We exc come
208 Tok Pisin Texts

noeu, wanpla enjin nogut nau. Mipla ron lo tu enjin toeshol kam noe
now, one engine no good now. We exc run on two engine only come now

mipla kham khamap loe ia. Nau, ‘anti blomi ol poisinim em nau. Em
we exc come come up at here foc. Now aunty of me they poison her now. She

sik nogut tru noe ol go lo, ol go lo hospitoel nau. Ol lae fainaut [1]
sick no good true now they go to, they go to hospital now. They want find out

wanem kain sik nae, no nap. Nau, ol go nau, ol putim em nau, ol

what kind illness now, neg able. Now, they go now, they put her now, they

loeik, wonim em, ol laeig giwi em injekshin nau. Ol gim em injekshin pinis
want, what it, they want giver her injection now. They give her injection comp

nau, ol tokim em lo slip. Neim silip nau. Moning em kirav nau.

now, they tell her to sleep. And she sleep now. Morning she get up now.

Hoem, ol la-, em orait, em go lo peles nau, ol shoempla lain krosim im.

And, they want, it alright, she go to village now, they same clan anger her.

Em nau, em kambek loe aus sik nau, em silip. Ol dokta tokim em, ‘yu
That now, she come back to hospital now, she sleep. pl doctor tell her, ‘you

silip. Inap tumoro.’ Noe im silip nau. Tumoro moning nau, em dai.
sleep. Till tomorrow.’ And she sleep now. Tomorrow morning now, she die.

Naeu mawa blomi arim nau, mam blomi i go lo Mosbi. N’em go lukim
And mother of me hear now, mother of me pr go to Moresby. And she go see

em nau. Ol, ol, wanim eya, pasta kam, em prei em finish nau. Ol
her now. They, they, what foc, pastor come, he pray he finish now. They

planim em nau, ma blomi kambek na em stori long mipla. Stori lo

bury her now, mother of me come back and she story to us exc. Story to

mipfloe na miplae, mipla sori nogut turu. Na miplae stap.

us exc and we exc, we exc sorry no good true. And we exc stop.
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 209

We went to Lig. We went and then we came back here. The plane was not
functioning. It was a three engine Douglas. We came and one engine was not
functioning, so we ran on only two engines and we landed here. Now my aunt,
who was poisoned, she was very sick. They went to the hospital now. They
wanted to find out what kind of illness she had, but they couldn’t. So they went
now, they put her in now. They wanted to give her an injection now. They gave
her an injection. They told her to sleep and she slept. In the morning she got up.
She was alright. She went to her village. Some of her relatives made her cross and
she came back to the hospital. She slept. The doctor told her, ‘you sleep until
tomorrow.’ She slept, then in the morning she died. My mother heard about it
and she went to Moresby. She went to see her. The pastors came. They prayed for
her and they buried her. My mother came back and told us. She told us and we
were very sorry. Now we’re here.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Normally painimaut is the expected form.

Text 70: Billy Goats Gruff (SR)

The speaker is an eleven year old girl from Madang, who was born in Port
Moresby. She speaks both her mother’s Tok Ples and Tok Pisin. This story is
notable for its use of code-switching into English to animate the dialogue of the
goats. The child heard this story in school in English.
Mi gat stori blo ‘Billy Goats Gruff’. Wanpla taim i gat tripla got [1], i gat
I got story of ‘Billy Goats Gruff’. One time pr got three goat pr got

mama got wantaim tupla pikinini blem, ol save stap antap lo wanpla
mother goat with two children of her, they hab stop on top of one

maunten na disla … wanem ia planti taim san i kam, planti taim san sa
mountain and this … what foc plenty time sun pr come, plenty time sun hab

kamap na draim gras. Na wanpla taim nau ol laik go painim kaikai, ol

come up and dry grass. And one time now they want go find food, they

laik go painim gras, na lo dislap ia i gat wanpla bris na andanit lo

like go find food, and in this place pr got one bridge and underneath of
210 Tok Pisin Texts

disla bris i gat wanpla trol sa sta andanit lem. Na trol ia i no

this bridge pr got one troll hab stop underneath of it. Now troll foc pr neg

sa laikim ol ol narapla man mas go antap pinis, go antap lo disla bris.

hab like them pl other man must go on top comp, go on top of this bridge.

Na disla liklik got ia, lasbon got em wokabaut i kam na disla trol ia
And this little goat foc, last born goat it walk pr come and this troll foc

kirap na em harim na em kirap na em tok, ‘who are you?’

get up and he hear and he get up and he say, ‘who are you?’

Em kirap na tok, liklik got ia kirap na tok ‘I am the small goat.’

He get up and say, little goat foc get up and say ‘I am the small goat.’

Na em kira na tok, ‘go away.’

And he get up and say, ‘go away.’

Na liklik got ia kira na siksti [2] tasol go lo hapsait. Em klop klop tasol
And little goat foc get up and sixty go to other side. He clop clop just

go. Na em go lo hapsait ia em kaikai gras i stap na bihain na sekan

go. and he go to other side foc he eat grass pr stop and later and second

got. Disla tin got ia i kam na em kira na em go antap lo wanem ia

goat. This thin goat foc pr come and he get up and he go on top of what foc

brij i go na trol ia kira na tok, ‘who are you?’

bridge pr go and troll foc get up and say, ‘who are you?’

Na em kira na tok, ‘I am the thin goat.’

And he get up and say, ‘I am the thin goat.’

Na disla thin got ia kira na trol ia kira na tok olsem. Trol ia kam
And this thin goat foc get up and troll foc get up and say thus. Troll foc come

ausait na raunim em go lo apsait ia em go apsait. Na las got i

outside and chase him go to other side and he go outside. And last goat pr

kam, ted got mama got i kam tasol, em wokabaut isi tasol go antap
come, third goat mother goat pr come only, she walk easy just go on top
VII. Urban Tok Pisin and the influence of English 211

na em kira na tok, ‘who are you?’

and he get up and say, ‘who are you?’

‘I am the fat goat.’

‘I am the fat goat.’

Em kam antap ia, em laik faitim [3] em, em laik fait na em kira na tok,
He come on top foc, he like hit her, he like hit and she get up and say,

‘OK kam, kam traim.’

‘OK come, come try.’

Em kam antap na tupla laik fait ia nogat, disla fat got ia em bampim em
He come on top and two like hit foc neg, this fat goat foc she bump him

na em go insaid lo wara na em wokabaut go antap lo hapsait na em

and he go inside of water and she walk go on top to other side and she

kaikai gras i stap. Disla trol ia i no sa sta andanit lo disla brij

eat grass pr stop. This troll foc pr neg hab stop underneath of this bridge

ia gen, em go pinis.
foc again, he go comp.
I’ve got a story about Billy Goats Gruff. Once upon a time there were three goats,
there was a mother goat and her two children. They lived on top of a mountain,
and there was plenty of sunshine and the sun dried the grass. Now, one time they
wanted to go looking for food. They wanted to look for grass. In this area there
was a bridge, and underneath this bridge there was a troll who stayed under it.
The troll did not like other animals. Other people had to walk over this bridge.
Now the little goat, the last born goat came and the troll got up. He heard him
and he said, ‘who are you?’ He said this, and the little goat said, ‘I am the small
goat’. Now the troll said, ‘go away’. Then the little goat raced over to the other
side. He went ‘klop klop’ as he went. So he went to the other side and was eating
grass and then came the second goat. This thin goat came and went onto the
bridge, and the troll said, ‘who are you?’ And he said, ‘I am the thin goat’. Now
the thin goat said this, and the troll came out and chased him over to the other
side. He went to the other side. Now the last goat came, the third goat, the
mother goat. She walked carefully onto the bridge and the troll said, ‘who are
you?’ ‘I am the fat goat.’ The troll came on top of the bridge and he wanted to
212 Tok Pisin Texts

fight with her, and she said, ‘OK, come on, try’. The troll came on top and the
two were about to start a fight, but the fat goat rammed him and he fell into the
water, and she went to the other side and was eating grass. After that the troll
didn’t stay under the bridge anymore. He went away for good.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The traditional term is meme, which may be onomatopoeic (cf. also Tolai
me (me), which may also be onomatopoeic).
[2] This is an expression taken from motoring (to go 60 miles an hour). It may
be used either with or without go or givim, e.g., em givim siksti long hapvait,
em go siksti long hapvait.
[3] The usual form is pait.
VIII. New written genres

Text 71: Newspaper articles, 1951

After the Second World War the government sponsored a number of local
newspapers in Tok Pisin; these were widely read and were extremely popular.
However, following unfavourable comments from visiting United Nations
experts, dissemination of printed materials in Tok Pisin was abandoned in the
mid-1950s. The following items were found in the Rabaul News of 20th January
Local and General:
Darius To Mamua i lusim Rabaul last [1] Tuesday, 16th January igo Talasea
Darius To Mamua pr leave Rabaul last Tuesday, 16th January pr go Talasea

long ship m.v. ‘Stradbrook’. Baimbai igo kesim family bilong em na

on ship m.v. ‘Stradbrook’. fut pr go fetch family of him and

baimbai [2] ikam bek gen Rabaul na baimbai igo teach long Keravat
fut pr come back again Rabaul and fut pr go teach at Kerevat

Education Centre.
Education Centre.

Last Tuesday, 16th January, tu(2)pela teachers ia tupela i lusim Rabaul long
Last Tuesday, 16th January, two teachers emph two pr leave Rabaul in

balus ‘Catalina’ baimbai tupela igo teach long Buin Education Centre em —
plane ‘Catalina’ fut two pr go teach at Buin Education Centre it (is)

William To Kanamet of Tavui wantem waif [3] bilong em na Peter To Urami

William To Kanamet of Tavui with wife of him and Peter To Urami
214 Tok Pisin Texts

of [4] Matupit.
of Matupit.

Akuila Tubal of Raluana i gerap igo Mioko last Wednesday, 17th January
Akuila Tubal of Raluana pr start pr go Mioko last Wednesday, 17th January

long sel bot. Baimbai em igo teach long Mioko Village Higher School.
in sailing boat. fut he pr go teach at Mioko Village Higher School.

Darius To Mamua left Rabaul last Tuesday the 16th of January and went to
Talasea on the ‘Stradbrook’. He will collect his family and return to Rabaul where
he will be teaching at the Kerevat Education Centre.
Last Tuesday, the 16th January, two teachers left Rabaul on the airliner ‘Catalina’.
They will teach at the Buin Education Centre. They are William To Kanamet of
Tavui and Peter To Urami of Matupit.
Akuila Tubal from Raluana went to Mioko Island in a sailing boat last
Wednesday, 17th of January. He will be teaching at the Mioko Village Higher
Village News:

Opim Niupela School House bilong Raluana Village Higher School

Opens New School House of Raluana Village Higher School

by K. Joe Tiotam, Teacher-In-Charge

Next wik long Friday, 26th January, 1951 baimbai oli opim niupela School
Next week on Friday, 26th January, 1951 fut they open new School

House long Raluana Village Higher School. Long despela dei baimbai igat ol
House at Raluana Village Higher School. On this day fut pr exist pl

Village Choirs [5] na ol School Choirs oli sing long morning, na long
Village Choirs and pl School Choirs they sing in morning, and in

avinun baimbai i gat bigpela singsing namel long ologeta people long
afternoon fut pr exist big dance among of all people of
VIII. New written genres 215

Raluana wantem ol school boys [5] na girls. Nanga-Nanga Village Council em

Raluana with pl school boys and girls. Nanga-Nanga Village Council it

i singaut long sampela school baimbai oli kam kamap tu wantem ol choirs
pr invite prep some school fut they come arrive too with pl choirs

na singsing bilong ol long despela dei. Em neim bilong ol despela school

and dance of them on this day. emph name of pl this school

ia istap hia daon below:

emph are here down below:

Toma …
Toma …
‘A new schoolhouse will be opened at Raluana Village Higher School’
Next week, on Friday 26th January 1951, a new schoolhouse will be opened at
Raluana Village Higher School. On this day the village choirs and school choirs
will sing in the morning and in the afternoon there will be a big celebration for all
the villagers and the boys and girls of Raluana School.
The Nanga Nanga village council have invited a number of schools to come with
their choirs and join the celebrations on this day. Here are the names of the
schools that have been invited: Toma …
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This text is characterised by numerous English spellings and items bor-
rowed from English. At the time it was thought that by doing this Tok Pisin
could be brought closer to English and eventually merged with it. This
deliberate policy of the Rabaul News and similar publications promoted the
development of anglicized urban varieties of Tok Pisin and the gap between
urban and rural speakers of the language.
[2] Note that the full form baimbai is chosen as the future marker rather than
a reduced version such as bambai or bai, which were also around in spoken
Tok Pisin at the time.
[3] An early attempt to get rid of the undesirable connotations of meri ‘indige-
nous woman’.
[4] The introduction of the English preposition here leads to greater variability
of Tok Pisin rather than a new form which is consistently closer to English.
Note that bilong ‘of ’ continues to be used elsewhere in this text.
216 Tok Pisin Texts

[5] Note the introduction of the plural ending -s in loan words such as ‘choir’
and ‘boy’. The preservation of the original plural marker ol before the noun
phrase leads to greater redundancy.

Text 72: A letter to the Editor, 1971

Whereas most early newspapers did not publish readers’ letters, and apparently
did not get much feedback from their readers, Wantok Niuspepa, published
fortnightly from the late 1960s, made a much greater impact. A couple of pages
of readers’ letters are found in most issues and many more unpublished letters
were received by the editors of Wantok. Here follows an example of an unpub-
lished letter written in June 1971, which illustrates the considerable linguistic
and stylistic sophistication of its writer, as well as the writer’s awareness of social
and political issues.
4th June 1971

Dear Edita,
Dear Editor,

Mi laik toktok liklik long wanpela samting ino stret long eye bilong mi.
I want talk little bit about one item pr not correct in eyes of me.

Mi lukim planti yangpela meri oli save pulim tang, long taim oli lukim
I see many young women they hab stick out tongue, at time they see

yangpela boys. Dispela ino mi wanpela tasol lukim? Nogat, planti manmeri
young boys. This pr not me alone only see (it)? No way, many people

bilong olgeta ples oli save lukim dispela pasin bilong pulim tang.
from all places they hab see this fashion of sticking out tongue.

Tasol mi lukim long ai bilong me ino stret tru. Pasin bilong

But I see with eye of me pr not correct at all. Fashion of

pulim tang i gat planti as i stap long pulim tang. Emi

sticking out tongue pr got many reasons pr exist for sticking out tongue. It
VIII. New written genres 217

gutpela long pulim tang na mekim pani long man i ken lukim na
good to stick out tongue and make fun of man pr can look (at it) and

lap long em. Tasol sampela pulim tang long paulim man tasol [1]. Mi
laugh about it. But some stick out tongue to corrupt man only. I

tok sapos oli pulim tang olsem, bai kandri bilong yumi ino
say: if they stick out (their) tongue like this, then country of us inc pr not

inap kisim self gavaman. Bilong wanem? Dispela kain pasin i save
able get self government. Why? This kind (of) fashion pr hab

brukim lo bilong gavaman na lo bilong mission. Dispela kain pasin

break law of government and law of mission. This kind (of) fashion

oli brukim namba 6 kamament. Mi no sutim tok [2] long yupela

they break 6th commandment. I not shoot talk at you pl

olgeta brukim 6 kamament, mi tu mi save brukim 6 kamament.

everyone breaks 6th commandment, I too I hab break 6th commandment.

Mi laik wan tok ken ridim dispela tok bilong mi. Na yupela ken printim long
I want friends can read this talk of mine. And you pl can print (it) in

Wantok News. Mi tok oli meri traiim na isi liklik long pulim
Wantok News. I say pl women try and easy a bit on sticking out

tang. Em tasol.
tongue. That’s all.
Dear Editor,
I would like to comment on something which I do not feel is correct: I see many
young women (constantly) sticking out their tongues everytime they see young
boys. I am not the only one who sees this, no way. Many people from all places
continually see this fashion of sticking out the tongue. But I feel that this is not
correct at all. There are many reasons for sticking the tongue out. It is good to
stick the tongue out and make fun of man, to look (at it) and laugh about it. But
some only stick tongues out to corrupt men. I say: if they stick out their tongues
like this, then our country is not able to govern itself. Why? This kind of habit
breaks the law of the government and the mission. This kind of habit breaks the
218 Tok Pisin Texts

6th commandment. I do not accuse you: everyone breaks the 6th commandment,
I too often break the 6th commandment. I want friends to read what I say. And
you can print this in Wantok News. I think women should try to ‘go easy’ on
sticking out their tongues. That’s all.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] In some areas of Papua New Guinea sticking out one’s tongue is an invita-
tion to intimacies.
[2] Sutim tok, literally ‘to shoot talk at’ means ‘to accuse’.

Text 73: An official letter (SR)

An official letter from the Assistant Secretary of Local Government to the

District Governor. For the most part this text employs standard spelling. There
are occasional variants such as opis/ofis (standard Tok Pisin: opis), and angli-
cisms such as thenkiu ‘thank you’. The future form baimbai is archaic. The more
usual form is bai.
Dia Gavana,
Dear Governor,

Mi kisim maus bilong Siaman na Komiti bilong Morobe Provins

I get mouth of chairman and committee of Morobe province

Risets Komiti na i laik tok save olsem long yia 1986 na 1987 sampela
research committe and pr want advise thus in year 1986 and 1987 some

ol wok man/meri wantaem profesa Suzanne Romaine bilong Butibam.

pl employees male/female with Professor Suzanne Romaine of Butibam.

Dipela i kam bilong ol lain visita em long mekim sampela wok painim aut
This pr come of pl group visitor it for do some work find out

long tok pisin long las ten yia insait long Morobe provins na Papua
about Tok Pisin in last 10 year inside of Morobe Province and Papua

Niugini olgeta. Mi askim yu long toksave long ol pipol bilong ples

New Guinea altogether. I ask you to advise to pl people of village
VIII. New written genres 219

Butibam long ol i mas save olsem dispela wok bai i kamap olsem na
Butibam that they pr must know that this work fut pr come up thus and

mi askim long ol i ken givim sampela helpim i go long dispela ol visita.

I ask that they pr can give some help pr go to this pl visitor.

Dispela ofis wantaim Huon Distrik Ofis bai tok save moa long taim ol i
This office with Huon District Office fut advise more at time they pr

kamap long Morobe provins.

come up in Morobe Province.

Thenkiu long helpim bambai yu wantaem pipol bilong yu i ken givim.

Thank you for help fut you with people of you pr can give.

Mi bilong yupela.
I of you pl.
Dear Governor,
I have heard from the Chairman of the Morobe Province Research Committee,
who wants to announce that in the years 1986 and 1987 some researchers with
Professor Suzanne Romaine will come and stay with the people of Butibam
Village. The visitors are coming to do some research to find out about Tok Pisin
in the last ten years inside Morobe Province and Papua New Guinea. I am asking
you to inform the people of Butibam in order that they know that this work will
take place and I would ask that they give some help to these visitors. This office
together with the Huon District Office will give you further information when
they come to Morobe Province. Thank you for the help which you and the people
can give. Yours.

Text 74: An official letter (SR)

Letter from the Headman of a village in the Kabwum District, Morobe Prov-
This text contains non-standard spellings: e.g., disal (dispela), olisem
(olsem), turu (tru), as well as variations such as (h)amamas ‘to be happy’ and
anglicisms such as ‘thank you’ (thenkyu).
220 Tok Pisin Texts

Diar Mrs. Suzane Romaine

Dear Mrs. Suzanne Romaine

Hollow na gut de long yutupela. Mi hamamas tru long taim yutupela

hello and good day to you two. I happy true at time you two pl

raun long papua newguinea na i go kamap stret asples bilong yutupela

round in Papua New Guinea and pr go come up just home of you two

long England na bekim pas wantaim poto bilong ples Musep. Mipela bin
in England and send letter with photo of village Musep. We exc past

lukim pinis na hamamas tru long yutupela i stap naispela poto. Yes,
look comp and happy true at you two pr stop nice photo. Yes

tupela mi gat bikpela hamamas long yutupela na raitim pas i kam hariap
two I got big happiness at you two and write letter pr come hurry

tasol i no gat stamp olsem na mi i stap longpela taim i go pinis na nau

but pr neg got stamp thus and I pr stop long time pr go comp and now

mi rait i kam. Mi salim desal 2-pela bilum i kam olisem mi amamasim

I write pr come. I send this two bilum pr come thus I happy

yutupela lukim desala pas orait bekim bek [1] pas bilong mi na mi lukim.
you two see this letter alright send back letter of me and I see.

Em tasol. Na em mi salim laik bilong mi i kam long yutupela. Olisem mi

That all. And if I send wish of me pr come to you two. Thus I

save sot long en. Mi gat bikpela laik i stap long tupela samting.
hab short of it. I got big wish pr cont for two something

No. 1. Radio cassette No. 2. Handwatch. [2] Salim 2pela samting bilong mi i
No. 1. radio cassette No. 2. Handwatch. Send two something of me pr

kam. Mi bai hamamas turu long lukim tupela samting bilong mi. Thank you
come I fut happy true to see two something of me. Thank you

tru. Blessing bilong God i stap wantaim yutupela oltaim tru.

true. Blessing of God pr stop with you two always true.
VIII. New written genres 221

Mi S. S. [3]
I S. S.

Hetman Musep Village.

Headman Musep Village.
Dear. Mrs Suzanne Romaine,
Hello and good day to you both. I was very happy when you were both here in
Papua New Guinea, and now you’ve gone back to your own place in England and
sent a letter with some photos of Musep. We looked at them and are very happy
with the nice photos. Yes, I’m very happy and I wanted to send you a letter
quickly but I didn’t have a stamp, so a long time has passed, and now I’m writing
to you. I sent two bilums, and now I hope that you two will look at this letter and
send back a letter for me to look at. Now something else. I’m sending a request to
you two for some things that I lack. I have a great wish for two things. No. 1: a
radio cassette. No. 2: a handwatch. Send these two things to me. I will be happy
to receive these two things. Thank you very much. May God’s blessing be with
you two always.
I, S. S. Headman, Musep Village.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The use of bek here is redundant and is not typical.
[2] This is a calque from Tok Pisin hanwas (‘hand’ + ‘watch’): ‘wristwatch’.
[3] This is another common way of closing a letter.

Text 75: Letter from the wife of a schoolteacher in the Kabwum District

This letter shows fewer instances of non-standard spellings than Text 74.
Among the notable variants are: desala (dispela), traipela (draipela), wantaem
Dear Suzanne,
Dear Suzanne,

Hello na gutpela de long yutupela wantaem long desala hap ples wea
hello and good day to you two together in this part place where
222 Tok Pisin Texts

yutupela i stap long en. Gutde gen long yutupela. Pastaem bai mi tok
you two pl pr stop in it. Good day again to you two pl. First fut I say

traipela tok hamamas na tenkiu bilong mi long yupela i no lusim

big speech happy and thank you of me for you pl pr neg lost

ting long mi. Tu long en tenkiu gen long ol poto yutupela bin
thought of me. Also for it thank you again for pl photo you two past

salim i kam em mi lukim na mi hamamas tumas long en. Bai mi tok

send pr come it I look and I happy too much about it. fut I say

olsem. Mi no bin bungim wanpela poromeri [1] olsem yutupela bipo,

thus I neg past meet one friend woman thus you two before

nogat. Yutupela em mi save tokim man bilong mi olsem. Tupela em namba

neg. You two it I know say man of me thus. Two it number

wan promeri bilong mi na mi no inap lus ting long tupela inap mi

one friend woman of me and I neg able lost thought of two until I

dai. Bilong wanem! Yutupela bin pren gut tru long mi na save raitim
die. For what! You two past friend good true of me and hab write

pas long mi oltaem. Yes, tupela pren bilong mi. Mi gat laik long poto bilong
letter to me always. Yes two friend of me. I got wish for photo of

tupela man bilong yutupela. Inap long yutupela salim i kam o nogat. Mi
two man of you two. Able to you two send pr come or neg. I

bai hamamas tru long yutupela sapos yutupela harim mi. Long dispela taem
fut happy true with you two if you two hear me. At this time

hia long Indagen, mipela i gat traipela san, na olgeta gras i drai nau inap
here in Indagen, we exc pr got big sun, and all grass pr dry now for

1 1/2 mun. Sampela skul i klos long sotpela taem inap ren i kam, na
1 1/2 month. Some school pr close for short time with rain pr come, and

mipela i skul yet i stap. Ating mipela tu bai lusim skul bihain taem
we exc pr school still pr stop. Perhaps we exc too fut leave school after time
VIII. New written genres 223

inap ren i kam. Ating em tasol, bai mi lusim yutupela inap hia.
able rain pr come. Perhaps that all fut I leave you two until here.

Gutde na gutbai tupela pren bilong mi. Mi bilong yutupela [2]. Elidah.
Good day and goodby two friend of me. I of you two. Elidah.
Dear Suzanne,
Hello and good day to you two and to the place where you both are. Good day
again to you both. First I’d like to say many thanks and how happy I am that you
haven’t forgotten me. And thank you for the photos you both sent. I looked at
them and I am very happy with them. Now I want to say something else. I
haven’t met friends like you two before, never. I told my husband this about you
two. These two are number one friends of mine. I won’t forget you two until I
die. Why! You two have been good friends to me and write letters to me all the
time. Yes, my two friends. I’d like a photo of your husbands. Can you send this to
me? I’ll be very happy if you hear me. Here in Indagen now we have a very hot
sun and the grass has been dry for 1 1/2 months. Some schools are closed for a
short while until the rain comes but we are still in session. But I think we’ll stop
school too later, unless rain comes. That’s all for now. I’ll leave you two here.
Good day and goodbye, my two friends. Yours, Mrs Elidah.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This is the female equivalent of poroman.
[2] This is a common closing formulae for letters.

Text 76: Letter from a houseboy in Lae (SR)

This is an example of a letter written by a houseboy with little formal education.

The most notable feature is the variation between [r] and [l] characteristic of
this man’s spoken Tok Pisin, which manifests itself in non-standard spellings
such as peres (cf. ples), tzsor (cf. tzsol).
Dear Juzanne,
Dear Suzanne,

Yu hamamas long go bek long peres bilong yu na ol lain bilong yu i stap

You happy to go back to place of you and pl family of you pr stop
224 Tok Pisin Texts

i oret tasor. Mi na Julie na 2-pela pikinin i stap gut tasor. Nest year Jane
pr alright just. I and Julie and two children pr stop gut just. Next year Jane

bai go bek lon fri school ken. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.
fut go back to free school again. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year.

By Ben & Julie.

By Ben and Julie.
Dear Suzanne,
You are happy to go back to your own place now and [I hope] all your relatives
are well. I and Julie and our two children are fine. Jane will go back to school
again next year. Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year. Ben and Julie.

Text 77: A letter to the Editor, 1980s

Readers’ letters to Wantok are edited before they are printed and these are
standardized for the most part. Idiosyncratic spellings, in particular, are edited
out. English terms such as ‘show-off’ are phonologically adapted.
So-op bilong memba i no isi
Show-off of member pr neg easy

Dia Edita,
Dear Editor,

liklik toktok bilong mi i go olsem: Ol memba i mekim olsem, taim ol i

little story of me pr go thus: pl member pr make thus, time they pr

laik kisim vot ol i olsem liklik pikinini i save krai long susu. Em olsem nau
want get vote they pr thus little children pr hab cry for milk. It thus now

ol i kisim vot taim [ol i go long palamen], man ol i kamap olsem

they pr get vote time [they pr go to parliament], man they pr come up like

man mama i no bin karim ol. Na wanpela samting em mi lukim stret

man mother pr neg past carry them. And one something it I see just
VIII. New written genres 225

long ol memba em so-op bilong ol i no isi. Mi lukim long ai bilong

in pl member it show off of them pr neg easy. I see with eye of

mi stret hia long Mosbi. Mi no toktok long ol palamen memba tasol,

me just here in Moresby. I neg speak about pl parliament number only,

nogat. Ol provinsal memba tu. Na em mi tok long ol Hailans. Memba

neg. pl provincial member too. And he I speak of pl Highlands. Member

bilong mi Mista Pundia Kange em i save mekim gut long mipela na long
of me Mr Pundria Kange he pr hab make good for us exc and for

ples tu. Na em i save baim balus tiket [1] tu taim mipela i save i go
village too. And he pr hab buy plane ticket too when we exc pr hab pr go

i kam long balus. Em gutpela tru na em i save helpim ol pipel tu. Na

pr come on plane. It good true and he pr hab help pl people too. And

dispela memba em Kristen man. Em i no save kaikai buai, pulim smok

this member he Christian man. He pr neg hab chew betelnut, pull smoke

na dring bia. Em wanpela gutpela man. Olgeta toktok bilong em i swit moa.
and drink beer. He one good man. All talk of him pr sweet more.

Na mi ritim dispela Wantok Nius em olsem sampela ol Hailans memba ol

And I read this Wantok News it thus some pl Highlands member they

i mekim pasin i no stret tumas. Pinis [2].

pr make custom pr neg straight too much. Finish.
Dear Editor,
my little story goes like this: the members behave like this when they want to get
votes, they are like little children who cry for milk. Then when they get the vote
and go to parliament they behave as if they were not born of women [just like
ordinary people]. Now one thing I’ve observed among the members is the way
they show off. I see it right here in Moresby with my own eyes. I’m not just
talking about parliament members, no, provincial members too. Now the one
I’m going to talk about is from the Highlands Province. My member is Mr
Pundia Kange. He does well by us and the village too. He buys air tickets too for
when we come and go by plane. He is very good and he helps the people too. This
226 Tok Pisin Texts

member is a Christian man. He doesn’t chew betelnut, smoke or drink beer. He’s
one good man. All his words are sweet. But now I’ve read Wantok [to find out]
that some of the Highlands members engage in behavior which is not
appropriate. Finish.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The usual expression is baim balus. The term balus comes from Tolai and
means ‘pigeon’. The usual term for ‘bird’ in Tok Pisin is pisin.
[2] This is a common closing formulae for stories and letters.

Text 78: Sports report from Wantok Niuspepa

After the Second World War, Tok Pisin newspapers began, and these and other
periodicals proliferated in the 1970s, e.g., Bougainville Nius, Nius bilong yumi,
etc., but most ceased after only a few issues and did not survive after indepen-
dence. Nu Gini Toktok, the first of these papers, was published weekly in Rabaul
and ran from 1962–1970. It was originally the Pidgin English News and was
published as a weekly supplement to The Lae New Guinea Times Courier.
Perhaps the most important of these periodicals is the weekly newspaper,
Wantok (a term meaning literally ‘one talk’, but used more generally to refer to
someone speaking the same language, a friend). It was founded in 1967 by the
Catholics, and appears only in Tok Pisin. It has a circulation of over 10,000 with
more than 50,000 readers in Papua New Guinea. It has published since 1970
and its staff is constituted entirely of nationals. Wantok aims at the rural,
colloquial Tok Pisin speaking population. Despite this, many rural people
complain that the language is too anglicized and difficult for them to under-
stand. However, a study by Romaine (1988) indicates that at least in terms of its
syntactic norms Wantok is closer to the spoken language than other written
texts such as Nupela Testamen, Save na Mekim and the Konstitusen. Most of the
occurences of bai are, for instance, preverbal (63%), as they are in the spoken
language, and predicate marking is more in line with the norms of rural
Mormads Kwin Bilong Madang
Mormads Queen of Madang

Madang gret netbal gran painal I kamap namel long tupela strongpela
Madang great netball grand final pr come up middle of two strong
VIII. New written genres 227

tim; Mormads na Fly. Mormad i wok long go pas long Madang Netbal
team; Mormad pl and Fly. Mormad pr prog at go ahead of Madang netball

long stat bilong sisen I go inap long gren painal, taim ol i winim tim
at start of season pr go until to grand final, time they pr beat team

bilong Fly. Fly tu i save pilai strongpela gem long olgeta taim na ol i save
of Fly. Fly too pr hab play strong game of all time and they pr hab

stap long seken ples inap ol i kamap namba tu long gren painal. Long
stop in second place until they pr come up number two in grand final. In

dispela gren painal bilong tupela tim ya, Mormads i win taim ol i givim
this grand final of two team foc, Mormads pr win when they pr give

29 gol bilong Fly. Ful taim skoa bilong dispela gem em, Mormads 29, na Fly
29 goal of Fly. Full time score of this game it, Mormads 29, and Fly

15. Em nau, ol meri long Madang husat i save skrap long pilai i mas
15. So, pl woman of Madang who pr hab scrape at play pr must

lukluk long arapela kain pilai olsem, sofbal o soka. Basketbal i pinis nau
look to other kind play thus, softball or soccer. Basketball pr finish now

wantaim netbal na ating ol meri i mas pilai wantaim plet, kap na

with netball and perhaps pl woman pr must play with plate, cup and

spun liklik pastaim na wetim neks yia.

spoon little first and wait next year.
Mormads are the Queens of Madang
In Madang the netball grand final between two strong teams has taken place:
Mormads and Fly. The Mormads have gone ahead in Madang netball from the
beginning of the season until the grand final when they beat the Fly team. The Fly
team too has been playing a strong game and now they stand in second place
since they were runners-up in the grand final. In this grand final the Mormads
won when they took 29 goals from the Fly team. The final score of the game was:
Mormads 29 and Fly 15. So now the Madang women who long to play will have
to look to other kinds of games like softball or soccer. Basketball has finished now
228 Tok Pisin Texts

along with netball, and perhaps the women will play with plates, cups and spoons
while they wait for next year.

Text 79: Report of the week from Wantok Niuspepa

This text illustrates a report of national news in Tok Pisin from Wantok
Ripot Bilong Dispela Wik
Report of this week


Fonde Ogas 19 – Praim Minista, Michael Somare i tok save long planti
Thursday August 19 – Prime Minister, Michael Somare pr inform to plenty

olpela minista long lusim haus bilong ol. Sir Julius Chan tu i mas lusim
former minister to lose house of them, Sir Julius Chan too pr must lose

haus bilong em long Konedobu na kisim narapela haus. Sapos ol i no

house of him at Konedobu and get other house. If they pr neg

lusim haus hariap, Gavman yet bai rausim ol. Air Niugini i
lose house quickly, Government emph fut evict them. Air New Guinea pr

tokaut olsem ol i kisim K454,000 (K454 tausen) profitmani long yia

announce thus they pr get K454,000 (K454 thousand) profit in year



Tunde Ogas 24 – Papua Niugini i no inap kisim gutpela prais long

Tuesday August 24 – Papua New Guinea pr neg able to get good price for

kopi. Long wanem tupela ovasis kantri, Brasil na Kolombia i resis [1] long
coffee. For what two overseas country, Brazil and Colombia pr race at
VIII. New written genres 229

winim olgeta kantri long kisim bikpela mani long kopi bilong ol. Praim
beat all country to get big money for coffee of them. Prime

Minista, Michael Somare i go daun long Australia. Em i laik kisim 10-pela

Minister, Michael Somare pr go down to Australia. He pr want get 10

de malolo [2] wantaim famili bilong em. Foapela arapela wokman bilong
day rest with family of him. Four other employees of

Gavman bai go wantaim ol.

government fut go with them


Trinde Ogas 25 – Memba bilong Yangoru – Saussia, John Jaminan i

Wednesday August 25 – Member of Yangoru – Saussia, John Jaminan pr

lusim K200 belmani long Maun Hagen Distrik Kot na go ausait. Kot
lose K200 bail money in Mount Hagen District Court and go out. Court

bilong em bai kamap gen long Septemba 22. Komes Minista bilong las
of him fut come up again on September 22. Commerce Minister of last

Is Sepik Provinsal Gavman, Petrus Wafi i kalabus long tupela mun.

East Sepik Provincial Government, Petrus Wafi pr jail for two month.

Plis i tok em i bin paulim K4,500 bilong Provinsal Gavman namel

Police pr say he pr past misuse K4,500 of Provincial government middle

long mun Oktoba na Disemba las yia.

of month October and December last year.
Thursday August 19. The Prime Minister, Michael Somare, has informed a
number of former ministers that they will have to leave their houses. Sir Julius
Chan too will have to leave his house in Konedobu and will get another house. If
they don’t leave their houses quickly, the Government will remove them. Air
Niugini has announced that they took 454,000 Kina in profit in the year 1981.
Tuesday August 24. Papua New Guinea cannot get a good price for its coffee,
because two overseas countries, Brazil and Columbia, are in competition to get
other countries to pay high prices for their coffee. The Prime Minister, Michael
230 Tok Pisin Texts

Somare, will go to Australia. He wants to spend 10 days on holiday with his

family. Four other Government employees will go with them.
Wednesday 25 August. The member representing Yangoru-Saussia, John
Jaminan, has left the area and lost 200 Kina in bail in the Mount Hagen District
Court. His case will come up again on the 22nd September. The Commerce
Minister in the last East Sepik Provincial Government, Petrus Wafi, has been
jailed for two months. The police said that he had misused 4,500 Kina belonging
to the Provincial Government between the months of October and December last

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] From the English plural form ‘races’. Can be used as a noun or verb.
[2] From kuamia meaning ‘forest’.

Text 80: Traim Paspas, a stage play in Tok Pisin

The play, Traim Paspas, was devised and performed by members of the Papua
New Guinea University of Technology (Unitech) Kas Theatre Group. Presented
below is an extract from Scene 4: ‘Meri tru, o?’ compiled by Geoff Smith
(1986MS). It is based on traditional stories from Western Province and songs
and dances from various parts of Papua New Guinea and the Solomons. The
original ideas were loosely based on ancient folktales collected from the mouth
of the Fly River some 70 years ago by the anthropologist Gunnar Landtmann
(1918). The stories were dramatised and combined with songs and dances
which the members of the group know from their own areas and taught to
other members. This is in the ‘folk opera’ style developed so effectively by the
Goroka-based Raun Raun Theatre, which had a great influence on the group.
Members of the group were students and staff at Unitech, together with
some students from Busu High school and other young people living in Lae.
Rehearsals and performances were held during spare time. Although an
amateur group, it was possible to present performances in a variety of locations,
such as schools and public halls around Lae and also at Ramu Sugar, Madang,
Aiyura, Goroka and Mount Hagen. The object of the activity was mainly to have
fun, but also to play a small part in the preservation of cultural traditions in the
country among students engaged in modern technological studies.
The group was originally started at Unitech by Jeff Siegel, who was then a
lecturer in the Department of Language and Social Science. Much assistance
VIII. New written genres 231

was received from Ms Jill Tuno at Busu High School, with the full support of
the then headmaster Nigel Stanley. Members of the group who played a major
part in improvising and developing dialogues and songs or dance sequences in
Traim Paspas were Maran Nateleo, Isaac Teo, Bernard Jacob, Hilda Roy, Patu
Arataung, Nua Maino, Sewa Somod, Lopia Laima, Peter Kozap, Moses Mewi,
Anita Nata, Albert Tibong, Paul Waabu, Ambi Laulabu, Ambrose Amamene,
Bryan Kambakdu, Dayamo Stephen and Lawrence Parry. Others who took part
or otherwise contributed to the productions included Carlson Akunaii, Eliza-
beth Alaung, Michael Aniyeli, John Bon, Lina Glaso, Jenon Dasus, Puna Forof,
Genga Garoa, Janet Jokin, Margaret Kahata, Norman Kerbon, John Lawrence,
Margaret Manoka, Zau Masani, Giwi Nagong, Bakanu Namus, Efen Ngasing,
Daison Nili, Fufi Omot, Bawana Pakaia, Peter Pokana, Steven Ronald, Renji
Sikiri, Elizabeth Singalong, Thomas Sausemaira, Mala Stephen, Tune Taitas and
Enom Timai.
Smith (1986MS) makes the following observations about staging such a
It is important to realise that this script can be modified, and should not be
regarded as fixed and unchanging. It is probably much more productive to
start with a situation and produce the words and actions from this as they arise
rather than to attempt to learn lines exactly. When performing Kas Theatre did
not follow a script, but improvised dialogues from situations rehearsed. In this
way the dialogue was more fluent and natural than attempts to follow exact
scripts. The script presented here is based on this type of improvisation, and is
only one of many possible interpretations. The dialogue is in Tok Pisin, which
is the language that most people in the group felt at home with for the purpos-
es of improvisation. There is considerable regional variation in Tok Pisin, and
some of the idioms used here may not be familiar in other areas of the country.
It would be a challenging and worthwhile teaching exercise to attempt the play
or some part of it in English. Other songs and dances of an appropriate style
can, of course, be substituted for those included here. Generally, the more of
the story presented in music and dance, the more interesting the result.

Extract from SCENE 4: MERI TRU, O?

Woman true, or?

(An old man and his son and daugher are seated. The daugher is weaving a
pandanus mat which covers the lower half of her body.)

OLD MAN: Aiyee, mi bagarap long simok, ia.

Aiyee, I spoil for smoke foc
232 Tok Pisin Texts

YOUNG MAN: Mi tu ia, mi laik simok tu.

I too foc I want smoke too.

OLD MAN: Olgeta simok pinis. Mi painim brus [1] nogat ia.
All smoke comp. I look for tobacco neg foc.

Man… Pikinini — lukim basket bilong mi.

Man Child — look basket of me.

Simok i stap o?
Smoke pr stop or?

YOUNG MAN: Nogat ia. Pinis longtaim.

neg foc comp long time.

OLD MAN: Ating yu stilim liklik hap na holim iet.

I think you steal little piece and hold emph.

YOUNG MAN: Nogat ia, long moning tru yu kirap na painim simok.
neg foc, in morning true you get up and look for smoke.

Olgeta i pinis.
All pr comp.

(NOVARE and BADIBA enter)

NOVARE: Papa — tupela man.

Papa — two man.

(They stay some distance away, a bit suspicious of one another.)

BADIBA: Gutde yupela.

Good day you pl.

YOUNG MAN: Gutde tru.

Good day true.

OLD MAN: Yupela gat brus a? [2]

You pl have tobacco interr?
VIII. New written genres 233

BADIBA: Brus a? Yu tok long brus? Em bun bilong

Tobacco interr? You speak of tobacco? It bone of

mipela stret. Hia, yu kisim sampela.

us exc straight. Here you take some.

OLD MAN: Yupela kam sindaun. (They come and sit and smoke)
You pl come sit down.

Na yupela painim wanem?

And you pl look for what

BADIBA: Mitupela lusim ples ia, yu lukim, long hapsait long

We two inc leave village foc, you see, over other side of

traipela maunten.
big mountain.

YOUNG MAN: Tasol yupela painim wanem?

But you pl look for what?

NOVARE: Mi — mi painim wanpela meri.

I — I look for one woman.

YOUNG MAN: Susa [3], yu harim a?

Female sibling, you hear interr?

GIRL: (Looking excited) Yes, mi harim.

Yes I hear.

NOVARE: (To BADIBA) Papa — em luk olsem naispela meri ia —

Papa — she looks like nice woman foc —

mi gat laik long en.

I have desire for her.

NOVARE: (To YOUNG MAN) Em susa bilong yu?

She female sibling of you?

YOUNG MAN: Em ia. Susa bilong mi i sindaun kranki.

She foc. Female sibling of me pr sit down crooked.
234 Tok Pisin Texts

NOVARE: (To GIRL) Yu lukim mi na lewa bilong mi i kalap long

You see, me and heart of me pr jumps at

lewa bilong yu.

heart of you.

YOUNG MAN: (To GIRL) Em i tok long yu ia.

He pr speak to you foc.

GIRL: Ating mi gat bikpela laik longen tu ia.

Perhaps I have big desire for him too foc.

BADIBA: Pikinini, no ken lusim tingting — traim paspas.

Child not can lose thought — try armband.

NOVARE: Meri, putim dispela samting long han bilong yu.

Woman, put this something on arm of you.

GIRL: (Takes it then drops it) Ai, em i hat ia. Yu putim long paia
Ai, it pr hot foc. You put in fire

o wanem?
or what

NOVARE: (Puzzled) Em i no hat. Em kol ia. Yu tok long wanem

It pr neg hot. It cold foc. You talk of what

ia? (To BADIBA) Papa, maski. Mi painim naispela

foc? Papa, nevermind. I find nice

meri na mi gat traipela laik longen. Maski long

woman and I have big desire for her. Nevermind for

dispela samting ia.

this something foc.

(BADIBA looks worried) Ei, meri bilong mi, longpela taim

Ei, woman of me, long time

na mi painim wanpela naispela meri olsem yu ia.

and I look for one nice woman like you foc.
VIII. New written genres 235

OLD MAN: Hei, yu wet. Mi bos bilong dispela meri ia.

Hey, you wait. I boss of this woman foc.

Yupela gat sampela moa brus, o?

You pl got some more tobacco, or?

NOVARE: Hia, givim olgeta long en.

Here, give all to him.

BADIBA: Hia, traipela karamap.

Here, big come up.

OLD MAN: Tenk yu tru, tambu [3].

Thank you true, brother-in-law.

NOVARE: (Very happy) Papa, em i tok ‘tambu’ ia. Hei,

Papa, he pr said ‘brother-in-law’ foc. Hey,

meri bilong mi. Yu gat ol liklik samting istap.

woman of me. You have pl little something pr stop.

Yu mas kisim na kam hariap long ples bilong mipela.

You must get and come hurry to village of us exc.

GIRL: Mi gat liklik tasol.

I have little only.

NOVARE: Lukim dispela maunten ia. Mipela go antap na antap

Look at this mountain foc. We exc go on top and on top

iet, na antap iet, na bihain igo daun, em ples

emph, and on top emph, and after pr go down, it village

bilong mipela.
of us exc.

GIRL: Tasol mi laik bihainim wara na bungim yutupela long

But I want follow water and meet you two pl over

236 Tok Pisin Texts

BADIBA: Nogat, ia. Em longpela rot. Bus rot i sotpela liklik.

neg, foc. It long road. Bush road pr short little.

Wara i save go insait na tanim nabaut.

Water pr hab go inside and turn about.

GIRL: Mi no save go long maunten, mi save bihainim wara tasol.

I no hab go to mountain, I hab follow water only.

Papa na brata, halivim [4] mi na putim mi long wara na

Father and brother, help me and put me in water and

mi laik go wantaim man bilong mi nau.

I like go with man of me now.

(She puts the mat aside. OLD MAN and YOUNG MAN lift her up. She is seen to
have the tail of a fish. NOVARE and BADIBA jump up in fright.)

NOVARE: E wanem samting ia?

E what something foc?

BADIBA: Em pis o meri?

It fish or woman?

YOUNG MAN: Em pis meri. Yupela longlong a? Yupela no lukim

It fish woman. You pl crazy interr? You pl not see

meri olsem bipo a? Olgeta meri long ples bilong

woman like before interr? All woman in village of

mipela igat tel olsem.

me pr have tail thus.

NOVARE: (To BADIBA) Papa, mi les long dispela meri ia.

Papa, I reluctant about this woman foc.

Yumi go. (To OLD MAN) E tambu mitupela go

We inc go. E brother-in-law we two exc go

pastaim na givim sampela brus long yu. Haus bilong

first and give some tobacco to you. House of
VIII. New written genres 237

wanpela tambu istap klostu. Mipela go hariap na

one brother-in-law pr stop nearby. We exc go hurry and

kam tumoro.
come tomorrow.

(They leave in a hurry.)

GIRL: Papa, man ia i no laik maritim mi. Bilong wanem em i

Papa, man foc pr neg want marry me. Of what he pr

lusim mi? Olgeta taim ol man save lusim mi olsem ia.

leave me? All time man pl hab leave me thus foc.

OLD MAN: Pikinini bilong mi, yu no ken wari. Ol man bilong dispela hap
Child of me, you not can worry. pl man of this side

maunten ia, bipo iet ol i longlong, na ol sa

mounten foc before emph they pr crazy, and they hab

longlong na longlong iet. Kam. Mama bilong yu i wetim

crazy and crazy emph. Come. Mama of you pr wait

mipela long raunwara.

us exc at lake.

(They lift her into the canoe and paddle off to SAVE RAWI RIMANGO. Lights
SCENE 4: Is this a real woman?
(An old man and his son and daugher are seated. The daugher is weaving a
pandanus mat which covers the lower half of her body.)
OLD MAN: Oh, I’d really like a smoke.
YOUNG MAN: Me too, I want a smoke.
OLD MAN: The tobacco’s used up. I’ve been looking for tobacco without
Child, check my basket. Is there any tobacco?
YOUNG MAN: No, it was finished a long time ago.
238 Tok Pisin Texts

OLD MAN: Perhaps you stole a little bit and still have it.
YOUNG MAN: No, you got up early in the morning and looked for it. Now it’s
all gone.
(NOVARE and BADIBA enter)
NOVARE: Papa, two men.
(They stay some distance away, a bit suspicious of one another.)
BADIBA: Good day to you.
YOUNG MAN: Good day.
OLD MAN: Have you got any tobacco?
BADIBA: Tobacco? You ask for tobacco? It’s just the thing for us. Here
take some.
OLD MAN: You come sit down. What are you looking for?
BADIBA: We left the village you see on the other side of the big mountain.
YOUNG MAN: But what are you looking for?
NOVARE: I am looking for a woman.
YOUNG MAN: Sister, do you hear me?
GIRL: (Looking excited) Yes, I’m listening.
NOVARE: (To BADIBA) Papa, she looks like a nice woman. I like her.
NOVARE: (To YOUNG MAN) Is she your sister?
YOUNG MAN: Yes, my sister is sitting strangely.
NOVARE: (To GIRL) When you look at me my heart leaps out to yours.
YOUNG MAN: He’s speaking to you.
GIRL: Perhaps I like him a lot, too.
BADIBA: Child, don’t forget try the arm band.
NOVARE: Woman put this on your arm
GIRL: (Takes it then drops it) Oh, it’s hot. Did you put it in the fire?
NOVARE: (Puzzled) It’s not hot. It’s cold. What are you talking about?
Papa, nevermind. I’ve found a nice woman and I really like her.
Don’t bother about it.
(BADIBA looks worried) Oh, I have been looking for a long
time to find a nice woman like you.
OLD MAN: Hey, wait. I’m responsible for this woman.
Have you got some more tobacco?
VIII. New written genres 239

NOVARE: Here give it all to him.

BADIBA: Here, cover it up.
OLD MAN: Thank you very much brother-in-law.
NOVARE: (Very happy) Papa, he said ‘brother-in-law’. Hey, she’s my
woman now. Get all your things together and hurry up and
come to our village.
GIRL: I’ve only got a few things.
NOVARE: See this mountain. We are going to the very top and then down
the other side is our village.
GIRL: But I want to go in the water and will meet you over there.
BADIBA: No. It’s a long way. It’s shorter to go through the bush. The
water has a current.
GIRL: But I’m not used to walking in the mountains I only go in the
water. Papa and brother help me and put me in the water and I
want to go with my husband now
(She puts the mat aside. OLD MAN and YOUNG MAN lift her up. She is seen to
have the tail of a fish. NOVARE and BADIBA jump up in fright.)
NOVARE: Hey, what’s that?
BADIBA: Is it a fish or a woman?
YOUNG MAN: It’s a mermaid. Are you crazy? Haven’t you ever seen a woman
like this before? All the women in our village have tails like that.
NOVARE: (To BADIBA) Papa, I’m not enthusiastic about this woman.
Let’s go.
Hey, brother-in-law. We’ll go first and give you some tobacco.
The house of one of our brothers-in-law is closeby. We’ll hurry
and come tomorrow.
(They leave in a hurry.)
GIRL: Papa, that man doesn’t want to marry me. Why did he leave me?
The men always leave me like this.
OLD MAN: My child, don’t worry. The men from this part of the mountain
were crazy before and they’re still crazy. Come, your mother is
waiting for us at the lake.
(They lift her into the canoe and paddle off to SAVE RAWI RIMANGO. Lights
240 Tok Pisin Texts

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] An indigenous term for ‘tobacco leaf ’.
[2] This is the invariant question tag.
[3] This term is nearly archaic, and means ‘sibling of the opposite sex’. The
term brata means ‘sibling of the same sex’. Thus the male would refer to his
brother(s) as brata and her sister(s) as susa, while a female would refer to
her brother(s) as susa and her sister(s) as brata. In present-day Tok Pisin,
the meaning of these terms have been realigned semantically with their
English equivalents.
[4] A variant of helpim.

Text 81: A cartoon from Grass Roots (1)

Ministerial use of public funds for domestic travel, staff recruitment, entertain-
ment, vehicles and office equipment has been banned. The ban, effective
immediately, was announced by Prime Minister, Sir Julius Chan, at the week-
end. The decision was circulated to Cabinet members last week. Sir Julius said,
‘such use of public funds so close to the election could be construed by the
public as being for electioneering purposes. It is my conviction that ministers
and their staff must be and appear to be beyond reproach in all their actions.’
Grass Roots draws on the latest urban slang and is generally written in a
highly anglicized style.
VIII. New written genres 241

Eh sori bikman … kisim tuendi toea hia long helpim yu long baim bus
Oh sorry big man … take twenty toea here for help you for buy bus

fea [1] bilong yu.

fare of you.
Oh, sorry, big man, have 20 toea to help you pay your bus fare.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The non-anglicized expression is baim bas ‘buy a bus ticket’

Text 82: Cartoon from Grass Roots (2)

The Primary Industry Department has asked the Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department to impose quotas on egg imports into the North Solomons. Quotas
were urgently needed to protect local producers, the Primary Industry Secre-
tary, Mr Brown Bai, said yesterday. However, Mr Bai said a total ban on
242 Tok Pisin Texts

imported eggs into the province was not yet advisable.

Local producers would not be able to meet demand, he explained.
The humour of this cartoon relies on the use of English expressions such as
blary (bloody), expektim, layim (cf. putim, kiau), scrambled, etc.

Blary himport quotas! Ol bai expektim yumi long hapim [1] prodaksen nau!
Bloody import quotas! They fut expect us inc to increase production now!

Harim! Sapos mi layim eni faster — ol bai kamap blary scrambled!

Listen! Suppose I lay any faster — they fut come out bloody scrambled!
Bloody import quotas! They’ll expect us to increase our production now!
Listen, if I lay them any faster, they’ll come out bloody scrambled!

The following comments are as suggested by Grass Roots.

[1] Hapim: although this would normally mean ‘to halve something’, in this
particular case it does not. It is the ‘h’ plus ‘apim’ (which means ‘to
increase’) that denotes the word’s connotation, ‘up-him’. The ‘h’ is merely
VIII. New written genres 243

a common pronunciation phenomenon, particularly amongst the pidgin

speakers from the Highlands region. It is a form that is commonly used by
Grass Roots.

Text 83: Cartoon from Grass Roots (3)

The Queen and Prince Philip visited Mount Hagen yesterday, just in time to
flee from a spectacular end to a seven month drought. Cracks of lightning,
coinciding with their departure from lunch at the Hagen Park Motel, blacked
out lights momentarily. Minutes later, torrential rain and hailstones pelted
thousands of Highlanders assembled at Mount Hagen’s old golf course to greet
the royal party.

Dia Misis Kwin,

Dear Mrs Queen,

Hey you very smat with all that rainstorm bisnis, K. You ever think of giving
Hey you very smart with all that rainstorm business, Q. You ever think of giving

up this kwining job come and see me. We can be making big moni in the
up this queening job come and see me. We can be making big money in the

rainmaker bisnis. Still waiting for your hinvitasian [1] for kaikai, but no
rainmaker business. Still waiting for your invitation for food, but no
244 Tok Pisin Texts

waris [2]. I’ll find my own way on bod. Better be puting some katons in the
worries. I’ll find my own way on board. Better be putting some cartons in the

friza, eh. We not drinking the warm beer all the time like you pomies [3]. You
freezer, eh. We not drinking the warm beer all the time like you pommies. You

and Phil wearing crowns tonight?

and Phil wearing crowns tonight?

Lukim yu [4] Grass

See you Grass
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This is a hypercorrection.
[2] This has been adopted into Tok Pisin from Australian English.
[3] This is an Australian slang term for ‘English people’.
[4] This is a common expression calqued from English ‘see you’.

Text 84: Cartoon from Grass Roots (4)

A statement by the embassy said the Government’s decision to import Chinese

canned pork was a positive measure in the interest of fostering reciprocal trade
relations on the basis of ‘equality and mutual benefit’. The statement followed
recent criticisms of the decision. It said pork used for canning in China was of
‘high quality, up to hygienic standards and fit for human consumption.’

Hey bro [1] … Yu ting wanem long impotim ol dispela pok bilong Saina …
Hey brother You think what about import all this pork of China …
VIII. New written genres 245

Yelo, wait, brown, pink o grin [2] … Mi no wari long kala bilong em
Yellow, white, brown, pink or green … I not worry about colour of him

sapos em inap kisim ples bilong mi long kamap kaikai blong man ia…
suppose he enough get place of me to become food of man foc…
Hey brother! What do you think about all this pork from China.
Yellow, white, brown, pink or green, I’m not worried about what colour it is just
so it takes my place as food for human consumption.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] A common greeting among male friends (cf. Hawaii Pidgin/Creole English
[2] The colour terms should normally have -pela attached to them.

Text 85: Cartoon from Grass Roots (5)

Villagers on Normanby Island are somewhat red-faced now that Department of

Primary Industry officials have solved their mysterious crop ‘disease’. The
villagers requested urgent assistance in January to help discover why their food
crops had failed. They feared a crop disease had swept the island. But the DPI
officials came up with a different answer, pigs.

Mi tokim yu pinis — noken pinisim olgeta, o bai yumi i go long

I say you comp-neg can finish everything, or fut we inc pr go to
246 Tok Pisin Texts

kalabus … tasol yu no harim gridi blary pik!

jail … but you not listen greedy bloody pig!

Sori, bro …
Sorry, brother …
I told you, you can’t finish up everything or we’ll go to jail; but you didn’t listen,
greedy, bloody pig!

Text 86: Cartoon from Grass Roots (6)

The Minister for Decentralisation, Fr Momis, says Provincial Governments in

the country must accept Local Government Councils as equal partners in
governing the people at the grassroot level. He said Provincial Governments
should not fear to share powers with the Councils, they should be friends and
co-operate in order to bring about meaningful development for their people.

Yesia mai pren [1] … yumi i mas wok wantaim … olsem Gavman
Yes sir my friend … we inc pr must work together … so Government
VIII. New written genres 247

bilong yupela i ken kolektim ol takis ia, na bikpela Gavman bilong mipela
of you pl pr can collect pl tax foc, and big Government of us

i ken spendim, O.K.? [2]

inc pr can spend, OK?
Yes sir, my friend, we have to work together … so your Government can collect
taxes and my big Government can spend them, OK?
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This is an anglicism for pren bilong mi.
[2] The use of O. K. has nearly replaced orait in colloquial urban speech.

Text 87: Greeting card (from Grass Roots Comic Company)

248 Tok Pisin Texts


Come to party

Mi laik invaitim yu long smatpela pati …

I want invite you to smart party …

long … adres
at … address

long … det na taim

at … date and time

as bilong pati olsem …

reason for party thus …

Yu mas kisim dispela samting i kam wantaim yu:

You must get this something pr come with you:

wan katon bia

one carton beer

tupela katon bia

two carton beer

tenpela katon bia

ten carton beer

wisiki o bakadi, twentisikis sais

whiskey or Bacardi, twenty-six size

sikispela yangpela meri

six young women

tenpela hensan man

ten handsome men

ol kaset yu stilim long mi long bipo yet

pl cassette you steal from me from before emph

b-b-q stek na sosis

b-b-q steak and sausage
VIII. New written genres 249

dispela seksi gel i stap wantaim yu long disco las wik

this sexy girl pr stay with you at disco last week

dispela smatpela man i draivim yu long spots ka

this smart man pr drive you in sports car

ol wantok bilong yu
pl clan of you

ol boys [1] bilong Paga Panthers ragbilig tim

pl boy of Paga Panthers rugby league team

ol narapela samting mi raitim daunbilo.

pl other something I write down below.
Come to the party
I want to invite you to a trendy party
at … address
at … date, time
The reason for the party is …
You must bring something with you:
one carton of beer
two cartons of beer
ten cartons of beer
whisky or bacardi, 26 oz. size
6 young girls
10 hansome men
the cassettes you stole from me before
B-B-Q steaks and sausages
the sexy girl who was with you at the disco last week
the trendy man who drove you in his sports car
your relatives
the Paga Panthers Rugby League team
the other things written in below.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] This plural is redundently marked with -s. Such plurals are increasingly
common in urban Tok Pisin.
250 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 88: Advertisement for Sunflower tinned fish

Advertising creates special problems for newspapers aimed at a Papua New

Guinean public. Most of the products are Australian and geared to a Western
lifestyle, which were originally accessible only to expatriates. Now, increasingly,
a new market is found in the urban elite. While products like cars, trucks, and
refridgerators are still luxurious for the average Papua New Guinean, and
therefore advertised largely in English, even in Wantok, it is no longer uncom-
mon for Highlanders at the end of the coffee season to come into town and pay
cash for a vehicle. Consequently, more and more ads are appearing in Tok
Pisin. Similarly, Western foodstuffs like rice and tinned fish are finding a
market in Papua New Guinea. This advertisement for Sunflower tinned fish
(Wantok Niuspepa 1/3/1986), in which the product is clearly illustrated, is
effective primarily because of its use of idiomatic Tok Pisin. Em i bun bilong me
stret is a colloquial expression which means that ‘it is just the thing to serve as
the foundation of a good diet’. In the literal sense, bun means ‘bone’ or
‘skeleton’. One who is bun nating would be very skinny.
Sunflower, Nambawan Tinpis long PNG. Em i bun bilong mi stret!
Sunflower, best tinned fish in PNG. It pr backbone of me really!

Olgeta i stap long olgeta tretstoa, holsel na ritel stoa.

They pr stay in all trade stores, wholesale, and retail stores.
Sunflower, number one tinned fish in Papua New Guinea. It’s my very backbone!
All (the products) are in all the tradestores, wholesale and retail stores.

Text 89: Advertisement for ‘Mozzie Zapper’

This text is an advertisement from Wantok Niuspepa for ‘Mozzie Zapper’

mosquito repellent spray and electronic repeller, a new repellent against
This is an example of a product which is less successfully advertised because
it is unfamiliar. While the name, ‘Mozzie Zapper’, will be familiar to Australians
(‘mozzie’ is a short form for ‘mosquito’) it will have to be explained to a Papua
New Guinean audience and advertised in such a way so as to create a need for
VIII. New written genres 251


For house ‘Mozzie Zapper’

1. Was long yu na famili bilong yu long ol natnat [1] na arapela

Watch for you and family of you for pl mosquito and other


2. Ol dua na windua [3] i ken op i stap long taim yu pamim marasin.

pl door and window pr can open pr stay for time you pump medicin.

3. Em i sef na isi long yusim K15.00 TASOL

It pr safe and easy to use K15.00 only.


For put on skin of you ‘electronic mozzie


1. Em i wok long bateri. Na bateri i ken stap inap 1 pela yia.

It pr work on battery. And battery pr can stay enough 1 year.

2. Liklik na isi long karim raun.

Small and easy for carry around.

3. Sef na isi long yusim. K8.50 tasol.

Safe and easy to use. K8.50 only.

Salim mani oda o beng sek bilong yu i go long Wiamby Trading,

Send money order or bank cheque of you pr go to Wiamby Trading,

PO Box 1412, Lae, Papua New Guinea.

PO Box 1412, Lae, Papua New Guinea.
For the house ‘Mozzie Zapper’
1. Watch after yourself and your family against mosquitoes and other insects.
2. Doors and windows can stay open while you spray.
3. It is safe and easy to use. Only 15 Kina.
252 Tok Pisin Texts

For putting on your skin ‘Electronic Mozzie repeller’

1. It runs on batteries. And the battery can last for up to a year.
2. Small and easy to carry around. Safe and easy to use. Only 8.50 Kina. Send
your money order or bank check to Wiamby Trading, PO Box 1412, Lae,
Papua New Guinea.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] Natnat is a Tolai term meaning ‘mosquito’ or ‘gnat’, but it could also be a
reduplicated form of English ‘gnat’.
[2] Binatang is from Malay and means ‘insect’.
[3] Windua is a folk etymology (win + dua = ‘a door for wind’)

Text 90: Political broadside

The following political broadside was sent out by Grass Roots, Madang 3
January 1987. Their political group claims to speak for the benefit of ordinary
people who cannot organise themselves for lack of experience, money and
education. Their broadside is written in both English and Tok Pisin. The
English is generally of a very poor standard (as can be seen in the translation
which is taken unedited from the broadside), and the Tok Pisin is highly
anglicised. In addition to the many English borrowings, e.g., ander-developmen,
praivet kempani, there are also anglicisms such as those of ov instead of bilong,
e.g., standat ov edukesen.

Dia Madam/Sir,
Dear Madam/Sir,

Gutpela samting i kamap em i bilong ol liklik grup manmeri, sapos ol

Good something pr come up it pr of pl little group people, if they

i kam long bipo Australian Administrasen o olpela magresen na

pr come from before Australian administration or old migration and

trensmagresen em Moses i toktok long Exodas na namba wan stori heretik

transmigration it Moses pr say in Exodus and number one story heretic
VIII. New written genres 253

farao Akhenaton husat [1] i bringim, ‘San Wosip’ insait long Egypt 1250
pharoah Akhenaton who pr bring ‘Sun Worship’ inside of Egypt 1250

B.C. Long toktok long benefit bilong ol Gras Rut tede mipela i makim mipela
B.C. To speak for benefit of pl Grass Root today we exc pr mark us exc

yet — ol gras rut no redi long yumi yet, bilong wanem sot long
emph — pl grass root neg ready for us inc emph, of what sort of

eksperiense na mani na edukesen.

experience and money and education.

Olsem na hia mipela yet i makim mipela long makim laik na gutpela laki
Thus here we exc emph pr mark us to mark wish and good luck

na gutpela helt insait long 1987, bihain long mipela i lukluk bek long 1986
and good health inside of 1987, after in we exc pr look back to 1986

na toktok long sampela senis em bai helpim long lukautim redi

and talk of some change it fut help to take care of ready

anda-developmen na senisim i go long development insait long PNG-1987.

under-development and change pr go to development inside of PNG-1987.

1. Tok kliaim PNG Ministri bilong Justis, wanem em i no wankain namel

Talk clear PNG Ministry of Justice, which it pr not one kind middle

long Australian Administrasen na Independen State of PNG — 11-pela yia i

of Australian Administration and Independent State of PNG — eleven year pr

bin miksim nabaut.

past mix about.

2. Ministri bilong Edukesen i senisim edukesen i go long kontrol

Ministry of education pr change education pr go to control

under-developmen long kontrol developmen. Tokim internesinal standat ov

under-development to control development. Say internation standard of

edukesen i no long internesinal elite. (Elite = liklik grup ov manmeri).

education pr neg for international elite. (Elite = little group of people).
254 Tok Pisin Texts

3. Katim daun sais bilong Nasenal Gavman na budjet long inapim PNG
Cut down size of National Government and budget to suit PNG

inkam na i na go Internesinal Moneteri Fun (IMF) na Asiatik Benk.

income and pr and go International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Asiatic bank.

4. Katim daun nasenal ekspenditsa inap long mak wantaim manmeri i

Cut down national expenditure until to mark with people pr

produsim na i no long bia konsamsen, hos pilai na automatik pe

produce and pr neg for beer consumption, house play and automatic pay

igo antap. Na em bai lukautim i no developmen i

pr go on top. And it fut look after pr neg development pr


5. Lukluk klostu long advaisa, praivet kampani na benk win mani, lukim em
Look close to adviser, private company and bank win money, see it

i fit long PNG laik o fitim liklik lain o grup. Olsem toktok nabaut long
pr fit to PNG desire or fit little clan or group. Thus talk about

yusim ‘Wanwe airticket’ — lukluk wantaim Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay [2] (The

use ‘oneway air ticket’ — look with Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay (The

Moon Man) bilong en long PNG.

Moon Man) of him in PNG.

6. Nasenelis — wanem samting i nitim long kamapim nasenelis — long

Nationalise — what something pr need to comeup nationalize — to

bihainim industriel developmen bilong Japan — i no Asiatik Benk na IMF.

follow industrial development of Japan — pr neg Asiatic bank and IMF.

7. Nesenal eleksen i kamapim bilong wanwan PNG demokretik kantri long

National election pr come up of everyone PNG democratic country to

putim sindaun insait long haus ov Palimen long registerim politikal pati
put sit inside of House of Parliament to register political party
VIII. New written genres 255

wantaim memba, na program. Olsem planti tausen vot i go long wanpela

with member, and program. Thus plenty thousand vote pr go to one

sindaun insait long pati na em i ken stopim ol pati i bruk nabaut na

sent inside of party and it pr can stop pl party pr break about and

stop bai-eleksen (waitman demokratik pasin).

stop by-election (Whiteman democratic custom).

8. Olgeta registet politikal pati husat i holim sampela miting bilong ol

All registered political party who pr hold some meeting of pl

memba i ken inap long putim nem long balet tiket. Bosim politikal na
member pr can able to put name on ballot ticket. Govern political and

ekonomik edukesen bilong PNG sitisen na i no long bulmakau, na bek rais,

economic education of PNG citizen and pr neg of cattle, and bag rice,

na katen bia fiv minit bipo long eleksen. Plis pas mi go namel lon
and carton beer five minute before election. Please pass me go among to

olgeta pren bilong yu, tenkyu. Mipela i go bek long developmen, lo

all friend of you, thank you. We exc pr go back to development, law

na oda, i no developmen long elite sleveri.

and order, pr neg development of elite slavery.
The translation given here is from the broadside to give an example of Papua
New Guinean English:
Dear Madam/Sir,
The prosperous make comments mostly for the benefit of the Elite, regardless if
they come from former Australian Administration or the old migration and
transmigration started by Moses in Exodus and the first historical heretic farao
Akhenaton who introduced ‘Sun Worship’ into Egypt, 1250 B. C.
To speak for the benefit of the Grass Roots we have appointed ourselves as they
can not organise themselves for lack of experience, money and education.
So here we are the self-appointed wishers of good luck and health throughout
1987, before we look back to the 1986 and suggest some changes which could
help to control organised under-development and change it into development in
PNG, 1987.
256 Tok Pisin Texts

1. Explain to the PNG Ministry of Justice the difference between Australian

Administration and the Independent State of PNG — eleven years of mix up.
2. Education Ministry changes education from controlled under-development
to controlled development. Conform to international standard of education not
to international elite.
3. Reduce the size of National Government and budget to suit PNG income —
not to International Monetory Fund (IMF) and Asiatic Bank.
4. Reduce the national expenditures in line with mean production not beer
consumption, horse races and automatic increase in pay. That’s controlled
5. Scrutinize whether advisers’, private enterprises’ and banks’ interests suit
PNG or the international elite by using the criteria of the ‘oneway airticket’ with
Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay (The Moon Man) heritage in PNG.
6. Nationalize what needs to be nationalized by copying Japanese industrial
development — not IMF and Asiatic Bank loans.
7. National election to be conducted for everybody in PNG democratic country
by allocating seats in Parliament to registered political parties with members and
program. So many thousand of votes to one seat in Parliament to party not
person, to eliminate corruption and by-election (European democratic way).
8. Registered political parties who conduct regular meetings for members to be
elegible to have place on ballot ticket. They are responsible for political and
economic education of PNG citizens not to bulmakau, bags of rice and cartons of
beers five minutes before election.
Please pass me along to your friends, thank you. We may return to development,
law and order — not to development of elite slavery.

Interesting linguistic features include:

[1] The interrogative husat ‘who’ is used in media Tok Pisin as a relative
marker for subject antecedents.
[2] Nikolai Miklouhou-Maclay was a Russian scientist who visited Madang
Province in 1871 and spent several periods of extended residence there
making scientific observations on language, customs, weather, etc., in the
area which is today called the Rai Coast.
VIII. New written genres 257

Text 91: Minutes of a council meeting (PM)

In the days before Independence, Tok Pisin came to be used for official docu-
ments in addition to oral procedings. Here follows an extract fom the minutes
of a council meeting held in the Sepik region in early 1973 (names and location
Finance na Executive Committee Miting Kamap long Caunsel Semba
Finance and Executive Committee meeting held at Council Chambers

long 4–7–73
on 4–7–73

SEMEN i opim meiting long 9 kilok long morning.

Chairman pr open meeting at 9 o’clock in morning.

Present: President Mikpas, Kaunselas Tom, John na Peter.

Present: President Mikpas, Councellors Tom, John and Peter.

I no kamap: Kaunselas Wai na Atto.

pr neg present: Concellors Wai and Atto.

MINITS BILONG LAS MITING: C.A.O.F. Selby i ridim minits bilong

Minutes from previous meeting: C.A.O.F. Selby pr read minutes of

las komiti miting i go long ol komiti na tu ol komiti i

previous committee meeting pr go prep pl committee and also pl committee pr

harem na tu ol i tok orait long minits bilong las miting.

hear and also pl pr approve of minutes of previous meeting.

MOVED: Cr. Peter

Moved: Cr. Peter

SEKEN: Cr. Tom

Second: Cr. Tom

Resolusen: Olsem Minits bilong las miting i orait tasol. Pas i kam
Resolution: that minutes of previous meeting pr OK only. Letter pr come
258 Tok Pisin Texts

insait Advaisa na C.A.O. i ridim ol pas i kam insait long na ol

in Advisor and C.A.O. pr read pl letters pr come in prep and pl

komiti harem na tu ol i tok orait long ol pas i kam insait.

committee hear and also pl pr approve prep pl letters pr come in.

Pas I kam long: M.C.H. Sista long Wewak

Letters pr come from: M.C.H. Sister from Wewak

Simbia Dumo D.A.S.F. Ambunti

Simbia Dumo D.A.S.F. Ambunti

Director bilong Giraun: Port Moresby

Director of Lands: Port Moresby

Head Teacher Matupit Skul

Head Teacher Matupit School

B&B Motors Aitepe

B&B Motors Aitepe

Wewak-But Council
Wewak-But Council

District Local Government Officer Aitepe

District Local Government Officer Aitepe

Government Liasen Officer Aitepe

Government Liaison Officer Aitepe

Saksak L.G. Council

Sago L.G. Council

Land Taitel Komissin Port Moresby

Land Title Commission Port Moresby

Ol pipal long Aitepe

pl people of Aitepe

Regional Local Government Officer Madang

Regional Local Government Officer Madang
VIII. New written genres 259

Local Government Gazette

Local Government Gazette

Ol komiti membas i harem ol pas i kam insait na ol i tok orait

pl committee members pl hear pl letters pr come in and they pr approve

long ol.
of them.

MOVED: Cr. John

Moved: Cr. John

SEKEN: Cr. Peter

Second: Cr. Peter

Resolusen: Olsem ol pas i kam insait i orait tasol.

Resolution: That pl letters pr come in pr approved.


C.A.O.F. Selby i ridim ol akauns i go long ol membas na tu i tek em

C.A.O.F. Selby pr read pl accounts pr go prep pl members and also pr take

ol akauns i kam long: B.P., C.M. Marienberg, Remington Rand, Aerial

pl accounts pr arrive from: B.P., C.M. Marienberg, Remington Rand Aerial

Tours, Tobi Motors, B.I.C. Insurans long Lae, P. Johnston, B.P. long Madang.
Tours, Tobi Motors, B.I.C. Insurance of Lae, P. Johnston, B.P. of Madang.

Ol komiti membas i tok orait bai kaunsel mas baim ol akauns bilong em.
pl committee members pr approve fut council must pay pl accounts of it.

MOVED: Cr. King

Moved: Cr. King

SEKEN: Cr. John

Second: Cr. John

Resolusen: Olsem ol akauns bilong kaunsel mas baim ariap.

Resolution: That pl accounts of council must pay quickly.
260 Tok Pisin Texts

Finance and Executive Committee meeting held at Council Chamber on 4–7–73
The Chairman opened the meeting at 9 a.m.
Present: President Mikpas, Councellors Tom, John and Peter.
Absentees: Councellors Wai and Atto.
Minutes of the last meeting: C. A. O. F. Selby read the minutes of the previous
committee meeting and the committee heard and approved the minutes of the
previous meeting.
Moved: Cr. Peter
Second: Cr. Tom
Resolution: That the minutes of the previous meeting be approved.
Incoming Letters
Advisor and C. A. O. read the incoming letters and the committee heard the
letters and approved the incoming letters.
Incoming letters from:
M. C. H. Sister from Wewak
Simbia Dumo D. A. S. F. Ambunti
Director of Lands: Port Moresby
Head Teacher Matupit School
B&B Motors Aitepe
Wewak-But Council
District Local Government Officer Aitepe
Government Liaison Officer Aitepe
Sago L. G. Council
Land Title Commission Port Moresby
The people of Aitepe
Regional Local Government Officer Madang
Local Government Gazette
The committee members hear the incoming letters and approve them.
Moved: Cr. John
Second: Cr. Peter
Resolution: That the incoming letters be approved.
C. A. O. F. Selby reads the accounts to members and incoming accounts from:
B. P., C. M. Marienberg, Remington Rand., Aerial Tours, Tobi Motors, B. I. C.
Insurance of Lae, P. Johnston, B. P. of Madang.
The committee members approve that the council will pay its accounts.
Moved: Cr. King
Second: Cr. John
Resolution: That the council’s accounts must be paid quickly.
VIII. New written genres 261

Text 92: Advertisement

The following text is an advertisement for a new programme on the National

Broadcasting Commission (NBC), 1974.
Askim i go long didiman
Ask pr go to agricultural officer


Ol ofisa bilong didiman dipatment bilong Nesinol Brotkasting

pl officer of agriculture department of National Broadcasting

Komison long Papua Niu Gini klostu bai ol i stat putim kamap long
Commission in Papua New Guinea soon fut they pr start put arrive on

dispela stesin sampela nupela progrem bilong ol pipol long ol ples bilong
this station some new programme for pl people in pl place of

yumi na tu progrem bilong ol pipol ol i wok wantaim ol kain diwai

us and too programme of pl people they pr wok with pl kind tree

samting bilong kamapim mani o wok didiman, wok bisnis long pis, na
etcetera for produce money or work agriculture, work business in fish, and

tu ol kain samting olsem bulmakau, pik na kakaruk. Wanpela long ol

too pl kind thing like cattle, pig and fowl. One amongst pl

dispela nupela progrem mipela i laik kirapim em bai i ken toksave mo

this new programme we pr intend found it fut pr can explain more

o bekim wari o tok askim long wanem kain samting yupela i laik save
or answer concern or question about what kind thing you pr want know

mo longen long wok didiman bilong yu long ol ples wan wan. Na

more about it about work agriculture of you in pl village one one. And

olsem, sapos yu gat dispela kain wari na yu laik save long dispela kain
thus, if you have this kind concern and you want know about this kind

samting salim tasol wanpela pas I kam long mipela wantaim long ol
thing send only a letter pr come to us with about pl
262 Tok Pisin Texts

toktok long ol dispela samting yu laik save mo longen. Bihain bai

discussion of pl this thing you want know more about it. Later fut

mipela i kisim dispela pas bilong yu i go long wanpela man long Pot
we pr get this letter of you pr go to a man in Port

Mosbi i save mo long wanem samting yu laik save mo longen.

Moresby pr know more about what thing you want know more about it.

Bihain bai mipela i kisim dispela pas bilong yu gen wantaim tok klia o
Later fut we pr get this letter of you again with explanation or

ol ansas na kamapim long dispela nupela progrem. Nem bilong dispela

pl answers and bring to this new programme. Name of this

nupela progrem bilong mipela ol i kolim long ‘Askim i Go long

new programme of us they pr call ‘Question pr go to

Didiman’ na dispela bai i kamap wanpela taim long wanpela wik

Agricultural officer’ and this fut pr appear one time in one week

long dispela stesin. Bai mipela i traim long kisim ol tok klia o ol ansas
on this station. fut we pr try to get pl explanation or pl answers

long askim long bisnis long ol liklik wok didiman long ol ples bilong
to question about business in pl small work agriculture in pl village of

yupela, bisnis long ol samting olsem bulmakau, wok bisnis long forestri,
you pl, business in pl thing like cattle, venture business in forestry,

bisnis long pis, o ol narapela kain samting olsem. Orait, sapos yu laik
business in fish, or pl other kind thing like that. Okay if you want

salim pas i kam long mipela hia nau adres

send letter pr come to us here now address

Askim i Go long Didiman

National Broadcasting Commission,
PO Box 1359,
VIII. New written genres 263

Kolim gen:
Tell again:

Askim i Go long Didiman

National Broadcasting Commission,
PO Box 1359,

The officers of the agriculture department of the National Broadcasting
Commission of Papua New Guinea will soon be inaugrating, on this station,
some new programmes for villagers and those in commercial forestry and the
like, or commercial ventures in agriculture involving fish, and things like cattle,
pigs and poultry. One of these new programmes that we want to begin will
provide information or answers to questions or concerns you have about
whatever you want to know more about in your agricultural pursuits in
individual villages. So, if you have concerns of this kind and you want to know
about this kind of thing, simply send a letter to us containing the points you want
to know more about. Then we will take this letter of yours to someone in Port
Moresby who is an expert in whatever it is you want to know more about. Later
on we will get your letter and the expert’s explanation or answers and broadcast
them on this new programme, which will be called Askim i go long Didiman
(Questions for the Argriculture Officer). This new programme will be broadcast
once a week on this station. We will try to get answers or explanations to your
questions about business ventures in village agriculture, commercial ventures in
things like cattle, forestry, fish, and other kinds of similar things. So, if you would
like to write to us here is our address:
Askim i go long Didiman,
National Broadcasting Commission,
PO Box 1359,
Once again,
Askim i go long Didiman,
National Broadcasting Commission,
PO Box 1359,
264 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 93: Unpublished letter to Wantok newspaper

The following text is an unpublished letter sent to Wantok newspaper by Mr

W. J. of the Boys Vocational Training Centre, Bulolo. It is dated 30–5–1971. It
is one of the many letters in which Tok Pisin users debate aspects of linguistic
correctness (see Mühlhäusler 1983).
Kolim Taxi long Trakta
Call taxi by tractor

Diar Editor,
Dear Editor,

mi bin halim planti man na meri ol i save kolim taksi long trakta, tasol
I past hear plenty man and woman they pr hab call taxi by tractor, but

mi ting olispela pasin i no stret long ting ting bilong mi. Taksi i no save
I think this fashion pr not correct in thought of me. Taxi pr not hab

givim mani long yumi, yumi save lusim mani long taxi sapos yumi laik go
give money to us inc, we inc hab spend money on taxi if we inc like go

long nalopalo hap. Na trakta i save givim mani long yumi, taim em i
to another place. And tractor pr hab give money to us inc, when it pr

brukim giroun na palanim pinat [2] or sampela samting long en. Sapos
break ground and plant peanut or some something in it. If

pinat i mau yumi purim na salim long sosoiti na kisim mani long em.
peanut pr ready we inc pull and sell to society and get money for it.

Sapos husat man o meri i laik bekim pas belong me olrait em i ken
If whoever man or woman pr like reply letter of me, all right he pr can

bekim na mi halim.
reply and I listen.
Dear Editor,
I have heard people refer to ‘taxis’ as ‘tractors’, but in my view this is not correct
because taxis do not produce income for us. We spend money on taxi fares when
VIII. New written genres 265

we want to go from one place to another. But a tractor produces income for us
when it is used for ploughing and planting such crops as peanuts. When the
peanuts are ripe one can pull them out and sell them to a co-op for money. If
anyone would like to reply to my letter, let them reply and I shall listen.
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin

Text 94: The story of Little Red Riding Hood (SR)

The narrator is an 8 year old girl from Lae, who is a first language speaker of
Tok Pisin. The text is notable for its considerable phonological reduction
characteristic of the younger urban generation: e.g., save to sa, bilong to blem,
pela to pla, laik to la, etc. Also noteworthy is the considerable use of English
lexis, e.g., forest (cf. Tok Pisin bus), bata (cf. Tok Pisin gus), bag (cf. Tok Pisin
bilum), wulf, bear, kek, noknok (cf. Tok Pisin paitim doa ). Sometimes the
English words alternate with their Tok Pisin equivalents, e.g., gel/meri, jump/
kalap. Some of the English terms are adapted morphologically and phonologi-
cally, e.g., flaua (cf. the more usual Tok Pisin plaua), finish (cf. Tok Pisin pinis),
while others vary, e.g., change/changim. The mixing of English and Tok Pisin
leads to compromise forms which are intermediate between the two varieties,
as for example when the wolf says, ‘Kam in dota.’ The term dota (‘daughter’) is
not used in Tok Pisin, and kam in is not typically Tok Pisin. One would expect
insait instead. This may be a use of quotational code switching.
Mi stori ia pastaim. Wanpela taim [1] nau wanpela taim ia wanpela mangki
I story foc first. One time now one time foc one boy

wanpela liklik gel em sa stap wantaim mama bilong en long forest na em

one little girl she hab stop with mother of her in forest and she

sa stap wantaim tupela yet sa stap tupela ia sa stap i go.

hab stop with two emph hab stop two foc hab stop pr go.

Wanpela taim nau liklik gel ia nem blem little red riding hood em la go
One time now little girl foc name of her little red riding hood she want go

lukim bubu [2] blem lo narapela forest -kantri nau wokabaut i go em

see grandmother of her in other forest country now walk pr go she
268 Tok Pisin Texts

kisim bata [3] em putim go insait long bag nau em karim em karim wokabaut i
get butter she put go inside in bag now she carry she carry walk pr

go i go i go nau em go insait long forest na em lukim wanpela draipela wulf

go pr go pr go now she go inside in forest and she see one big wolf

ia. Em kam sanap na em tok olsem, ‘hallo, morning little red riding hood
foc. He come stand up and he say this, ‘hello, morning little red riding hood

yu la go we?’ Em tok olsem nogat, ‘mi la go givim wanpla — givim

you want go where?’ She said thus neg, ‘I want go give one — give

liklik bubu wanem ia givim samting long bubu bilong mi

little grandmother what foc give something to grandmother of me

ia.’ Nau em tok olsem ia. Nau em go toksem, ‘kam mipla [4] pikim flaua
foc.’ Now she say this foc. Now she go say thus, ‘come we exc pick flower

pastaim na em giaman em go hait long pikim flaua pinis na em giaman jump

first and he trick he go hide to pick flower comp and he trick jump

jump em go pinis long haus bilong bubu blem.

jump he go comp to house of grandmother her.

Nau liklik gel ia em pikim flaua finish [5] putim go insait long bag blem na
Now little girl foc she pick flower comp put go inside in bag of her and

em karim i go nau nogat. Dispela bear disla draipela wulf ia em go ia nogat

she carry pr go now neg. This bear this big wolf foc he go foc neg

em pinisim bubu blem na em giaman na change putim olgeta

he finish grandmother of her and he trick and change put everything

samting blem olsem bubu blem na silip i stap. Slip i stap

something of her thus grandmother of her and sleep pr cont. Sleep pr cont

nau, little red riding hood ia pikim flaua pinish nau em kam noknok long
now, little red riding hood foc pick flower comp now she come knock on

doa bilong bubu. Noknok na bubu — wulf ia

door of grandmother. Knock knock and grandmother-wolf foc change
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 269

changim nek blem i go olsem na em tok, ‘kam in, dot.’ Nau nogat
voice of him pr go thus and he say ‘come in, daughter.’ Now neg

dota ia little red riding hood em go opim doa na toksem, ‘hi,

daughter foc little red riding hood she go open door and say thus, ‘(exclamation)

wanem yu — bubu yu draipela hai bloyu ia.’ Na em toksem, ‘yeh!

what you — grandmother you big eye of you foc.’ And he say, ‘yes!

Em draipela ai blomi.’ Na em no toktok long disla bubu, ‘yu draipela

It big eye of me.’ And she neg speak to this grandmother, ‘you big

het bloyu ia,’ em toksem, ‘han bloyu lek bloyu em sap ia na draipela
head of you foc,’ she say thus, ‘hand of you leg of you it sharp foc and big

hand bloyu ia na yu no luk olsem bubu blomi yu luk olsem

hand of you foc and you neg look like grandmother of me you look like

narapela bubu.’ Na em tok olsem nau nogat em toksem, ‘na

other grandmother.’ And she speak thus now neg she speak thus, ‘and

maus bloyu draipela tru ia.’ Na em toksem, ‘maus blomi em maus

mouth of you big true foc.’ And he say thus, ‘mouth of me it mouth

bilong mi long kaikaim yu nau,’ em tok nogat em daunim em go na em kaikai

of me to eat you now,’ he say neg he down her go and he eat

wanem ia liklik meri.

what foc little girl.

Nau papa blem hait nau i stap ia kisim tamiak i kam ia katim disla
Now father of her hide now pr cont foc get hatchet pr come foc cut this

wulf ia nau em wanem ia rausim wanem bubu blem kalap

wolf foc now he what foc remove what grandmother of her jump

kamdaun long bel blem na liklik meri kalap kamdaun long bel
come down from stomach of him and little girl jump come down from stomach

blem ia nogat. Kalap kamdaun long bel blem nogat, ol go nau

of him foc neg. Jump come down from stomach of him neg, they go now
270 Tok Pisin Texts

ol kaikai kek na amamas na ol stap insait long aus [6] bilong

they eat cake and rejoice and they stop inside house of

bubu i go nau. Em tasol.

grandmother pr go now. That all.
Once upon a time now there was a child, a little girl. She lived with her mother in
the forest. The two of them lived there together. Now one time, the little girl —
her name was Little Red Riding Hood — she wanted to go see her grandmother
in another part of the forest. So she got some butter, put it into a bag and walked
a long way into the forest. She saw a big wolf. He came up to her and said, ‘hello,
good morning Little Red Riding Hood. Where are you going?’ She said, ‘I am
going to give some things to my grandmother’. He said, ‘we’ll pick some flowers
first’. But he tricked her and he hid until she had finished picking the flowers.
Then he went to her grandmother’s house. Now the little girl finished picking the
flowers and put them in her bag and carried them off. This wolf finished off the
grandmother and he pretended to be the grandmother. He put on all the
grandmother’s things and was sleeping. He was sleeping now. Little Red Riding
Hood finished picking the flowers and came knocking on her grandmother’s
door. Knock. Knock. The wolf changed his voice like this and said, ‘come in.’
Little Red Riding Hood came in and said, ‘hi, Grandmother what big eyes you
have,’ she said. He said, ‘yeh, my eyes are big,’ but he didn’t say anything more
about this. ‘What a big head you have,’ she said, ‘your hands and your legs are
pointed and what big hands you have. You don’t look like my grandmother. You
look like somebody else’s grandmother.’ She said, ‘and what a very huge mouth
you have.’ And he said, ‘my mouth is for eating you,’ and he pushed her down
and ate the little girl. Now her father was hiding and he got a hatchet and came to
cut the wolf open. And he got the grandmother out and the little girl jumped out
of the wolf ’s stomach. So they all went and had cake and celebrated. Now they all
stay in the grandmother’s house. That’s the end.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] The phrase wanpela taim serves as a formulaic introduction to stories and
is equivalent to ‘once upon a time’. Similarly, most stories also end with em
tasol pinis ‘that’s all, finished’ or some such matter.
[2] The term bubu is widely used to refer to grandparents. It also occurs in
Bislama. Crowley (1990) believes that both Malo and Rzga bumbu and
Mota pupua are possible sources, as is Fijian bubu.
[3] The term bata usually refers to an avocado.
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 271

[4] This use of the exclusive form is slightly odd. We would expect the inclusive
dual, yumitupela, since the wolf is referring to himself and Little Red Riding
Hood. This inclusive dual is declining in favour of mitupela.
[5] The form finish is not usually used by urban children, even though it is the
same as the English form. Many rural speakers use this too.
[6] There is still considerable variation between /h/ and /ø/ in some rural uses.
Mihalic (1971: 5) notes that /h/ is then inserted at the beginning of words
where it is not found in English. The insertion of hypercorrect /h/ affects
most /h/ dropping varieties of English. Since both the un-standard dialect
of British and Australian English has /h/ dropping, it is not surprising to
find it in Tok Pisin, and in other English-based creoles. Cassidy and Le Page
(1967: xii) note that in Jamaican Creole, initial /h/ is frequently lost in
unemphatic contexts and used as a hypercorrection in emphatic contexts.
Many of the substratum languages of Papua New Guinea also lack /h/.

Text 95: The story of the pig in the pot (1) (SR)

The speaker is an 11 year old boy from Lae, whose first language is Tok Pisin.
The story is told in response to seeing a picture of a boy carrying a pig jumping
out of a pot.
This text can be compared with Text 96 produced by another speaker. Of
interest are the different terms used for the container (e.g., pan, sospen, baket)
and for the lid (e.g., ai).
Wanpela taim wanpela liklik manki haus blem i stap klostu long kunai na
One time one little boy house of him pr stop closeby in grass and

wanpela diwai sanap. Wanpela taim nau em karim putim pik blem go insait
one tree stand. One time now he carry put pig of him go inside

long wanem pan na karapim na em karim go. Em la karim go lo hau hau

in what pan now cover now he carry go He want carry go to hou-hou

fens [1] bilong pik. Em karim go nau karim go nau long rot stret nogat pik ia
fence of pig. He carry go now carry go now on road just neg pig foc

belhat na em kalap go autsait nau ai bilong pot i pundaun nau pik ia kalap
angry and it jump go outside now eye of pot pr fall now pig foc jump
272 Tok Pisin Texts

go daun na ranawe.
go down and run away.
Once upon a time there was a little boy. His house was close to the bush and
there was a tree standing there. Now, he put his pig inside a pot and covered it.
He was carrying it to the pig’s fence. He was carrying it along the road but the pig
got angry and jumped out and the lid of the pot fell off and the pig jumped down
and ran away.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Cf. Tok Pisin banis. Mihalic (1971) traces its origins to English ‘bandage’,
but it could be a rephonologized version of ‘fence’.

Text 96: The story of the pig in the pot (2) (SR)

The speaker is an 8 year old boy from Lae.

Em lai [1] karim wanem ia [2] kam na pik kam jamp in go nau wanem ia lid
He want carry what foc come and pig come jump in go and what foc lid

blo sospen ia pudaun [3]. Man ia belhat nogut tru. Man ia putim pig
of saucepan foc fall. Man foc angry no good true. Man foc put pig

insait go lo gaden blol lo napla ples nau. Pig ia kalap kam autsait na
inside go to garden of them in another place now. Pig foc jump come out and

ai blo baket, ai blo pot ia pundaun na pik kalap kam autsait.

eye of bucket, eye of pot foc fall and pig jump come out.
He wants to carry the thing and a pig comes and jumps in and the thing, lid of
the saucepan, falls off. The man is very angry. He puts the pig inside and goes to
their garden in another village. The pig jumps out and the lid falls off and the pig
jumps out.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] A reduced form of laik.
[2] Wanem ia is often used as a hesitation marker when the speaker cannot
think of the precise name for something.
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 273

[3] A variant of pundaun. Many speakers of Tok Pisin use prenasalized stops,
e.g., ngut (gut). In the orthography prenasalization is indicated only when
it is used by both Europeans and Melanesians, e.g., sindaun, pundaun, etc.

Text 97: The story of the sick boy (SR)

The story is told by an 11 year old Lae boy, who is a first language speaker of
Tok Pisin. He is looking at a sequence of pictures which depict a sick child
being taken to the doctor by his parents. The text is notable for the amount of
morphophonological condensation contained in it (see Romaine and Wright
1986 for discussion).
All short forms are given expansions in brackets. There are also anglicized
forms such as fes (cf. Tok Pisin pastaim) and shoot (Tok Pisin sut).
Fes tru, disla [<dispela] man na meri blem [<bilong en], ol sa [<save]
First true this man and woman of him, they hab

lukautim pikinini blol [<bilong ol] gutpla [<gutpela]. Pikinini blem [<bilong en]
take care of child of them good, Child of them

sik nau. Ol kisim go lo [<long] dokta nau. Dokta lukim em nau, em sik
sick now. They get go to doctor now. Doctor look him now, he sick

nogut tru nau. Ol karim em long disla [<dispela] rum nau. Na dokta
no good true now. They carry him to this room now. And doctor

givim shoot finish nau. Em kambek laus [<long haus] nau. Orait nau holim
give injection comp now. He come back to house now. Alright now hold

bal na em plei stap na ol lain blem [<bilong en] wok lo [<long] wok.
ball and he play cont and pl family of him prog at work.
In the first one, this man and his wife, they are taking good care of their child.
Their child is sick now. They take him to the doctor. The doctor looks at him.
He’s very sick. They carry him to this room. The doctor gave him an injection.
He comes back home now. He’s alright now. He holds a ball and is playing and
all his family are working.
274 Tok Pisin Texts

Text 98: A puppet show (SR)

The speakers here are two fifth grade girls at Madang, both of whom are 12
years old. Speaker 1 is from Enga in the Highlands and the other is a local.
The transcription conventions here are broad phonetic to give an idea of
the variability of this urban speech variety. Words like mamapapa have several
different realizations. There is variation between /p/–/f/ and /h/–/o/ (e.g. hokei/
okei) and many short forms, e.g., bienim (bihainim).
S1: Halo frog.
Hello frog.

S2: Halo pig.

Hello pig.

S1: Mi laik go lukim ol mawfufa blomi lo ’aus.

I want go see pl parents of me at house.

S2: A, mi laik bienim yu iya.

Oh, I want follow you foc.

S1: Hokei. Sos yu laik, tumoro yu kam, vai mituplae go lo ’aus blol
Okay. If you like, tomorrow you come, fut we two exc go to house of

mamafufa blomi.
them parents of me.

S2: A, gutpla, yumi bai go.

Oh, good, we inc fut go.

S1: Okei.

S2: Mi no lo aus poestai mi.

I neg at house first me.

S1: Okei. Bai yumi go lo moningtaim, nogud soen kam antap, bai yumi
Okay. fut we inc go in morning, no good sun come up, fut we inc

no nap lo ol go.
neg able to they go.
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 275

S2: Okei. Moning tru bai mi kam.

Okay. Morning true fut I come.

S1: Gudpla. Ating bai yumtupla go lo stua pastem, bai yumi go lo ’aus
Good. Perhaps fut we two inc go to store first, fut we inc go to house

blo momapupa blou mi.

of parents of me.

S2: Yumi go baim wanem?

We inc go buy what?

S1: Yumi go baim sampla kaikai blo yu-yumi lo kuk lo ’aus blo mamapupa
We inc go buy some food for us inc to cook at house of parents

blo mi.
of me.

S2: A, okei, yumi goa nau. Yu ghat haumas toya?

Oh, okay, we inc go now you got how much toea?

S1: Mi gwoet tri Kina. [1]

I got three Kina

S2: Ei sid [2], bikpla mani tru iyae.

Heh shit, big money true foc.

S1: ’Em nau.


S2: Okei, yumi go, ariap.

Okay, we inc go, hurry.

S1: Aukei, yumi go nau.

Okay, we inc go now.
S1: Hello frog.
S2: Hello pig.
S1: I want to go see my parents at my house.
S2: Oh, I want …
276 Tok Pisin Texts

S1: Ok, if you want to, tomorrow you come and we’ll go to my parents’ house.
S2: Oh good, we’ll go …
S1: We’ll go in the early morning. It will be no good if the sun comes up and we
can’t go [because it’s too hot].
S2: Ok, I’ll come first thing in the morning.
S1: Good, perhaps we’ll go to the store first, then we’ll go to my parents’ house.
S2: Ok, let’s go. How much money have you got?
S1: I’ve got three Kina.
S2: Ah shit, what a lot of money.
S1: Yes, that’s so.
S2: Ok, let’s hurry.
S1: Ok, let’s go now.
Interesting linguistic features include:
[1] Since independence the currency consists of Kina and Toea, with 100 Toea
to one Kina. These terms are names of shells which were traditionally used
in trading.
[2] This is widely used as a general expression of surprise or amazement and
has been bleached of its English meaning.

Text 99: Narrative: tumbuna story (SR)

The speaker is an eleven year old boy from Madang, who was born there and
has Tok Pisin as his first language. The story is of a traditional type called a
tumbuna ‘ancestor’ story. There are, however, some lexical innovations such as
wich meri (cf. Tok Pisin devilmeri/mesalaimeri) and krokodail (cf. Tok Pisin
Mi bai stori blo tumuna stori. Ol mangi sa tokim mi. Foes turu wanpal lapun
I fut story of ancestor story. pl boys hab tell me. First true one old

meri wontai pighini blem ol go lo bush na nogat. Pigini blem ker

woman with child of her they go to bush and neg. Child of her got up

oshem: ‘mi lg ompla hwalabi l’ap. Yumi si bai go kilim.’ Nae nogat,
say thus: ‘I see one wallaby over there. We inc fut go kill.’ And neg,

papa vlem to oshem: ‘lushim em. Bo yumi go painim ol pishin ya.’

father of him say thus: ‘leave him. fut we inc go look for pl bird foc.’
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 277

Tupla go n’em wonte. Woenpla krokodail em silib lo garas, gras, ne en, em

Two go and he with. One crocodile he sleep in grass, grass, and he, he

keikei joe lilik gyoel na won …, pova bulem wok lo karai nou go inchei lo
eat emph little girl and one …, father of him prog at carry now go inside of

bush ne eng go luk wompla wich meri stavnau. Wich meri kilim powa
bush and he go see one witch woman stop now. Witch woman kill father

blin noe ts-.

of him that all.

I want to tell a tumbuna story. The boys told it to me. A long time ago an old
woman and her children went into the bush. One of her children said, ‘I see a
wallaby over there. We’ll go kill it.’ But they didn’t. His father said, ‘leave it. We’ll
go look for birds.’ The two of them went and looked. A crocodile was sleeping in
the grass and he ate this little girl and her father was trying to carry her off into
the bush. He saw a witch and the witch killed his father. That’s all.

Text 100: Two girls talking about the languages they know (SR)

Betty and Alice, are 8 and 9 and live in Lae. They hardly know Tok Ples, and are
first language speakers of Tok Pisin. Their experience is typical of many urban
children in Papua New Guinea who grow up speaking primarily Tok Pisin.
Most of these children call the language ‘pidgin’.

Yu save tok ples?

You know talk village?


Mi save wanwan tasol. Sapos mama blomi toktok long tok ples, olsem salt o
I know a few only. If mother of me talk in talk village, like salt or

wanem samting, em bai mi harim tasol na mi kisim mi kan bek gen. Na

some thing, she fut I hear only and I get I can back again. And
278 Tok Pisin Texts

bekim nogat, mi bekim nogat. Sapos mi no save na em tokim mi na bai mi

answer neg, I answer neg If I neg know and she talk I and fut I

bekim na go tok olsem go kisim disla samting long pidgin.

answer and go talk thus go get this thing in pidgin.


Nau mi, mi bin born long Rabaul na mi no save long tok ples bilong
Now me, I past born at Rabaul and I no know long talk village of

mamapapa bilong mi na taim mipela toktok olgeta ol bai tok ples, na mi

parents of I and when we speak together pl fut talk village, and I

em bai ol tok pidgin nau. Sampela taim ol tok ples na mi em bai mi

they fut pl talk pidgin now. Some times they talk village and I they fut I

harim liklik bai mi go kisim bai mi harim em bai mi tok bekim long pidgin na
hear little fut I go get fut I hear them fut I answer in pidgin and

mama bilong mi tok wanem, na bai mi bekim tasol.

mother of me asks and fut I answer only.


Ticha i tok wanem insait long classroom?

Teacher pr talk what in classroom?


Inglish. Sampela taim pidgin, na sampela taim olgeta wanwan taim em bai
English. Some times pidgin, and some times quite a few time he fut

speak pidgin.
speak pidgin.


Sapos wanpela manki o meri i tok long pidgin, ticha ia mekim wanem?
If a boy or girl pr talks in pidgin teacher foc does what?
IX. Creolized varieties of Tok Pisin 279


Paitim em, em bai paitim em em bai krosim nem blem long ol sa

Hit them, he fut hit them he fut scold name of them prep they hab

speak pidgin ia em bai raitim ol fest na tu tri i go fo em bai

speak pidgin foc he fut write pl first and in no time at all he fut

punisim em.
punish them.


Belong wanem?


Bikos ol no sa laik we ol manki bai speak pidgin tasol ol speak

Because they neg hab like when pl boy fut speak pidgin but they speak

pidgin olsem ol speak pidgin bai headmaster bai belhat na olsem paitim ol
pidgin so they speak pidgin fut headmaster fut angry and so hits them

na raitim nem bilong ol.

and writes name of them.
SR: Do you know Tok Ples?
Alice: I know a little that’s all. If my mother speaks in Tok Ples, like salt or
something, I’ll just understand and go get it and I come back again. But I
can’t answer in Tok Ples. If I don’t know and she speaks to me and I have
to answer, I’ll say it in pidgin.
Betty: Now me, I was born in Rabaul and I don’t know my parents’ Tok Ples.
When we speak together, they use Tok Ples and with me they speak
pidgin. But sometimes they use Tok Ples and I listen a little, but I’ll
answer in pidgin and when my mother asks me something, I just answer
in pidgin.
SR: What language do the teachers use inside the classroom?
Alice: English, sometimes pidgin and sometimes he speaks pidgin.
SR: What if a boy or girl speaks in pidgin, what does the teacher do?
280 Tok Pisin Texts

Betty: Hits them. He’ll hit them. He’ll abuse him verbally for speaking pidgin
and writes their names down first and without delay punishes them.
SR: Why?
Alice: Because they don’t like it when the school children speak pidgin, but
they speak pidgin and the headmaster gets angry and hits them and
writes their name on a list.

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G5. GÖRLACH, Manfred (ed.): Focus on: Scotland. 1985.
G6. PETYT, K.M.: ‘Dialect’ and ‘Accent’ in Industrial West Yorkshire. 1985.
G7. PENFIELD, Joyce & Jack ORNSTEIN-GALICIA: Chicano English. 1985.
G8. GÖRLACH, Manfred and John A. HOLM (eds): Focus on the Caribbean. 1986.
G9. GÖRLACH, Manfred: Englishes. Studies in varieties of English 1984-1988. 1991.
G10. FISCHER, Andreas and Daniel AMMAN: An Index to Dialect Maps of Great Britain.
G11. CLARKE, Sandra (ed.): Focus on Canada. 1993.
G12. GLAUSER, Beat, Edgar W. SCHNEIDER and Manfred GÖRLACH: A New Bibliogra-
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G13. GÖRLACH, Manfred: More Englishes: New studies in varieties of English 1988-1994.
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G20. MACAULAY, Ronald K.S.: Standards and Variation in Urban Speech: Examples from
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G21. KALLEN, Jeffrey L. (ed.): Focus on Ireland. 1997.
G22. GÖRLACH, Manfred: Even More Englishes. 1998.
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and structural analysis. 1999.
G25. BELL, Allan and Koenraad KUIPER (eds.): New Zealand English. 2000.
G26. BLAIR, David and Peter COLLINS (eds.): English in Australia. 2001.
G27. LANEHART, Sonja L. (ed.): Sociocultural and Historical Contexts of African
American English. 2001.
G28. GÖRLACH, Manfred: Still More Englishes. 2002.
G29. NELSON, Gerald, Sean WALLIS and Bas AARTS: Exploring Natural Language. Work-
ing with the British Component of the International Corpus of English. 2002.
G30. ACETO, Michael and Jeffrey P. WILLIAMS (eds.): Contact Englishes of the Eastern
Caribbean. 2003.
G31. THOMPSON, Roger M.: Filipino English and Taglish. Language switching from multi-
ple perspectives. 2003.
T1. TODD, Loreto: Cameroon. Heidelberg (Groos), 1982. Spoken examples on tape (ca.
56 min.)
T2. HOLM, John: Central American English. Heidelberg (Groos), 1982. Spoken examples
on tape (ca. 92 min.)
T3. MACAFEE, Caroline: Glasgow. 1983. Spoken examples on tape (ca. 60 min.)
T4. PLATT, John, Heidi WEBER & Mian Lian HO: Singapore and Malaysia. 1983.
T5. WAKELIN, Martyn F.: The Southwest of England. 1986. Spoken examples on tape (ca.
60 min.)
T6. WINER, Lise: Trinidad and Tobago. 1993. Spoken examples on tape.
T7. MEHROTRA, Raja Ram: Indian English. Texts and Interpretation. 1998.
T8. MCCLURE, J. Derrick: Doric. The dialect of North-East Scotland. 2002.
T9. MÜHLHÄUSLER, Peter, Thomas E. DUTTON and Suzanne ROMAINE: Tok Pisin
Texts. From the beginning to the present. 2003.