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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 
  •  n nek té iau lit. "the turtle tree", soft wood.
  •  n nek mer 
    dead, dry.
  •  n nekariag  (Cerbera odollam), drinking tea made from the bark of this tree will induce diarrhea.
  •  n noumerek   (Acalypha grandis), drinking the juice of its crushed leaves eases stomachache. Its hard wood is used to make beams in construction of houses. Its fruit is used by kids as pellets for blowguns made from thin hollow bamboo stick.
  •  n nahal ket 
     (Aidia graeffei), edible fruit. Wood is naturally fire resistant. Before the use of metal, its curved branches were used to hang saucepans over the fire.
  •  n niér  (Burckella obovata), edible fruits. Its hard wood is used for constructions.
  •  n naknau 
     (Acalypha sp.), family of several species of shrubs.
  •  n kakil 
    family of several trees. Their leaves are applied on the circumcision wound during the first days after a 'temahwa'. Its branches are placed under the mats of the circumcised boys as a sort of 'kaluga'.
  •  n nuahwa  (Sterculia vitiensis), fruits are edible.
  •  n nafa  (Alphitonia zizyphoides), hard wood species used for constructions. Its branches are fragrant.
  •  n nahal  (Aidia graeffei), hard wood. Branches are made into short pegs 'nowateplepel' that holds the outriggers of traditional canoes.
  •  n nouhialag apen imported species, which took its name from a local tree 'nouhialag'.
  •  n numalupen indigenous species. Its name was also given to the Christmas tree, which is an introduced species.
  •  n sita  (Melia azedarach), indigenous species. Shares the same name with the 'sita' tree but is smaller in stature. It has white-blue flowers. An infusion made from its leaves is used palliatively for post stroke patients. Its flowering signals the time to catch the flying fish.
  •  n nalimala tuan introduced species, which took its name from the indigenous 'nalimala' because of the similarity of their leaves.
  •  n napakalointroduced species.
  •  n nowaigintroduced species. Children use its fruit to paint their faces. Probably from 'nowa-' - fruit and "ink" - from English referring to its pigment.
  •  n makoni introduced species. Hard wood used in construction of houses.
  •  n sita introduced species. Its hard wood is used for construction. It has white flowers.
  •  n naknau awiwan  (Acalypha sp.), its leaves are put on the circumcision wound on the second day, cf.: 'kaur'. The babies first stool is also wiped with this leaf.
  •  n naknau pwia  (Acalypha sp.), its leaves are put on the wound after circumcision. cf.: 'kaur'.
  •  n nekiapen  (Elattostachys falcata), its wood is used to make bows.
  •  n nektuan 
    its wood is used to make bows. In family with 'tekrekmének'.
  •  n nek mera 
    living, green.
  •  n nekelha  (Breynia disticha), planted near houses as a protection against black magic.
  •  n nik   (Cordia dichotoma), produces small sticky fruit often eaten by pigeons and flying foxes. Its bark is boiled or is infused in water and drank to ease headaches, stomachaches and diarrhea.
  •  n nim  (Tabernaemontana sp.), spec. with leaves eaten with coconut.
  •  n nalulu (iré)  (Schefflera neoebudica (?)), species found often in coastal areas.
  •  n nalulu (Ikpat) species found often in the hills of inland areas.
  •  n namulat species giving small red fruit. The fruit skin is sticky on the inner surface and is used by girls to make facial decorations.
  •  n kaulapag species of 'nim'. The fruit is consumed with salt. Eating it is encouraged in pregnant women. However, women should avoid eating it after delivery and up until the baby is able to walk.
  •  n napek tuan species of 'napek' with yellow or whitish leaves.
  •  n nekatu 
    species of family 'nawigen'. Its wood is used for constructions of houses.
  •  n nases  (Ficus wassa), species used during ceremony of 'kaur' (circumcision) where men hang on its branches reed leaves which were used by the circumcised boys as towels after ritual baths. The tree is then burned at the end of the 'nases' ceremony. Its bast is used as a tourniquet during circumcision. Its leaves can also be eaten raw with coconut meat.
  •  n kakao species with edible fruit.
  •  n nekalaka  (Pouteria sp.), species with edible fruit.
  •  n nepam species with edible fruit.
  •  n keliakéi  (Garcinia pseudoguttifera), species with edible fruit.
  •  n nel
    species with hard wood used for construction of houses.
  •  n nakuka  (Bischofia javanica), species with hard wood used for construction of houses.
  •  n kataupeken species with hard wood used for constructions.
  •  n nekpat  (Syzgium sp.), species with hard wood used for house construction.
  •  n nekpinap 
     (Diospyros ferrea), species with hard wood. Pieces of its wood cut out from its trunk are chewed to make teeth strong.
  •  n nisap 
    species with hard wood. Traditionally hair combs are cut of its wood.
  •  n nekfitu  (Elattostachys falcata), species with hard wood. Used for constructions. Large chunks of its bark are used as plates to prepare and cook the 'kakéwan' laplap. Its grated bast is added to pigs fodder so that they grow well.
  •  n kaulik species with hard wood. Used to make handles of axes and 'kakel' for planting taro 'neté'.
  •  n nekésa species with seeds producing red pigment that is used for painting faces and hair.
  •  n napuas 
     (Fagraea ceilanica), species with very durable wood, resisting to decay. Used for construction of houses.
  •  n namel 
     (Acacia spiriorbis), species with very hard wood used for construction of houses.
  •  n nawan  (Syzgium sp.), species with very hard wood.
  •  n nesipuka species, lit. "excrement of pig". When pigs make the village dirty with their excrements, the fruit of this tree is thrown at them in order to ward them off and make them defecate in the jungle.
  •  n kalwalwa   (Meryta neoebudica), species, lit. "thunder". Used to create the thunder in rain-making.
  •  n nakal  (Dysoxylum bijugum), species.
  •  n naiéw 
     (Erythrina sp.), species.
  •  n nareké  (Dillenia biflora), species.
  •  n kastarapel apen species.
  •  n nawula aluk 
     (Macaranga sp.), species.
  •  n nepateker nek species.
  •  n nesésé nawuk species.
  •  n nekiau species.
  •  n nekelha afwil  (Breynia disticha (?)), species.
  •  n namel keken  (Acacia simplex), species.
  •  n nawula apen 
     (Macaranga sp.), species.
  •  n nauru species.
  •  n nahua species.
  •  n namak 
     (Cordia subcordata), species.
  •  n nakaiu 
     (Geissois denhamii), species.
  •  n kawytaregreg species.
  •  n nawyl (Euodia sp.), species. A plant that represents the people of Létakeren, who use it also to decorate the kava during ceremonies.
  •  n natuan  (Dysoxylum rufum), species. After circumcision when the boys are allowed to eat ordinary food again, the skin of this tree is mixed with dry coconut. The boys use this to wash themselves to deter evil spirits. Once done, the boys can eat regular food again.
  •  n nulagen species. Circumcised boys strip off the leaves from its branches and use the branches to scratch their head as touching their head during a certain period after the circumcision is prohibited.
  •  n nepiaw tuan  (Pisonia grandis), species. Fish is wrapped with these leaves before cooking, then the two are cooked and eaten together.
  •  n tamormor species. From its branches pipe-stems are made.
  •  n katen species. Hard wood is carved into canoes.
  •  n neprou species. Hard wood is used to carve canoes.
  •  n nigat  (Pouteria sp.), species. Hard wood used for construction.
  •  n natan  (Myristica fatua), species. Hard wood used for construction. It is also used to make the 'kaluga' head rests.
  •  n namihewelspecies. Hard wood used for making boards.
  •  n nawula pekam  (Macaranga sp.), species. Hard wood used in construction of all parts of house.
  •  n kako  (Hernandia nymphaeifolia (?)), species. In order to make the hair grow well, its branches are crushed and rubbed into the hair before washing.
  •  n napkapek  (Pisonia umbellifera), species. It is used to summon rain. Its grated skin is added into the fodder of piglets to help them grow well. Its fruits contains a sticky liquid that is slathered in large quantities around plants like taro to protect them from fruit-eating birds as the birds get glued to the fruit.
  •  n tekrekmének species. Its bark is toxic for fishes. It is grated and thrown into tide pools when fishing. Family of 'nektuan'.
  •  n napé  (Pseuderanthemum sp.), species. Its branches are used as traditional sticks for the 'nasal' dance. The plant has several medicinal uses.
  •  n namam species. Its crushed leaves are applied on skin incisions made by the local healers as a way to heal certain diseases.
  •  n nagai species. Its fruit is split and the nuts are consumed.
  •  n nanemwién  (Pipturus argenteus), species. Its grated bark is applied on infected wounds especially those that came from animal bites. Its leaves are used to cover the fresh circumcision wound. cf.: 'kaur'.
  •  n nanemwién apen  (Pipturus argenteus (?)), species. Its grated bark is placed on infected wounds and on wounds from animal bites.
  •  n nanen   (Ficus adenosperma), species. Its grated bark is used to treat wounds.
  •  n namilo  (Glochidico namilo), species. Its hard wood is used for beams in construction of houses and to make fences for animals.
  •  n nawula pekam apen  (Macaranga sp.), species. Its hard wood is used to make roofs of houses.
  •  n tera  (Excoecaria agallocha), species. Its latex is put on sores and cuts from corals and sea urchins.
  •  n naluk species. Its leaves are heated over the fire and placed on the joints and back of people who just recovered from a long period of being bedridden and still have difficulties with walking.
  •  n newirou species. Its leaves are stinging. Young leaves are used against mice in houses and are put on places where they commonly pass. It is said that the mouse will get their paws burned and will feel so much pain that it will chew them off and eventually die.
  •  n nauhspecies. Its leaves are used to wrap freshly caught shrimps. The appearance of its flowers announces the time for planting sweet potatoes.
  •  n nareg  (Ficus granatum), species. Its leaves are used to wrap shark meat cooked in an earth oven. It adds flavor to the meat and preserves it for up to three or four days.
  •  n nihla  (Semecarpus vitiensis), species. Its sap is severely irritant to the skin and causes blisters. To prevent this from happening, one should face the tree and pronounce the name-changing phrase "io 'nihla', ik N" - "I am 'nihla', and you are N" (where N is the name of the person). Worms 'prisin' may be found in its trunk. Eating them may cause a skin reaction in certain people.
  •  n nywen  (Guettarda speciosa), species. Its skin is grated, mixed with coconut and fed to pigs so that they become fat.
  •  n nip species. Its stem is cut open and the fiber inside is crushed. The liquid is then drained, strained and dried to get a starchy flour-like by-product. This is then mixed with sea water and made into a kind of laplap or pancakes.
  •  n kapuap species. Its wood is excellent for making 'nourasekam'. Its fruit is used by kids as pellets for blow guns made from thin bamboo stalks.
  •  n namihew  (Melochia odorata), species. Its wood is used to make a part of canoe called 'nowanekiatu'. The juice from its crushed leaves is drank to cure fever. An edible mushroom called 'nepawen namihew' grows on its trunk.
  •  n kawiétaut 
    species. Its wood is used to make arrowheads of 'nowanparam'.
  •  n nawiétaur 
     (Geniostoma ligustrifolium), species. Its wood is used to make arrowheads of 'nowanparam'.
  •  n tél ket 
    species. Pigeons 'iélu' feed on its fruit.
  •  n iapel  (Leucaena leucocephala), species. Quality hard wood. Used for building every part of house and to make fences for animals.
  •  n naiéw imer 
     (Erythrina fusca), species. Said to come from Aniwa.
  •  n teklepwé species. Soft wood used for some constructions.
  •  n neseko species. Spears are made from its straight branches.
  •  n kakil apsépes species. The arrowhead of the 'nowanparam' is made from its wood.
  •  n namnak species. The juice from its skin is added to the food of poisoned dogs.
  •  n nouhialag  (Homalanthus ebracteatua), species. The juice of its leaves is drank in cases when one gets sick which is caused by the 'iarames' spirits because of walking outside during the night.
  •  n koupa species. Wood is used to make fences for pigs and cattle.
  •  n napwer species. Wood resistant to fire. Before metal was used, its curbed branches were used to hang saucepans over the fire.
  •  n nepleg  (Polyscias sp.), species. Young leaves are cooked and eaten especially in times of famine after a cyclone.
  •  n niély  (Pittosporum campbelli), the entire plant is aromatic. During yam planting into 'tow', its leaves are burnt inside the pit where yams are planted to ensure good crop. Yams are said to "like" the smell of the leave. Drinking an infusion of its boiled bark cures the 'namesan taha kahau' sickness.
  •  n lipag  (Ficus septica), the inside of the apical stem is chewed and the juice is swallowed to treat 'namteketek'. Infusion of its bark is also used to relieve stomachache. The branches are chewed and the juice spit out as protection against evil spirits.
  •  n nepina   (Sarcomelicope simplicifolia sub-sp. neo-scotia), the ripening of its fruit signals yam harvest season. Chewing its bark makes the teeth and gum strong.
  •  n nawiloawilo  (Gyrocarpus americanus), trunk is used for carving canoes.
  •  n nameliamel  (Phyllanthus ciccoides), wards off evil spirits. A small branch from this tree is worn secretly to protect its owner against black magic coming from other islands.
  •  n naté white flowering.
  •  n nuwul  (Pometia pinnata), with small edible fruit, "nakatambol" in Bislama.

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

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