[Mihalic] getting it right can really matter!
Lise M. Dobrin
dobrin at virginia.edu
Thu Jan 20 06:39:50 EST 2005
Reading through some unpublished manuscript materials by the
anthropologist Reo Fortune, I've run across a sobering story about
the consequences of improperly understood Tok Pisin:
On p.233 of the original edition of Margaret Mead's The Mountain
Arapesh I, An Importing Culture, there is a photograph of a Bukiyip
("Plains Arapesh") man. According to Fortune, this man later "met
with a violent end owing to an Australian military patrols' poor
knowledge of pidgin English. They asked him in pidgin 'you no help
him Japanese,' and he, vouching for his loyalty and affirming the
negative, answered 'yes,' and was shot without futher interrogation."
So getting it right can really matter!
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