Category Archives: Cameroon

Rapid Fall of Germany’s Overseas Empire

From African Kaiser: General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck and the Great War in Africa, 1914-1918, by Robert Gaudi (Caliber, 2017), Kindle Loc. 365-394:

Today, a bronze historical marker in Belgium memorializes the first British shot of World War One and the first death in battle involving British troops. According to this marker, the opening round of uncountable millions was fired by Corporal Ernest Thomas of C Squadron, 4th Royal Irish Dragoons on August 22, 1914, in a cavalry action near the town of Casteau, Belgium. The first combatant killed, a German uhlan (mounted infantryman), is credited to Captain Charles B. Hornby in that same action. Captain Hornby pierced the unfortunate uhlan’s heart by saber thrust—an ironically old-fashioned death (on horseback, with a sword) in what was to become a decidedly modern war (mechanized, faceless), its human toll exceeding 14,000,000. But the markers’ assertions do not stand historical scrutiny; their authors disregard earlier campaigns in far-off Africa.

The first British shot of the war actually occurred on August 5, fired off by Regimental Sergeant Major Alhaji Grunshi, a black African soldier serving with British Imperial forces a few miles north of Lomé, in German Togoland. The first recorded British death in battle, one Lieutenant G. M. Thompson of the Gold Coast Regiment, took place sometime over the night of August 21–22, also in Togoland: Lieutenant Thompson, given command of a company of Senegalese Tirailleurs, fought it out with German askaris in a confused action in the thick bush on the banks of the river Chra. His comrades found him in the morning, lying dead and covered with insects in the midst of his slaughtered command. They buried them that way; the Senegalese arranged around Lieutenant Thompson’s grave like a loyal pack of hounds around the tomb of a Paleolithic chief.

After less than a year of war, the German Overseas Empire—one of the main catalysts for the war in the first place—seemed nearly at an end.

In China, on the other side of the globe, the small German garrison holding the Kiao-Chow Concession found itself besieged by a Japanese Army 23,000 strong, supported by a small contingent of the 2nd Battalion of South Wales Borderers. The Concession—a 400-square-mile territory centered in the fortified port city of Tsingtao on the Yellow Sea—had been ceded to Germany in 1897 as compensation for the murder of two German Catholic priests by anti-Christian Chinese mobs. Tsingtao’s commandant, Kapitän zur See Meyer-Waldeck, held out against the siege behind the city’s thick walls for two months, under continual bombardment from land and sea as Japanese Infantry assault trenches pushed relentlessly forward. Realizing the pointlessness of further struggle against the combined might of the Japanese Army and Navy, Meyer-Waldeck surrendered his garrison of 3,000 German marines and sundry volunteers at last on November 16, 1914. It came as a surprise to him that the Japanese and the British were fighting together against Germany—they had signed a secret mutual defense treaty in 1902, only now bearing fruit.

Meanwhile, Australian, New Zealand, and Japanese forces easily captured German possessions in the South Pacific. These included the Bismarck Archipelago, the Caroline Islands, the Marshall Islands, the Marianas, Palau, New Caledonia, and Samoa—where the Kaiser’s barefoot native soldiers sported fetching red sarongs beneath their formal German military tunics—and Kaiser-Wilhelmsland, now the northeastern part of Papua New Guinea. Here one intrepid German officer, a certain Hauptmann Herman Detzner, who had been off exploring the unknown interior with a contingent of native police, refused to surrender and remained on the loose in the wilderness for the duration of the war. He turned himself in to the occupying Australians on January 5, 1919, wearing his carefully preserved and outdated Imperial German uniform—a kind of German Rip van Winkle who had been asleep in the jungle while the world changed irrevocably around him. By July 1915, of Germany’s prewar colonial possessions, only German East Africa remained.

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Filed under Britain, Cameroon, China, Germany, Ghana, Micronesia, migration, military, nationalism, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tanzania, war

Cameroon Tales: Two Cooks

For most of his recent sabbatical in Cameroon, my brother stayed in a big hilltop white-elephant of a house overlooking a small village on the busy main highway between Yaoundé, the capital, and Douala, the main port city. The house was the ostensible headquarters of a personal NGO owned by an international businessman from that village, whom my brother had once helped get started in the business of importing cars from Europe into Cameroon. As village benefactor, he had later acquired overseas aid to build and maintain a village well, build a nursery school, and build his own seldom-used mansion.

My brother’s housemates there were three men from neighboring Central African Republic, speakers of a Gbaya language called Suma who were working on documenting their language, on a project funded almost entirely out of my brother’s own pocket. He has known the elder two men (now in their 50s) since the late 1970s, when he was working for the Peace Corps and then USAID in the then Central African Empire.

To feed himself and his team, my brother asked to hire a cook from the local village. The sleazy caretaker of the mansion, a childhood friend of the benefactor now in his 40s, recommended the 16-year-old girl living with him, who soon proved that she neither knew how to cook nor cared to learn, even when an older woman was hired to help teach her.

One day the young cook got a call from her elder sister telling her that the latter’s baby was very sick, and asking for help. My brother offered to give her an advance on her salary, since it was so near the end of the month anyway, so that she could send some money to her sister. But her man (the caretaker) took that money, beat her, and forbade her to visit her sister. The cook then came to my brother and asked for more help, but the caretaker swore that he never beat her (even claiming she had attacked him), and that he never took her money, only “put it aside” in order to prevent her leaving to go take of the sick baby.

Although the cook threatened to leave the caretaker—just as she had earlier infuriated her family by running away from home to be with him—she soon relented, made up with him, and returned to work as if nothing had happened. Nevertheless, her enthusiasm for cooking never improved, and my brother finally fired her a few weeks before we arrived for our visit.

The replacement cook was far from a spoiled brat. She was the devoutly religious, 30-something mother of four young children whose husband had abandoned her in Kribi, on the south coast, whereupon she tried to find her sister, who had married into the village where we stayed. She ran out of cash in the market and crossroads town nearest her sister’s village, but a taxi driver from the latter village was kind enough to give her and her brood a free ride to her sister’s house, which had only one room to spare for her and her four kids.

Lacking land and a husband, she resorted to gathering forest herbs for sale by the roadside to earn a little cash. The village chief’s unmarried son dallied with her for a while, but he was very likely scared off by the prospect of raising her four kids (although she blamed it on his inability to abide by her strict religious scruples). The chance to cook for a household of foreigners was a godsend—except for the jealousy it aroused among the other villagers.

She proved a diligent and capable cook who used her new supply of cash to rent some land and pay a crew to clear a field for planting—all just in time for the start of the rainy season. And she was finally able to pay the village medic to treat her two-year-old boy for worms.

When it came time for my brother and his team to leave the village, he promised her whatever food supplies remained in the kitchen. She didn’t show up for the good-bye party, however. Instead, she waited out behind the kitchen until after darkness fell and all the guests had left—so that no one would see her carry the extra food to her sister’s house, and then spread gossip about the passing good fortune of one of the most destitute women in the village.

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Filed under Cameroon, economics, labor, language, migration, religion

Cameroon Tales: The PTA Meeting

After spending our first night in Cameroon in a hotel in Yaoundé, we changed money with a friendly Nigerian Igbo at the Hilton, went shopping for food at the central market and for baguettes at a suburban bakery, then drove the two hours back to the village where my brother was staying in time for a short rest before the parent-teacher meeting for the local preschool (maternelle) that we were invited to attend that afternoon at 4 p.m.

We had been invited in order to thank my brother for his small monetary donation, which had enabled the teacher to buy some new and much needed school supplies. The meeting was held in the salon of the chief of the village, and my brother and I stopped to buy a half-dozen large bottles of beer and soft drinks for those who attended. We purchased them from the village patriarch’s store, waking him up from his afternoon nap on his front porch.

In the chief’s salon, we found about a dozen parents seated across from the sofa that the chief had reserved for us, and an open box of school supplies on the coffee table in the center of the room. As others were allocating the drinks we had brought, the chief told me my brother had never accepted his offers of homemade oil palm wine (there called vin blanc) but he wondered whether I would like to try it. After a moment’s hesitation, I said I would be happy to, rationalizing that the alcohol in it would help neutralize the residual bacteria. The chief then called for his palm wine and filled two stemmed glasses from his cupboard. The palm wine was palatable, though poorly filtered.

The president then rose to welcome us, asking first whether he could address me in French (rather than switch to English, presumably). My brother assured him I spoke several languages, neglecting to mention my poor speaking ability. In fact, I could follow the proceedings pretty well until they later gave way to more free-flowing conversation and storytelling.

Then the president introduced the maitresse, who did a show-and-tell of the supplies she had bought, which included various (French) literacy and language materials, workbooks and educational activities, and about a dozen rolls of toilet paper to be used in the brick outhouse that had been started behind the school building. She regretted only that she had not been able to obtain materials to teach numeracy as well as literacy. As she finished, she offered to turn over her receipts to my brother, as the donor, but he suggested she turn them over to the president, who had replaced a corrupt predecessor.

The president was a successful businessman who got his start as a chauffeur for Catholic nuns, and my brother’s regular driver would usually rent the president’s car when he hired himself out as a driver. The maitresse was a trained and dedicated teacher who had recently fallen victim to pickpockets in a shared taxi on her way home from a bank in Yaoundé with a loan of 1.5 million francs CFA with which to build a house. She was very slowly paying back the loan from her very modest teacher’s salary.

After the formalities were over, the conversation drifted to other topics. One man asked us why Obama was not (yet) intervening in Libya. (This was an overwhelmingly Christian village less concerned than a largely Muslim village may have been about the delicacy of American relations with the Muslim world.) Later, after somebody else told a story about an encounter with a large snake, this same man said he had seen a show on National Geographic about people handling poisonous snakes without getting bitten. He obviously had access to satellite TV and was concerned to educate himself as well as his children. He and I (and the chief) were the only ones drinking the chief’s palm wine instead of beer.

Big pot of ndole

Ndole, a stew of bitterleaf, ground peanuts, and fish

We finally made our exit, explaining that our new cook had made a big pot of ndole, the national dish, to welcome us. This stew of bitterleaf greens, ground peanuts, and fish or meat takes a lot of time and effort, so everyone was impressed. In fact, we had hardly finished eating when the chief showed up at our door, with the village patriarch and another of his drinking buddies, saying they had come to sample our ndole, which their wives rarely made. They pronounced it very well prepared, at which my brother could not resist telling the chief that he could be eating it more often if his son had gone ahead and married the cook after romancing her. They finally left after finding out we had no more beer or wine on hand.

The tale of two cooks will be the next installment.

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Filed under Cameroon, education, food

Wordcatcher Tales: Binga, Befam

The dusty dirt road from Lolodorf to Ebolowa was only 107 km long, but it took us three hours to cover the distance in our hired Toyota sedan, over ten years old and without air-conditioning, so we often had to choose between keeping the dust out and the heat in, or letting some dust in to get some fresh air. By the time we reached the outskirts of Ebolowa, we were ready for a refreshing lunch stop in as nice a restaurant as we could find, so we began asking people on the street to direct us to the nearest hotel, which turned out to the brand-new, European-standard Florence Hôtel. (We found out too late that we would have had many more choices had we driven into the city center first.)

We felt out-of-place from the moment we entered the front gates and noticed the newer Mercedes and Land Cruiser parked inside. The feeling only increased as our parched and dusty party of four were ushered to a linen-covered table with fine silverware opposite a wooden bar counter with a premium selection of duty-free-shop liquors on the wall behind it. Despair mounted as we perused the menu. The cheapest main dish cost 4,000 francs CFA (< 10 USD), and the price of the table d’hôte buffet set out for a banquet meeting then underway of visiting dignitaries from the Société Nationale d’Investissement du Cameroun was 12,000 francs CFA.

We finally settled on vegetable soups for starters and fruit plates for dessert (each about 2,000 francs), with nothing in between, and bottled water to drink. Our waiter was pleasantly accommodating and even brought us extra water at no charge. He very likely assumed we were missionaries, especially after we quizzed him about the words that marked the women’s and men’s rooms, binga and befam, respectively. (It was like seeing wahine and kane on the restroom doors of a French brasserie in Honolulu.) The restrooms were otherwise to European standard, spotlessly clean, with hot and cold running water, airjet hand driers, and toilet paper. In fact, they were the nicest restrooms we used during our two weeks in Cameroon.

We stopped later in the afternoon at the Repere Bar on the outskirts of Yaoundé in order for our driver and my brother belatedly to eat their main courses, beef stew with manioc and rice, respectively, for 500 francs each, while my wife and I each had a large bottle of Guinness, for 900 francs each. (The facilities there were rather more basic.)

The language we had encountered on the doors was Bulu, a dialect of the Beti language group widely spoken across the rain forests of southern Cameroon and neighboring countries. The current president of Cameroon, Paul Biya, comes from the Beti-speaking region. According to our Florence Hôtel waiter, binga means ‘women’ and minga means ‘woman’, while befam means ‘men’ and fam means ‘man’ (a near homophone of French femme). Speakers of Castilian or Catalan can get a taste of the closely related Fang dialect online.

This kind of distinction is typical of Bantu languages, which mark different noun classes with prefixes that distinguish singular from plural in the case of count nouns. Or at least they do so in Narrow Bantu, if not so regularly in Wide Bantu (or Bantoid) languages. In fact, the word bantu means ‘people’, while muntu means ‘person’. And that’s why so many placenames in parts of Cameroon start with Ba-.

The most memorable introduction to this phenomenon that I’ve ever read was a passage in African Language Structures (U. California Press, 1974) by William Everett Welmers, who on p. 160 applies Bantu noun class and concord systems to words borrowed from English:

KiSwahili
kipilefti ~ vipilefti ’roundabout(s), traffic circle(s)’
digadi ~ madigadi ‘fender(s)’ (< mudguard)

KeRezi (a fictional Bantu language)
mudigadi ~ badigadi ‘bodyguard(s)’
mutenda ~ batenda ‘bartender(s)’
matini ‘martini’ (with ma- marking mass nouns for liquids)

UPDATE: We’re back from Cameroon and will have more tales to tell, but only after finishing taxes, posting more photos, and hitting the road for another week of travel.

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Filed under Cameroon, food, language, NGOs, travel

Far Outliers Off to Africa for Two Weeks

The Far Outliers leave tonight for a two-week trip to Cameroon to visit my historian brother who’s on sabbatical there helping to document some languages from neighboring Central African Republic, where he served in the Peace Corps many years ago. It’s a long way for a short trip, but it’s the chance of a lifetime. It’ll be our first trip to the continent. We’ll be in good hands, but we’ll have very limited access to email and the web, so I may not be able to respond to blog comments. I hope to take plenty of photos to share via Flickr and to get some firsthand exposure to the English-based pidgin, Kamtok, which I understand still thrives in the northwest region (former British Cameroons).

With all the economic woes facing highly developed economies, it’s heartening to read some good news about economic development in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The economic transformation that has taken place over the last decade has laid out a solid foundation from which to build on. According to the International Monetary Fund, real GDP in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 5.7% annually between 2000 and 2008, more than double the pace during 1980s and 90s.

The collective output of it’s 50-plus economies, meanwhile, reached US$1.6-trillion, far greater than, say, global industrial power Republic of Korea.

Not surprisingly, Africa’s impressive economic momentum over this period owes much to its natural resource wealth that includes a majority of the world’s platinum, chromium and diamonds and a large share of global oil and gas reserves and gold and uranium deposits. However, rising prices for these commodities is only part of the story. According to McKinsey, natural resources and related government spending accounted for 32% of Africa’s GDP growth, with the remaining two-thirds nicely distributed across other sectors, notably wholesale and retail, agriculture, transportation and telecommunications.

Underlying this economic breadth, says the report, is the African consumer. From 2005 to 2008, consumer spending increased at a compounded annual rate of 16% and rose in all but two countries. Millions of Africans have moved from the “destitute” level of income below US$1,000 a year to the “basic needs” level between US$1,000 and US$5,000. A smaller portion have moved into the middle income bracket of US$5,000 to US$25,000.

“There is a lot more going on than just natural resources,” Mr. Field-Marsham says. “The middle class is exploding. They are buying soap, they’re buying beer, they’re buying telephones, they’re building housing, and they’re buying cement. Now, everybody has a stake.”

We’re taking a few small electronic gifts for my brother’s friends and colleagues: flash drives, memory cards, rechargeable AA and AAA batteries, and such.

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Filed under Africa, Cameroon, economics, family, travel

Legend of Sens-Pas-King in Kamtok & Tok Pisin

From West African Pidgin-English: A Descriptive Linguistic Analysis with Texts and Glossary from the Cameroon Area, by Gilbert Donald Schneider (Athens, Ohio, 1966), pp. 177-179. I have followed Schneider’s spelling of Kamtok (except for collapsing mid vowel distinctions) and his translation into English, and have added my own translation into Tok Pisin (New Guinea Pidgin). Both pidgin varieties here are likely to be somewhat rural and old-fashioned.

1k. Som boi i bin bi fo som fan kontri fo insai Afrika, we i bin get plenti sens.
1e. There once lived a very clever lad who lived in a beautiful part of Africa.
1p. I gat wanpela boi i bin stap long wanpela naispela hap long namel bilong Afrika, we em i saveman tru.

2k. I pas king fo sens sef, so i nem bi sens-pas-king.
2e. He was smarter than the King himself and so was given the name, Wiser-than-king.
2p. I winim king yet long save, olsem na ol i kolim em Save-winim-king.

(P olsem ‘so, thus’ < E all same)

3k. King i bin feks plenti, ha i bin hia sey, dis smol-boi i di kas eni-man fo sens.
3e. The King was very annoyed when he heard how this young boy was outwitting everyone.
3p. King em i kros tru, taim i harim tok olsem, dispela boi i save winim yumi olgeta long save.

(K ha ‘how, as’; K kas ‘catch, outwit’)

4k. So, king i bin mimba sey, i go kas i, i go win i fo sens.
4e. He decided to put the lad in his place with a few tricks of his own.
4p. Olsem na king i tingting olsem, em bai kisim em, em bai winim em long save.

(K mimba ‘think’ < E. remember; P kisim ‘catch s.t.’)

5k. I bin sen i imasinja som dey, we dem bin tok say, mek yu kom fo king i tong, na palaba i de.
5e. One day the King sent a messenger to the young man and summoned him to come to the palace for a discussion.
5p. Wanpela dei em i bin salim tultul bilong en bilong tokim em olsem em i mas kam long ples bilong king na toktok wantaim em.

(K tong ‘town, house, place’; P tultul ‘translator’)

6k. Sens-pas-king i bin go, i mas-fut fo rot, waka trong fo hil, sotey i rich fo king i tong.
6e. Wiser-than-king began his journey, up and down the steep hills he went and so finally arrived at the King’s palace.
6p. Save-winim-king i bin go, i wokabaut long rot bilong maunten, inap long em i kamap long ples bilong king.

7k. King i tok sey, yu don kom.
7e. (Upon arrival) the king welcomed him.
7p. King i tok olsem, yu kam pinis.

(K preverbal don and P postverbal pinis mark perfective aspect.)

8k. Mek yu klin ma het, biabia i don plenti tumos fo ma het.
8e. He asked the young man to cut his hair because it was so long.
8p. Yu mas klinim het bilong mi, gras bilong en i kamap planti tumas.

(K biabia, P gras ‘hair’)

9k. Sens-pas-king i bin tok gri sey, i go bap king i het.
9e. Wiser-than-king agreed to cut the King’s hair.
9p. Save-winim-king i tok olsem, orait, bai mi katim gras bilong het bilong king.

(K bap ‘[to] barber’)

10k. I bigin kot-am, bot ha i di kot-am, i di soso trowe simol kon fo fawu, we i de fo king i domot.
10e. But as he was cutting he was also continually throwing down a little corn for the chickens in the King’s courtyard.
10p. Tasol taim em i kirap long katim, em i tromwe liklik kon wantaim long ol paul i stap arasait long haus bilong King.

(K soso ‘only, just’; K domot ‘front yard’ lit. ‘door-mouth’)

11k. King i aks i sey, ha yu di soso trowe kon?
11e. The King asked him, “Why are you always throwing down corn?”
11p. King i askim em olsem, bilong wanem yu tromwe kon i stap?

(P bilong wanem ‘why’ lit. ‘for what’)

12k. Boi ansa i sey, na lo fo gif chop fo fawu?
12e. The lad answered, “Is there a law against feeding chickens?”
12p. Boi i bekim tok olsem, i gat lo long givim kaikai long ol paul?

(P ol plural marker < E all)

13k. Simol tam i don pinis i wok.
13e. Soon he finished his task.
13p. Liklik taim, em i pinisim wok bilong en.

14k. King i het don nyanga bat.
14e. The King’s head looked very fine.
14p. Het bilong king i naispela nogut tru.

(K nyanga ‘handsome’; K bat, P nogut ‘bad, very’)

15k. King i bigin hala, sey, na wati!
15e. The King (then) began to shout, “What’s going on here?”
15p. King i kirap long singaut, olsem wanem?

16k. Simol wowo pikin klin het fo bik-man?
16e. “Can a good-for-nothing youngster cut (shave) the hair of an elder?”
16p. Liklik pikinini nating i katim gras bilong het bilong bikpela man?

(K wowo ‘useless, dirty’; P nating ‘useless’ < E nothing)

17k. Mek yu put bak ma biabia wan-tam!
17e. Put the hair back in place immediately!”
17p. Givim bek gras bilong het bilong mi kwiktaim!

18k. A go kil yu ifi yu no put-am!
18e. “I’ll kill you if you don’t put them back!”
18p. Bai mi kilim yu i dai sapos yu no bekim!

(P sapos ‘if’ < E suppose; kilim ‘hit, beat’, kilim i dai ‘kill’)

19k. Sens-pas-king tok sey, no kes.
19e. Wiser-than-king replied, “It doesn’t matter.”
19p. Save-winim-king i tok olsem, Nogat samting.

20k. A gri. A bi daso sey, mek yu gif bak ma kon bifo a go fiks yu biabia agen.
20e. “I will gladly put your hair back, if you return the corn I fed to your chickens.”
20p. Orait. Tasol mi tok, yu bekim kon bilong mi pestaim, orait, bai mi bekim gras bilong het bilong yu.

(K daso, P tasol ‘only, but’ < E that’s all; P pestaim ‘first’ < E first time)

21k. King i no sabi wati fo tok.
21e. The King was speechless.
21p. King i no save bekim tok ya.

22k. i mof don lok.
22e. He was dumbfounded.
22p. Maus bilong en i pas pinis.

(K lok ‘locked’; P pas ‘fast(ened)’)

23k. Sens-pas-king i di go daso. Man no fit fan i kes fo dis wan.
23e. Wiser-than-king went on his way and no one was able to find fault with him.
23p. Save-winim-king i wokabaut i go. Ol i no inap kotim em long dispela.

(K no fit, P no inap ‘not able < E fit, enough; kotim ‘take s.o. to court’)

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Filed under anglosphere, Cameroon, language, Papua New Guinea

Varieties of Kamtok (vs. Tok Pisin)

From West African Pidgin-English: A Descriptive Linguistic Analysis with Texts and Glossary from the Cameroon Area, by Gilbert Donald Schneider (Athens, Ohio, 1966), pp. 226-229. Each English phrase is translated into three versions: a. anglicized Kamtok, b. “broad” Kamtok, and c. Tok Pisin of Papua New Guinea (the last being my translations). All varieties here are likely to be somewhat rural and old-fashioned.

ORTHOGRAPHY: Schneider writes the 7 vowels of Kamtok /a, ɛ, e, i, ɔ, o, u/ as a, e, ey, i, o, ow, u. Another source writes them a, eh, e, i, oh, o, u.

1. He married trouble.
a. hi don mari trobu.
b. i don mari trobu.
c. em i maritim trabel.

2. I stay in this town.
a. ay di silip fo dis tawn.
b. a di silip fo dis tong.
c. mi stap long dispela taun.

3. Do you have children?
a. yu get pikin?
b. yu get pikin?
c. i gat pikinini bilong yu?

4. They are pleased with my work.
a. dem di glad fo may wok.
b. dem di glat fo ma wok.
c. ol i laikim wok bilong mi.

5. My strength’s gone.
a. may strong hi don finish.
b. ma trong i don finis.
c. strong bilong mi i go pinis. / mi no strong moa.

6. Our Bible is on the table.
a. wi baybl dey fo tebl.
b. wi bau dey fo tebu.
c. Baibel bilong yumi/mipela i stap long tebol. (‘ours incl. you’/’ours excl. you’)

7. Pineapple is good food.
a. panapl na swit chop.
b. panabu na shwit chop.
c. ananas i switpela kaikai.

8. They’re having a meeting about coffee tomorrow.
a. dem get miting fo kofi tumaro.
b. dem get miting fo kofi tumaro.
c. ol i gat (wanpela) miting bilong kofi tumora.

9. Pardon me.
a. eskiys mi witi dis wan.
b. chus mi fo dis wan.
c. sori ya long dispela. (?)

10. This guava isn’t sweet.
a. dis gwava now di swit.
b. dis gwava now di shwit
c. dispela yambo i no swit.

11. Your oil isn’t good.
a. dat yu oyl now gud.
b. dat wuna oya now fan.
c. wel bilong yu i no gutpela.

12. He’s not speaking the truth.
a. hi now di tok tru.
b. i now di tok tru.
c. em i no tok stret.

13. I can’t sit on that chair.
a. ay now fit sidawn fo dat chea.
b. a now fit sidong fo dat chia.
c. mi no inap sindaun long dispela sia ya.

14. Come and scratch my back.
a. kom skrach mi fo bak.
b. kom kras mi fo bak.
c. kam skrapim baksait bilong mi.

15. We’re going to the town.
a. wi di kamawt go fo tawn.
b. wi di komot go fo tong.
c. mipela i go long taun i stap. (‘we’re on the way to town’)

16. Throw it on the ground.
a. meyk yu trowwey fo grawn.
b. meyk yu trowwey fo grong.
c. tromwe i stap long graun.

17. It has a strong odor.
a. hi di smel plenti.
b. i di simel plenti.
c. i gat strongpela smel (bilong en)

18. Who broke my pot?
a. wichman don browk may pot?
b. husman don browk ma pot?
c. husat i brukim sospen bilong mi?

19. My brother’s in the house.
a. may broda dey fo haws.
b. ma broda dey fo has.
c. Brata bilong mi i stap (insait) long haus.

20. Go and sit down outside.
a. meyk yu gow sidawn fo awtsay.
b. meyk wuna gow sidong fo ausai.
c. go sindaun long arasait / ausait long haus.

21.Who owns that oil?
a. na wichman get dat oyl?
b. na husman get dat oya?
c. dispela wel ya i bilong husat/wanem man?

22. Come and give me another one.
a. kom giv mi oda wan.
b. kom gif mi ada wan.
c. kam givim/bringim mi wanpela moa / narapela (‘more of same’ / ‘different’).
(More polite is: Wanpela moa i kam!)

23. They have many possessions.
a. dem get plenti kagow.
b. dem get plenti kagow.
c. ol i gat planti samting.

24. The medicine causes itching.
a. dat medisin di skrach.
b. dat metsin di kras.
c. dispela marasin i mekim skin i sikrap.

25. Who rang the bell?
a. wichman don ring bel?
b. husman don ring bel?
c. husat i pulim/paitim belo? (‘pull/strike’)

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Filed under anglosphere, Cameroon, language, Papua New Guinea