Sample Texts


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1 Seiwok babenomi h-a-kәri әn-ombi urah h-a-ni worɨbɨs ehiwac c-a-pwe.
2 long.ago grandfather:7PL 7PL-R-say some-units jungle 8PL-R-and river:PL spirit:8PL 8PL-R-sit
3 Long ago our grandfathers said that at places here and there in the dense jungle and rivers there were bush spirits.
4 Bipo bipo yet ol tumbuna itok olsem long sampela hap insait long wara na bikbus igat masalai istap.
6 Ehiwac c-a-kәri sәgәbehem h-ә-k-ec әrɨgeh=i.
7 spirit:8PL 8PL-R-say spirit:7PL 7PL-R-give-8PL sick=REL
8 They say ehiwac are ghosts that give people sickness.
9 Masalai iolsem ol spirit nogut ol isave mekim sik ikamap long man.
11 Dou әn-eɲ әrәpeɲ aka batowiɲ ɲeraubor=um әtә c-ɨ-na c-ɨ-kɨrip eɲɨndә әrәpeɲ
12 now some-8SG person:8SG or child:8SG sick=COND FUT 8PL-IR-go 8PL-IR-tell this:8SG person:8SG
13 Now, if a person or child is sick, his or her relatives will go tell the person
14 Na sapos wanpela pikinini o man igat sik nau bai ol igo na toktok long man
16 ɲ-a-dɨkem-ec=um ɲ-ɨ-c-aur-um-ec.
17 8SG-R-know-8PL=REL 8SG-IR-8PL-hang.up-BEN-8PL.
18 who knows the supplicating magic.
19 husait isave long pasin bilong hangamapim samting bilong bekim.
21 Әdiә eɲɨndә arәpeɲ ɲ-ɨ-kita ɲ-ɨ-hɨr әn-әbәr utәbәr aka
22 then this:8SG person:8SG ɲ8SG-IR-get.up 8SG-IR-pick.up some-PL.IRREG stone:?PL or
23 Then, this person will get up, take some money or
24 Man ia em bai kirap nau kisim sampela moni o
26 әnec yuwahәs aka at-uhʷ-at-uhʷ sɨruhʷ әtә ɲ-ɨ-na
27 some-8PL shell.ring:8PL or one-12PL-one-12PL ornament:12PL FUT 8SG-IR-go
28 some rings or a few ornaments, and will go
29 sampela ol ring o wanwan bilas nau na em bai go
31 gani ehiwac c-a-pwe=um.
32 LOC spirit:32 8PL 8PL-R-sit=REL
33 to where the ehiwac are.
34 long masalai istap long em hap.
36 Әdiә ɲ-u-waur әhɨdә jah әdiә ɲ-ɨ-pwe ɲ-ɨ-tik.
37 then 8SG-IR-hang.up this:13SG stuff:13SG then 8SG-IR-sit 8SG-IR-see.
38 He will hang this stuff up [from a branch], and sit down and watch.
39 Em bai hangamapim dispela ol samting nau na em bai sindaun istap lukluk.
41 Ɲ-ɨ-pwe ɲ-ɨ-ti әn-әr arәmir coburon aka ihʷautebɨr c-ɨ-nak-i
42 8SG-IR-sit 8SG-IR-see some-10SG bird:10SG dragonfly:6SG or butterfly:2SG 8PL-IR-go-toward.spkr
43 He will wait and see a bird, dragonfly, or butterfly come
44 Lukluk nau na em lukim pisin or bataplai ikam
46 c-ɨ-kih-i c-ɨ-tem iruhʷ-ih-әm jah әdiә eɲɨndә arәpeɲ
47 8PL-IR-arise-toward.spkr 8PL-IR-rest.upon above-13SG-OBL stuff:13SG then this:8SG person:8SG
48 and rest upon this stuff, and then this person
49 sindaun istap antap long dispela ol samting nau
51 ɲ-e-ne pɨripɨrәs=i әtә ɲ-ɨ-dɨkem-ec ɲ-a-kana ehiwac c-ә-bure jah.
52 8SG-R-do magic=REL FUT 8SG-IR-know-8PL 8SG-R-say spirit:8PL PERF 8PL-R-pull.down stuff:13SG
53 will know that the ehiwac have accepted the stuff.
54 bai em save olsem masalai ikam kisim ol samting pinis.
56 Әdiә ɲ-a-kana wosik ɲ-ɨ-kitak ɲ-ɨ-bure jah ɲ-ɨ-suw-әh
57 then 8SG-R-say alright 8SG-IRR-arise 8SG-IRR-pull.down stuff:13SG 8SG-IRR-hold-13SG
58 Then he'll say alright, get up, take down the stuff,
59 Bai em tok orait. Em bai kirap kisim samting ikam daun nau,
61 әriә ɲ-ɨ-na wabɨr.
62 then 8SG-IRR-go village:2SG
63 and carry it back to the village.
64 na em igo long ples.
66 Әtә ɲ-ɨ-na ɲ-ɨ-kәrip-ec ɲ-a-kana wosik, ehiwac igә c-ә-hɨr jah
67 FUT 8SG-IR-go 8SG-IR-tell-8PL 8SG-IR-say alright spirit:8PL PERF 8PL-R-lift.up stuff:13SG
68 He will go and tell them alright; the ehiwac have taken the stuff;
69 Go nau na em tokim ol orait, masalai ikisim ol samting pinis,
71 cәhɨr y-a-h-aur-um-ec=i jah.
72 PERF 8PL-R-lift.up ISG-R-lift-OBL-8PL-REL stuff:13SG
73 they have taken the stuff that I hung up for them.
74 ol ikisim ol samting mi hangamapim long ol istap ia.
76 Әtә әnәn okwok aka batowiɲ ɲ-e-raubor=i әtә sour-eɲ.
77 FUT 7SG.PRO 4SG.PRO or child.7SG 8SG-R-lift=REL FUT healthy-7SG
78 He or she or the child who is sick will be healthy.
79 Man o meri o pikinini husait igat sik bai kamap gutpela gen.
81 Dou әbɨdә ɲɨtәb mundai m-o-ne ecɨde en-ec-en-ec uwe.
82 now this:1SG time NEG 1PL-R-make this:8PL some-8PL-some-8PL NEG
83 Today in this time we do not do these things anymore.
84 Nau long dispela taim mipela ino save mekim olsem, nogat.
86 Arәpeɲ ɲ-e-raubor=um douk, әtә ɲ-ɨ-na ɲ-ɨ-rau marasin gani hausik.
87 person:8SG 8SG-R-sick-COND now, FUT 8SG-IR-go 8SG-IR-get medicine:TP LOC hospital:TP
88 When a person is sick today, he will go get medicine at the health center.
89 Long dispela taim sapos man o meri igat sik bai em igo long hausik bilong kisim marasin.
91 Douk misinari c-e-nak-i c-a-kana ecɨde en-ec-en-ec mundai adɨr-ic uwe.
92 now missionary:TP 8PL-R-go-toward.spkr 8PL-R-say 8this:8PL some-8PL-some-8PL NEG true-8PL NEG
93 Today missionaries have come and said that these things are not true.
94 Nau ol misineri ikam na ol tokim mipela olsem dispela samting em ino stret.
96 Douk әtә p-ɨ-ne urukum=um әt-ɨn got n-a-pwe.
97 now FUT IIPL-IR-do heart:5SG=OBL one-7SG god:TP 7SG-R-sit
98 Today you should believe in one god.
99 Gutpela moa olsem yu gat bilip long wanpela got istap tasol.
101 Ecɨde en-ec-en-ec yowei-c-i giagik-ic әtә mare p-ɨ-nek-ec.
102 these:8PL some-8PL-some-8PL bad-8PL-PRED false-8PL FUT NEG IIPL-IR-do-8PL
103 These bad things are false and you should not do them.
104 Dispela ol samting ino gutpela olsem na yu no ken mekim.
106 Әriә douk mundai m-o-nek-ec uwe.
107 then now NEG IPL-IR-do-8PL NEG
108 And so now we do not do them.
109 Olsem nau mipela no save mekim.
106 Ehiwac-iɲ boraɲ eɲɨndək et-iɲ.
107 spirit:8PL-8SG talk:8SG this:8SG one-8SG
108 This is the end of the story about bush spirits.
109 Em tasol, toktok bilong masalai.


The "Ehiwac" text was dictated by the late Matthew Rahiria in Wautogik village and transcribed by Lise Dobrin as he spoke. The date was c. late 1998. The text is represented here "sentence by sentence" according to the usual linguistic conventions, though this obscures the poetic structure of the narrative event. In the course of discussing the text immediately after he told it, Matthew added some clarifications (corresponding approximately to lines 51-56). These disrupt the narrative organization to some extent: like each scene in the Bethlehem story, Matthew's original telling of "Ehiwac" comprises three coherent four verse stanzas.

The text describes the forms of contact Arapesh people traditionally had with their masalai (Cemaun Arapesh: SG ehiwaɲ ~ PL ehiwac), dangerous bush spirits inabiting dark, inhospitable forest lands. When a villager became ill and a masalai was determined to be the cause, the sick person's relatives would ask "the one who knew the supplicating magic" to appeal to the masalai with gifts so that the villager would recover. These practices have been lost with the arrival Christianity and western medicine. More information about Papua New Guineans' changing relationship to masalai can be found on pp. xxv-xxvi of Thomas Slone's 2001 book of folktales, One thousand one Papua New Guinean nights: Ancestor Stories from Wantok Newspaper, Volume 1.