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'Say only one stomach’ to celebrate Doromu-Koki publication

10 December, 2012 – Ukarumpa, Papua New Guinea – Written by René van den Berg with Tim Scott Straddling the mountains southeast of Port Moresby lie about a dozen villages of the Doromu-Koki language. Until recently, almost nothing was known about this language. Now, thanks to the work of SIL linguisttranslator Robert Bradshaw, the world can learn more about this intriguing tongue. Like many Papua New Guinean language communities, the Doromu-Koki community is relatively small: approximately 1,500 speakers. But since half of these live in Port Moresby, the language must be considered vulnerable. Time will tell if it will follow the way of other, now-extinct, languages, but the people living in the home area currently have great interest in maintaining, describing and developing the language. Though the Doromu-Koki heartland is close to the nation’s capital, the area is isolated. High mountains and deep river valleys prohibit road access. Instead, most travel is done on foot, with occasional river travel. Bradshaw’s recently published grammar of Doromu-Koki (in SIL's series Data Papers on Papua New Guinea Languages) comes out of several years with the Doromu-Koki people. It's an important milestone in the language's history: anyone in the world can now see how different Doromu-Koki is from English and Tok Pisin. For example, Doromu-Koki has 30 words for banana but only one 3rd person pronoun: ina. Ina can mean ‘he,' 'she,' 'it’, but also ‘they’, depending on the context. The language also uses many colourful idioms: 'good sweet potato' (a nice girl); 'stomach pain thinking' (heartache); 'stomach child' (beloved child). A Doromu-Koki translation of the New Testament is in progress, and many new terms had to be invented: 'good word' (the gospel); 'plant straight thinking' (believe); 'give stomach word' (to promise); 'say soft stomach' (forgive). Thus we all ‘say only one stomach’ (we can all agree) that the Doromu-Koki grammar is another celebration of the incredible linguistic and cultural diversity that PNG has to offer. For more information on this release, contact ThePNGexperience, PO BOX 413, Ukarumpa, EHP 444, Papua New Guinea Phone: 011 + 675 + 537-4431 or Email: thePNGexperience@gmail.com “Tok Save” is the PNG “Tok Pisin” term for announcement or “For your information”. The English spelling conforms to Commonwealth English spelling.


Doromu Koki grammar creates interest