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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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  •  (ancient term, generic term) n nolan awas 
    cf.: 'nolawasan'.
  •  (ancient term, generic term) n nolawasan 
    from 'ol' - do, and 'awas' - old, related to ancestors. A word describing the way of life and identity of the people, today by ignorance of the true term often replaced by the Bislama equivalent 'kastom'.
  •  n nases 
    ceremony performed the night before the final circumcision ceremony 'kamir iataw kaur', during which on one side the men do a special dance in the nakamal 'nowanmanaga' and burn the barriers that were hiding the boys since the beginning of their circumcision, and on the other side the women do a special dance in the village around a burning symbolic 'nases' tree.
  •  n niél 
    important ceremony consisting in offering a large number of yams and pigs. After some time the beneficiary does a 'niél' of the same size for the donor. An important custom fostering relations between individuals and communities.
  •  n kaur 
    important ceremony, which begins with the circumcision of young boys and ends after about three months by their ceremonial presentation to the village during 'kamir iataw kaur'.
  •  (from English: custom) n kastom 
    the true term in local language is 'nolawasan'.
  •  n kamir iataw kaur 
    very important ceremony organized at the end of the circumcision 'kaur', during which the circumcised boys are finally presented to their mothers and the entire village after the time they spent hidden in 'nowanmanaga'.

Speaker: Noël Yeru (Lowanatom)

Thematic dictionary