Rachel History - Where does one begin to find the words? (Part Five) ... by Rachel Borg

Friday, July 28, 2017

From behng (bang) we get behng orf (bang off), behng down (bang down), behngetstefnet (to bang it and stiffen it), and behng’ tiebl (to bang the table ie play cards, esp. jarro)

Died (dead) is also often used, perhaps because it gives us such a sense of the absolute; ‘ai dieden f’ laik hem’ (I am dying in admiration of him), gu died (go to blazes), ai s’ died (I am out of trumps); ai died f’ sohri faret (I am dying of sorrow for him/her) and ai s’ died f’ taiyed (I am dead with exhaustion).

Bas (burst) is another basic concept which is applied and extended in a multitude of ways, basap means to burst, break, pull, beat or shatter something or someone.  You can also ‘bas’ gat’, ‘bas’ pupu vaelv’, ‘baswana’, ‘musa bas’ or ‘bas aut klai’.  On this occasion the list goes on and on.  You can also be a ‘bas as’ or a ‘baswaagas’ – neither is particularly complimentary.

Kech (catch) is among one of the most colourful and expressive of these foundation words.  You can ‘kech aa dorg’ (catch the dog ie a barking cough), you can ‘kechet’ (be in trouble); ‘kechfaret’ (be lumbered with someone), you can ‘kech’kraek’ (get a smack) or kech’kord (catch a cord when you are singing) or you cankechwaili (become caught up and wound around) a tree, a vine, a fence or a role of wire for example and if ‘yu s’ kech’ you are pregnant – which of course doesn’t apply if you are a boy!

Kaa (can’t or cannot) is another very widely used source word and a very useful negative.  Here are just a few examples of its usage ‘kaaduu’ (can’t do), kaa w’said(don’t know where), kaa staan (can’t stand to, not game enough to), kaa laan (can’t say), and kaa fut (don’t know why).

Among those words and phrases which have tek (take) as its foundation we find ‘teket staat’ (take him/her and go); tek iin (take in eg visitors, children, etc),tek’waa (take what), and ‘tek flai’ (take off very fast).

If we speak in Norfk we tork (talk) such that we ‘tork Norf’k’ (speak Norfolk); if someone is torktorken they are speaking a lot or using empty words; to ‘torkagli; is to speak improperly or ill of someone or something; and tork’wieh is to keep talking.

Tal (tell) is another foundation word.  ‘Dem tal’ means ‘they say’, it is also the local grapevine; aitalyiwaa is an emphasiser which means ‘I’ll tell you what’;noetalen means ‘there is no telling’ and ‘du tal’ is ‘don’t tell or you don’t say’.

If we 'gwen wieh'  we are 'going away'; daefiwieh is ‘that way’; defiwieh is ‘this way’ and daa d’ wieh is ‘that’s the way’.  The Island greeting watawieh basically means ‘what way are you?’

Tear (teya) has also received a similar kind of treatment; teyateya is torn in many places; teya raun is to dash around madly, teya ubn is to tear open and flai teyais to move very fast.

As one might expect the word Norf’k word ‘sor,’which comes from the English word ‘sore’, has endured from a much earlier time and been extended over time.  InNorf’k it is generally used in reference to being ill or unwell e.g. sor baeli (sore stomach), but if you have a ‘sor nek’ it’s likely the ‘pain’ you feel is from having not received an invitation to a function, and if you have been ‘ap en daun sor in’ bied’ (unwell and in and out of bed with your illness) we hope you get better soon 

The English derived tan (turn) has also been utilised along a similar vein.  In Norf’k we find ‘tantan’ (turncoat), tanaut (turn out or it turns out); tanetor (turn it over) and tanwieh (turn away).

Mad (maad), time (taim), heave (hiiw), break (brek), come (kam), why (fut), mind (main) snitch (snich), fly (flai), on (orn) bend (ben), worser (wasa); run (ran), scrape (skrep), take (tek), tip (tip), and jug (jag) are also widely built on multifunctional words and of course in another place and time each and very word and their derivatives deserve full and proper explanation in regards to the breadth of usage and the context in which they might be used.

By now you must have certainly built a fairly comprehensive word picture.  These base words, or concepts, and their derivatives are very characteristic of Norf’k.  When you look at the core concepts each of these base words represents there is an innate practicality about them; they are easily understood, obviously communally verbalised and therefore can be immediately put to work, or re-worked, in any number of ways.  In essence they are short, sharp, direct and multifunctional - all wonderful building blocks towards a universal, mutually intelligible and ever-expanding Pitkern-Norf’k vocabulary.

Daaset yorlye, tek keya tal neks taim; en ef ai s’ pat eni yorlye t’ slip, rimemba daa thing f’ Elvas ‘wieki-wieki’!!!

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