[Mihalic] Two ?new? pidgin words from Sandaun
bja406 at coombs.anu.edu.au
Sat Nov 13 12:33:29 EST 2004
I have just returned from a week staying at Rangwe village, about an hours
walk south from Mukili airstrip, southeast of Lumi, in Sandaun. This area
was the location for intensive oil prospecting work in the 1930s by Oil
Search Ltd. The Oil Search people cut graded walking tracks that zig-zag up
the almost vertical climbs and contour around the peaks and troughs of the
ridges. Local people largely ignore these graded tracks and have reverted
to going straight up and down. In the 1950s, the Catholic Mission cut a
graded vehicle track from Namblo to the south, to Mukili. From Namblo it is
still possible to drive a vehicle to Nuku, but the Namblo to Mukili section
has fallen into disuse. Recently, on the promise of an upgraded road from
Nuku to Namblo, people have cleared the mission road of scrub and walking
is generally very pleasant again.
In pidgin these graded tracks, both vehicle and walking tracks are called
"spet rot" or literally a 'spade road', a road formed using spades.
They are also called "baret". Just that, no "rot". When I first heard the
conversation, "Yu go long wonem rot?" from a villager to our guide, who
replied, "Mipela go long baret", my heart sank, because I thought we were
about to plunge into the bush, straight down a vertical 200m descent into
the stream (the baret) below and then straight up the other side. But no,
we proceeded along the graded track. The graded tracks are called "baret".
Presumably, this is because most graded tracks have a baret alongside them.
So two ?new (has anyone else come across these terms?) for a graded walking
or vehicle track, "spet rot" and "baret". And a ?new meaning of "baret".
Dr Bryant Allen
Land Management Group
Department of Human Geography
Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies
The Australian National University
ACT 0200 Australia
ANU CRICOS Provider Number is 00120C
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