[Mihalic] Highlands courting

Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies ipngs at global.net.pg
Mon Nov 14 10:40:33 EST 2005

Tom Slone's recent posting noted: "For comparisonn, consider the localized
terms "kukim nus" (Mihalic, p. 117) and "karim lek" (p. 107), which are
localized TP phrases." This also prompted me to check Mihalic and the
online entries. Online we have the following two, with my comments marked
with **:

karim lek a Middle Wahgi custom of courtship where girls sit side by side
boys, putting their legs across their thighs, singing courting songs;
groups of girls invite boys, not the other way round.
**Certainly also in Chimbu.

kukim nus custom of courting in Melpa language area, Western Highlands,
where girls and boys sit alternately side by side to sing courting songs;
physical contact is more restricted than in karim lek, couples turning to
rub noses.
**Also in Mid Wahgi and Chimbu. Is physical contact "more restricted" if
you rub noses, rather than putting your legs on top of your partner's?

Actually, I think the more commonly used term in the Hagen area is "tanim
het", which is neither in Mihalic nor online. But I've also heard "karim
lek" in Hagen, even though they do not position their legs as described
above. Hence, I think the latter is also used in a more generic sense,
referring to the indoor courting dance, rather than just the specific
choroeographic movements.

Mareng, Narak, and Gende also have similar types of courting, but I'm not
sure if they are best described as "karim lek", "kukim lek", or "tanim
het". And Kewa and Wiru have apparently imported "tanim het"-style
dances/courting post-contact.

Fascinating stuff, which I hope other contributors can expand upon.


Don Niles
Acting Director
Institute of Papua New Guinea Studies
P.O. Box 1432
Boroko 111

tel.:	[675] 325-4644
fax:	[675] 325-0531
email:	ipngs at global.net.pg

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