MARSHALLESE 7.0: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOY AND A GIRL

I have a question for you: what’s the difference between a boy and a girl? And no, I’m not talking about the “obvious” things here. (We all are well aware of the fact that men are from Mars and women from Venus.) Any ideas? No? Let me give you an answer then. It may surprise you. Even shock you… There is almost no difference. At least in Marshallese. … More MARSHALLESE 7.0: THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BOY AND A GIRL

WHAT’S IN A NAME?

Kiribati, Tonga, Vanuatu, Tuvalu… Have you ever wondered how the islands of the Pacific got their names? And what do those names actually mean? Could Tokelau be known as Fiji, Niue as Palau, and Guam as Papua New Guinea? Shakespeare told us that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Would it, really? To answer these questions, I decided to do some research. … More WHAT’S IN A NAME?

MARSHALLESE 6.0: COULD YOU REPEAT, PLEASE?

Any language you don’t know sounds like a continuous stream of indistinct babble. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t understand the meaning of sentences you hear. But the minute you start learning a foreign tongue, everything changes. Or rather, everything should change. Because it’s not always as easy as you wish it were. … More MARSHALLESE 6.0: COULD YOU REPEAT, PLEASE?

“PIDGIN PHRASEBOOK & DICTIONARY” BY LONELY PLANET

Imagine: you’re visiting Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, or Papua New Guinea. You know you’re going to get by in any of those countries using only English or, in case of Vanuatu, French. But wouldn’t it be great if you could say a few words in the local lingo? Just think about it. And when you decide I’m right, here’s a book that may help you. … More “PIDGIN PHRASEBOOK & DICTIONARY” BY LONELY PLANET

SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

You already know that the native tongues of Oceania, and let me remind you that there are over 1100 of them, belong to two big language families. Add to this the creoles spoken in Melanesia and Hawaii, and…well…you have a pretty sizeable brood. But have you ever tried to ascertain the exact degree of relatedness between those languages? Which of them are siblings or cousins, and which are just distant relatives? It’s time to find out. … More SIBLINGS, COUSINS, OR DISTANT RELATIVES: HOW SIMILAR ARE PACIFIC LANGUAGES?

TALKING STORY ABOUT POUNDING-TARO LANGUAGE

In case you’re wondering: no, I won’t be writing about the language people use while pounding taro. Does such language even exist? Anyway, I’ll be writing about ʻōlelo paʻi ʻai, better known as Hawaiian Pidgin. Pounding-taro language is the literal translation of its Hawaiian name, which – you must admit – is quite fascinating. But then, Hawaiian Pidgin is fascinating. It is as fascinating and unique as the Aloha State itself. … More TALKING STORY ABOUT POUNDING-TARO LANGUAGE

NOBODY’S AND SOMEBODY’S NATIVE LANGUAGE IN MELANESIA

Pidgin and creole languages. You have heard about them, right? While the names sound familiar to most people, only some know what exactly hides behind these terms. In the Pacific, pidgins and creoles are present mainly in Melanesia, where they function as lingua franca. But how were they brought into existence in such a remote part of the world? … More NOBODY’S AND SOMEBODY’S NATIVE LANGUAGE IN MELANESIA

THE DESCENDANTS

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. And they are probably right. Anything with colours, lines, dots, or arrows just stays in our heads better. Now, I would love to explain to you the relationships between Pacific languages using a nicely created tree diagram, but – truthfully – I suck at this. So instead of drawing a graph here, I’ll tell you a story about two big linguistic families. … More THE DESCENDANTS

“SOUTH PACIFIC PHRASEBOOK” BY LONELY PLANET

You would think that you don’t need a phrasebook if you have constant access to the Internet. You want to know how to say “Hello” in any given language, and your very cool uncle Google will always be there to help you. But imagine that one day you wake up in some faraway place (the remote islands of the Pacific, perhaps?) and your Internet connection no longer exists. What then? Then you might encounter a problem, unless you have a good old phrasebook as your companion. … More “SOUTH PACIFIC PHRASEBOOK” BY LONELY PLANET