Diving unclothed into a literary venevetaka

Baka Bina – author and thinker.
“I give credit to those who write
Tok Pisin for print. It is daunting”

BAKA BINA – posted on PNG Attitude Blog

PORT MORESBY – Reading Dr Michael Dom’s essays, ‘Vernacular Traces in the Crocodile Prize’, published in Tok Pisin and English in PNG Attitude and Ples Singsing, made me wonder if Tok Pisin or even a Tok Ples can be used in literature.

For many years, Tok Pisin has been used in the print media with Wantok Niuspepa, although the last time I bought the paper to read an article in Tok Pisin was three years ago.

This is dismal on my part however I give credit to those who do write Tok Pisin for print. It is daunting and I have great respect for those who write articles for Wantok.

I find that writing in Tok Pisin is hard when we are all inclined to write in English.

For simple straight stories, it is and can be done, but you have to put in the hard yakka.

Oral literature exists by the tonne, but getting it documented is problematic. 

Tok Ples is next to impossible when words keep dropping out of the Tok Ples vocabulary. For example, names of specific common garden weeds and trees are replaced with the generic ‘gras’ and ‘diwai’.

When writing in Tok Ples loses its genuineness and in Tok Pisin loses its specificity, we look to English science to name these items. 

I wonder what my Tok Ples calls okoropi (a common weed) will be called in future. I have heard it called the ‘huk-huk gras’ but that is also the name for several other grasses.

I exemplify my struggles with the pieces of writing below, which I’ve worked on for some time and developed a bit further. 

In future it may become easier but it takes time and effort.  However ‘not finding the time’ should not be a deterrence.

Poetry, though, whilst it lives in our songs and dances, constitutes a problem to me when it is written.

It may be my ignorance in not indulging in it. I will not delve further, perhaps the problem can be examined in further discourse by eminent others.

So writing in Tok Pisin may be hard and, yes, I realise word-for-word verbatim translations do not capture the nuances specific to each language, including Tok Pisin.

In the story below, I tried Tok Ples, Tok Pisin and English. I do my little bit to capture stories in the language and in Tok Pisin. (In this piece, I am already lazy on the English version).

I had tried this type of writing with my language group. I rejigged it here with a few additions posted on my language group Facebook page, Lets Learn Tokano and Embrace It.

I wrote the story separately first in Tokano, then in Tok Pisin and then interposed both over each other so readers can could follow. As an afterthought, I tried the English equivalent. 

There are some words like ‘iihi’ and ‘eghhe’ that are language specific and no equivalency will bring out the intended meaning.

Venevekata is a swimming spot with a pool along the Mapemo River that children from Blacks (Konobiufa) and Faif (Kotiyufa) villages have used for many years.

Swimming at Venevetaka has always created problems for mothers letting their children go without adult supervision.

Flash flooding is a constant threat as the view to the headwaters and mountains where the rain is generated is hidden by ravines. 

Children could be swept away by the flood surge. It was this initial surge we were always warned about.

This narration and the future four parts I intended would have captured the day’s outing.

I wrote this first section in Tok Ples, then rewrote it in what I thought was the best Tok Pisin equivalent and finally did the same in English. 

I set them out as first drafts but obviously the Pidgin and English versions need tinkering with to select the most appropriate words to elicit good and equivalent meanings.

Na Yes, Tok Pisin ken kamap Singsing na Stori taim toktok (Language of Literature) na em i min olsem, yu na mi, yumi olgeta mas triam long mekim dispela i kamap. 

Yumi mas igat hangre long raitim ol stori nau long Tok Ples na Tok Pisin. 

Mipela ken wari long tanim tok igo long gutpela Tok Pisin and Tok Inglis bihain. 

Kaunim liklik hap wok mi raitim ya na lukim, em samting mi, yu, mipela olgeta ken mekim.

Enjoy.

____________

Venevetaka Nosa Napa lo Nosau Okalosa Novune.

Yumi go Waswas long Venevetaka

We are going Swimming at Venevetaka

Hanava hamo

Nambawan hap

Part 1

(Tokano)            GHIJEGIPE KOMA MA’SI, IYELAHOSI GAMOJE KOMA MA LASI VE’.

(Tok Pisin)          WANPELA PIKININI NA MAMA MEKIM LIKLIK TOKTOK.

(English)             A MOTHER HAS A CONVERSATION WITH HER CHILD

(T)         Mah ghamena ve lii, vena mako miku ghonah toko miniveh.

(TP)       Wanpela taim wanpela meri i wok long gaten istap.

(E)         One day a woman was working in her garden.

(T)         Ghijigipela koma ma moneko mini kuti ake iyelahine ma, ive tunu, loka mike o tave.

(TP)       Liklik pikinini bilong em, em raun long wanpela istap long en, em wantaim ai wara i kam na krai long em.

(E)         Her child who was out somewhere came to her and cried to her about going someplace.

(T)         ‘Ii ii vemage, ma lona’ ghano ghipilihe, mah’lo.  Ive novoya tu’nu, neni lokamike  lamine ma nani ye,   lo’na.’

(TP)       ‘Oloman, gutpela mahm, yu tok, hangere painim yu oh.  Yu askim mi gutwan wantaim ia wara ya yu   tok.’

(E)         ‘Oh my Gosh, young man, you say, are your hungry oh what.   You are asking me nicely with tears in  your eyes.  What do you want?’

(T)         ‘Ihi, ihi, iyenoh!’ ihi.’

(TP)       ‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi.’

(E)         ‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

(T)         ‘Iyenahh, ihi ihi.’

 (TP)      ‘Mama, ihi ihi.’

(E)         ‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

(T)         ‘Ii-ii, Apomake, naneta ihe, ma loh’na vo?’

(TP)       ‘Ii-ii gutpela pren bilong mi, olsem wonem ya, yu tok.’

(E)         ‘Ii-ii, my good friend, tell me what is it.’

(T)         ‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi.’

(TP)       ‘Ihi, ihi, mama, ihi.’

(E)         ‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

(T)         ‘Eghhe, eghhe, ghijegipe napa li’mohsi nane ihi ihi ka noli gho.’

(TP)       ‘Eghhe, eghhe, bikpela pikinini pinis na wonem dispela ihi, ihi tumas ya.’

(E)         ‘Eghhe, eghhe, you are already a big child and why are you still whimpering.’

(T)         ‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi, Venevetaka vikena la!’

(TP)       ‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi, ol igo long Venevekata ya!’

(E)         ‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi, they have all gone to Venevetaka!’

(T)         ‘Ghoseleka noilaine’q la ghelepe! Nene yakaho ma Venevetaka vike gamoje ma  nolane.’

(TP)       ‘Yu mekim les pasin ya, yu harim ah. Em husat tok ol go Venevetaka toktok yu mekim.’

(E)         ‘You know that is ridiculous, who is that talking about Venevetaka that you are echoing here.’

(T)         ‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi.’

(TP)       ‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi.’

(E)         ‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

(T)         ‘Ihiq’ liha’, mene vena ma, amuto nakavosa to minine matunu, yokai  hiji ne’ja, ghigipe koma oluto  novi.’

(TP)       ‘Eh’ wonem ya’, nau dispela mama ya tok na i kisim stik bilong digim kaukau na laik traim sut spia  long pikinini tasol pikinini ya i kalap igo.’

(E)         What is this? Now the mother was angry.  She took her digging stick that she was digging kaukau with  and tried to spear her child with it.  The child jumped out of her way.

(T)         Mine apasalaka vominike, ghijigipe ma nene ive vela novoja to gholosa oko no huli. 

(TP)       Pikinini igo stap long arere bilong gaten na givim krai nogut tru.

(E)         The child then went to a safe distance and bawled his eyes out crying

(T)         (Koma a’ ne’ si.  Apasava’a koma a’li ke koma ma lolo niye.)

(TP)     (bilong surukim bihain taim)

(E)       (to be continued).

TOKANO TOK PLES

Ghijegipe Koma Ma’si, Iyelahosi  Gamoje Koma Ma Lasi Ve’

Mah ghamena ve lii, vena mako miku ghonah toko miniveh.

Ghijigipela koma ma moneko mini kuti ake iyelahine ma, ive tunu, loka mike o tave.

‘Ii ii vemage, ma lona’ ghano ghipilihe, mah’lo.  Ive novoya tu’nu, neni lokamike lamine ma nani ye, lo’na.’

‘Ihi, ihi, iyenoh!’ ihi.’

‘Iyenahh, ihi ihi.’

‘Ii-ii, Apomake, naneta ihe, ma loh’na vo?’

‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi.’

‘Eghhe, eghhe, ghijegipe napa li’moh’si nane ihi ihi ka’ noli gho.’

‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi, Venevetaka vikena la!’

‘Ghoseleka noilaine’q la ghelepe! Nene yakaho ma Venevetaka vike gamoje ma nolane.’

‘Ihi, ihi, iyenah!’ ihi.’

‘Ihiq’ liha’, mene vena ma, amuto nakavosa to minine matunu, yokai  hiji ne’ja, ghigipe koma olutoko novi.’

Mine apasalaka vominike, ghijigipe ma nene ive vela novoja to gholosa oko no huli. 

(Koma a’ ne’ si.  Apasava’a koma a’li ke koma ma lolo niye.)

TOK PISIN

Wanpela Pikinini Na Mama Mekim Liklik Toktok

Wanpela taim wanpela meri i wok long gaten istap 

Liklik pikinini bilong em, em raun long wanpela istap long en, em wantaim ai wara i kam na krai long em.

‘Oloman, gutpela mahm, yu tok, hangere painim yu oh.  Yu askim mi wantaim ia wara ya yu tok.’

‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi.’

‘Mama, ihi ihi.’

‘Ii-ii gutpela pren bilong mi, olsem wonem ya, yu tok.’

‘Ihi, ihi, mama, ihi.’

‘Eghhe, eghhe, bikpela pikinini pinis na wonem dispela ihi, ihi tumas ya.’

‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi, ol igo long Venevekata ya!’

‘Yu mekim les pasin ya, yu harim ah. Em husat tok ol go Venevetaka toktok yu mekim.’

‘Ihi ihi, mama, ihi.’

‘Eh’ wonem ya’, nau dispela mama ya tok na i kisim stik bilong digim kaukau na laik traim sut spia long pikinini tasol pikinini ya i kalap igo.’

Pikinini igo stap long arere bilong gaten na givim krai nogut tru.

(Bilong surukim bihain taim)

ENGLISH

A Mother Has A Conversation With Her Child

One day a woman was working in her garden.

Her child who was out somewhere came to her and cried to her about going someplace.

‘Oh my Gosh, young man, you say, are your hungry oh what.   You are asking me nicely with tears in your eyes.  What do you want?’

‘Ii-ii, my good friend, tell me what is it.’

‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

‘Eghhe, eghhe, you are already a big child and why are you still whimpering.’

‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi, they have all gone to Venevetaka!’

‘You know that is ridiculous, who is that talking about Venevetaka that you are echoing here.’

‘Ihi ihi, mamma, ihi.’

What is this? Now the mother was angry.  She took her digging stick that she was digging kaukau with and tried to spear her child with it.  The child jumped out of her way.

The child then went to a safe distance and bawled his eyes out crying

(To be continued).

Published by Ples Singsing

Ples Singsing is envisioned to be a new platform for Papua Niuginian expressions of creativity, ingenuity and originality in art and culture. We deliberately highlight these two very broad themes as they can encompass the diverse subjects, from technology, medicine and architecture to linguistics, music, fishing, gardening et cetera. Papua Niuginian ways of thinking, living, believing, communicating, dying and so on can cover the gamut of academic, journalistic or opinionated writing and we believe that unless we give ourselves a platform to talk about and discuss these things in an open, free and non-exclusively academic space that they may remain the fodder for academics, journalists and other types of writers alone. New social media platforms have given every individual a personal space to share their feelings and ideas openly, sometimes without immediate censure. The Ples Singsing writer’s blog would like to provide another more structured platform for Papua Niuginian expressions in written, visual and audio formats while also providing some regulation of the type and content of materials to be shared publicly.

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