Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Wisdom from the Jungles of Papua New Guinea

Today's post is a Christmas passage in the Papua New Guinean pigeon language called Tok Pisin as taught to me by my Melanesian friend over many cups of Starbucks coffee. It is from the book of John, chapter 1. The words are often phonetic spellings of English words, but arranged in different ways. Perhaps the linguist friends out in the blogosphere can shed more light on the language. Anyway, here's a picture of me (in my mind).

I will write the first line in Tok Pisin from the Tok Pisin Bible, Buk Baibel, and leave it black.
Then I will follow it with a blue "sentence" with word by word translations.
Then I will give the English translation in red.

Gutnius Jon i raitim, Sapta 1
Goodnews Jon writes, Chapter 1
The Gospel According to John, Chapter 1

1-Bipo bipo tru, taim olgeta samting i no kamap yet, Tok i stap.
Before before truly, time all things no come up (think of "sprout") yet, Talk (or the Word) stopped (as in stopped for a visit, existed).
In the beginning, before anything was made, was the Word.

Tok i stap wantaim God na Tok yet i God.
Word stopped with (wantaim = one time, they were together at one time, or with) God and Word yet God.
The Word was with God and the Word was God.

2-Bipo bipo tru Tok i stap wantaim God.
Before before truly Word stopped (was) with God.
In the beginning the Word was with God.
3-Long dispela Tok tasol God i mekim kamap olgeta samting.
By (or through) this fellow Word, only God made come up all things.
By the Word, God made all things.

Na i no gat wanpela samting i kamap long narapela rot.
And no got one thing come up by another road.
And there is not one thing made by another way.
Nogat. Olgeta samting i kamap, em Tok yet i mekim kamap.
Nothing. All things made, him Word yet made come up.
Nothing. Every thing that has been made, is made by the Word.

4-Laip i stap long em, na dispela laip em i lait bilong ol manmeri.
Life stopped with him, and this fellow life he light belong all people.
In Him was life, and this life was the light of all mankind.
5-Dispela lait i save lait i stap long tudak, na tudak i no bin duanim em.
This fellow light knew light stopped in darkness, and darkness no (bin=past tense marker) downed him.
This light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome him.

Em i naispela tok tok?
He nice fellow speech?
Isn't that a beautiful passage?
Em tasol, lukim yu behain! Gutpela Krismas!
Him that's all, look you behind (behind meaning later in time, behind the present)! Good Christmas!
That's it! See you later! Merry Christmas!


Jim Stahl said...

Mi laekem post ia we yu bin raetem lanwis blong Papua Niu Gini. Hem i gud tumas.

I like your post that you wrote on Tok Pisin. It's good, really creative. You're learning Tok Pisin from a friend at Starbucks? That shows a lot of motivation. All the best. For Bislama, the vocabulary is probably pretty easy, but making sense of it all is the tricky part. It's a fun language though.

I'll enjoy looking through the rest of your blog, thanks.

Merry Christmas!


Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

How wonderful! Thanks for posting such interesting reading as John 1 in a foreign language.

And thanks for stopping by my blog, and leaving a comment so that I could find yours. It's a treasure. I've bookmarked you and will be back.