Time for short  language lesson.

Papua New Guinea has a population of less than eight million (2015), double what it was in 1989 when I lived there, yet there are over 700 different languages in use. Given this, it is not surprising that a lingua franca has developed. Called Tok Pisin, it is a creole like language based on simplified English with a bit of German thrown in. The New Guinea part of Papua New Guinea was a German protectorate from 1884 until 1914 when Australia took it over in the early days of World War I.

Should you visit PNG, you will find that English is widely spoken but it is fun to try your hand at Tok Pisin.

Tok Pisin has a charm of its own which you will hopefully pick up from the following examples. Can you work them out before reading the correct translations to the right? Translate literally, think laterally though simply and read them out loud.

Bigman ——————————————————-Important man or leader
Haus monie ————————————————–Bank
Pikinini ———————————————————Child, baby
Numba wan pikinini bilong missas Kwin —————Prince Charles
Bigpela mixmasta bilong Jisas Krais ——————–Helicopter
Lukim yu bihain ———————————————See you later
Kar bilong mi e bugarup ———————————–My car is not working
Meri bilong mi e bugarup ———————————My wife has been raped
Haus bilong wasim klos————————————Laundry
Body bilong mi no smel gud mi mas was was ——–I smell and need a shower
Man i save katim gras bilong het ————————Barber
Gumi bilong kok ———————————————Condom
Soken bilong han ——————————————-Glove
Glas bilong lukluk ——————————————-Mirror

Em tasol. Lukim yu Bihain!

This blog entry is one of a group (loop) of entries based on a couple of years living and working in Papua New Guinea. I suggest you continue with my next entry – Coffin bilong dai man – or to start this loop at the beginning go to my introductory entry – Papua New Guinea – Personal Memories.

6 thoughts on “Tok Tok Pisin (Speak Tok Pisin)

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