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Dictionary of Netwar (Lenakel language)

This is the first ever extensive dictionary of Netwar language (western Tanna, Republic of Vanuatu) published online. It is the fruit of several years of my work among the inhabitants of the island of Tanna. It contains translations of local expressions, pronunciation recordings and photographic documentation. Its purpose is to help in the preservation of the language and in passing it to the young generation.

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  •  (generic term) n nek 
    whatever kind excluding bamboos, grasses and vines.
  •  n naugemet lit. "flower of the sun". Its flowers close in the evening and opens in the morning. It is said to be the "clock" of people in ancient times.
  •  n kawhaw té Léga an ornamental plant, lit. "crown of Léga" (female name). Its correct name is 'nuahwa'.
  •  n nyawia apen color variety of 'nyawia' with the same use.
  •  n kararut decorative introduced species.
  •  n iarmatin dry branches are used as a broom.
  •  n iarmatin apen dry branches used as a broom.
  •  n iarmatin tuan dry branches used as a broom.
  •  n hoiei generic term for several decorative flower species.
  •  n tilywalywa indigenous species with smaller leaves.
  •  n kararut 
    indigenous species with yellow flowers. Its tubers are edible.
  •  n nalimala indigenous species.
  •  n nalimala apen 
    indigenous species.
  •  n nalimala afwil 
    indigenous species.
  •  n kahau ratai indigenous species. Its name is derived from a short story of a rat who one day, saw the fruits of this herb and hoping to eat them climbed to the top of the herb. Once on top, he was surprised because he could not find any of the fruits he just saw. This is because the herb covers its fruit with its leaves making it visible only from the bottom of the plant.
  •  n kahau ratai  (Phyllanthus niruri), introduced species which took its name from a similar local plant.
  •  n tilywalywa introduced species with large leaves used as toilet paper.
  •  n nemaur ituga introduced species.
  •  n naugeplén invasive species, lit. "flower of airplane". Reportedly brought to the island by a white man who came by plane.
  •  n nauganan neken hos invasive species, lit. "horse food".
  •  n numanpwilpas  (Zingiberaceae (?)), its fragrant leaves are gently rubbed between both hands and leis are made out of them. During traditional wedding ceremonies women will also hang them on their grass-skirts and men will wear them on their neck to perfume them.
  •  n tuitui its large leaves are used to cover the earth oven before earth is piled on top of it.
  •  n numanuman its leaves are boiled and consumed. The flower is used to decorate kava by the people of the Middle-bush during the ceremony of 'kaur'.
  •  n numanpiénpién leaves are used as spice in soups.
  •  n numakesem 
    species from the family of 'iarmatin'. Used for a game of the same name.
  •  n nowankapnaiuwa 
    species growing on the sand on beaches.
  •  (from English: chili) n seli iatipen species of chili pepper, said to be "wild". Its fruit is used as spice.
  •  (from English: chili) n seli species of chili pepper. Its fruit is used as spice.
  •  n naliénalién species used in rain-summoning magic. Its name reminds of the raindrop 'nowanalial'.
  •  n nauseluauselu species with white flowers.
  •  n netatan apenspecies, lit. "black woe". Drinking the juice from its leaves treats heart disorders such as arrhythmia and angina.
  •  n numatalegen kahau species, lit. "ears of the mouse".
  •  n nélkenéai species, lit. "feet of the sky". It is used to summon good weather. It is also used to treat toothaches by chewing its leaves. The juice is spread on the teeth and gums and helps ease the pain.
  •  n tansuksuk iarames species, lit. "spear of the 'iarames' spirits".
  •  n nalua kéikéi species, arm bands 'kaukasé' are made from its bark.
  •  n kélekél species, said to be indigenous.
  •  n kélekél species, said to be introduced.
  •  n sapsap species.
  •  n pelwitspecies.
  •  n nowawu species.
  •  n kyinuan species.
  •  n niayeriayer species.
  •  n nenum species.
  •  n nolu merek  (Grewia crenata), species.
  •  n napag rouspecies.
  •  n nakik species.
  •  n nérgéreg species.
  •  n kagkilipa species.
  •  n nek ramohua species.
  •  n nanumen neté species.
  •  n nesikuwow Ikpat species.
  •  n ikinawag species.
  •  n nepateker ékuhia  species.
  •  n nesinani species. lit. "goats' excrement".
  •  n napilépilé species. Believed to chase away the rain when burned. For example, while one is working in the garden and he sees an approaching rain, he can burn this herb to stop the rain from coming.
  •  n ikinpagpagspecies. Drinking the juice from its crushed leaves help ease stomachache.
  •  n ioharir species. Drinking the juice from its crushed leaves helps in febrile episodes.
  •  n kasinaté species. Fruits are edible. An infusion made from its leaves is drank to treat high grade fevers.
  •  n képiagen species. In ancient times these are attached on the grass-skirts to decorate them.
  •  n nesikuwow iré species. Its latex is put on small sores.
  •  n nekarekar species. Its leaves and fruits are edible.
  •  n napilépilé species. Its leaves are fed to wild young cattle to make them docile.
  •  n numakaio tuan species. Its leaves are made into a small grass-skirt which is worn as a slip under the regular grass-skirt. It is also used to wrap laplap.
  •  n nepenepen species. Its leaves are put on the 'kawar' of bananas to ensure a good harvest.
  •  n nia species. Its leaves are strung together and is used to cover ridges of the traditional roofs to protect them from the rain.
  •  n menet species. Its leaves are used as spice.
  •  n namalinu species. Its leaves are used to decorate kava during ceremonies.
  •  n nalemenmanspecies. Its leaves are used to wrap freshly caught shrimps.
  •  n nyawia  species. Often planted on tombs to prevent evil spirits.
  •  n numanawas species. Ornamental plant. When leaves are rubbed in between the hands, it emits a subtle fragrance. Leaves can also be made into a lei or garland or used to decorate kava.
  •  n numanpwilpas afwil  (Zingiberaceae (?)), species. Same use as 'numanpwilpas'.
  •  n nakik léwléw species. The juice from crushed leaves is drank when one is having fever.
  •  n iakestil apen species. The juice from its crushed leaves is drank to treat urinary tract illness 'namteketek'.
  •  n namewamew species. The juice from its crushed leaves is rubbed on erupted furuncles. Another name for 'namtameta'.
  •  n nakik sun species. The juice from its crushed leaves is used to treat the sores found in babies mouth. Intertrigos can be washed with the juice too.
  •  n neketen  (Ageratum conyzioides), species. The juice from its leaves is drank in case of fever and mixed with the juice of leaves of 'ioharir'.
  •  n napakélu species. The juice of its crushed leaves is rubbed on to the skin of pigs that have scabies.
  •  n iakestil the juice from its crushed leaves is rubbed on closed boils. Drinking the juice cures urinary tract sickness called 'namteketek'.

Speaker: Clément Kapalu (Lowanatom) , Noël Yeru (Lowanatom)

Thematic dictionary