A dictionary of Mwotlap (Banks Is., Vanuatu)
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mwotlap dictionary
Index t
t-ak vēh
takle in gon
tam luwyeg
tan̄ goy
tan̄ goy nogolgē
tan̄tan̄ hephep
taq bat
taq goy
taq hiy
tatag goy
tatag na-myōs
tatal tēy
tateh qete
taval he~
taval lam
taval mayam
taval meyen
taval qōn̄
taval qōn̄
tavalgi… tavalgi
tay yak
t[e]n̄etn̄e duw
tE-… qiyig
tE-… tō
tēnetne qōn̄
tēnge liwo
tēnge met
tēqtēq qeyet
tētēnge qon
tēy goy
tēy maymay
tēy na-tmat
tēy qōtō
tēytēy tele
tēytēyheg t-Anm̄ēt
tig goy
tig hiy
tig lō
tig m̄agA
tig m̄agB
tig na-mtehal
tit mem
tiwag mē
tiwag mi
tiy… yeh
tog mi na-tqa-n
tog qōn̄
tot gal
tot lat
tot woy
tot yak
tot yuw
tōti qēthiyi~
tuw bōt
t[a]hathap  (na-thathap) [nathathap] noun. <Bot> name of a plant. Rapanea amischocarpa.

t-ak vēh  expr. to be possible.


T-ak vēh so kamyō dam nēk?
Is it possible for us to come with you?

Sowo t-ak vēh, dō van.
If it's possible, let's go!
takle in gon  noun. <Tps> lit. “piece (?) of September” : August.

in [1]

taktak  (na-taktak) [nataktak] noun. <Ornith> From: duck . duck, or goose.
talōw  [talʊw] loc. tomorrow.

ōyēh ‘après-demain’

Talōw nowmat!
(We'll see) tomorrow.

ne-gengen ba-talōw
tomorrow's meal

talōw nan hag
the next day
tam1   [tam] transitive verb.

(1) tip up ‹container+› to pour out or fill with a liquid.

(2) feed ‹breast milk, ni-sis› to a child.

sis ‘lait, sein; téter’

tam luwyeg

Tita ni-tamtam ni-sis van hiy tētē.
The mother is breastfeeding her baby.
tam2   [tam] transitive verb.

(1) feel esteem, deep affection for ‹s.o› ; love.

No na-tam nēk, no t-ak magaysēn vēhte nēk.
I love you very much, I don't want to hurt you.

Ba no ni-tiy tam yeh nēk, Wotlōlan.
It's you I feel the most affection for, Wotlôlan.

(2) show hospitality, generosity towards ‹s.o›; treat ‹a guest+› well.

Kē ni-tamtam galsi ige.
She's a generous person [lit. she treats people well].

(3) (rare) provide ‹s.o› with a present as a token of affection, present ‹s.o› (with, mi).


Nēk ta-tam vēh qēlge mi na-tamge, itōk.
You can give your father-in-law a mat, if you like.

[ Mota tape. ]

tam luwyeg  transitive verb. spill ‹liquid, sand› by tipping up its container (bucket, barrow, cup).

tam [1]

t[a]malte  (na-tmalte) [natmaltɛ] noun. <Magie> magic stone,doted with an evil power for black magic.
t[a]mat  (na-tmat) [natmat] noun. <Ethn> spirit of the dead.

(1) a dead person, opp. living (mey a n-ēh)..

nu-quy tamat
deadman's tomb

Na-mtig so ni-sisgoy en, nēk suwyeg no-qo ni-gen, tō na-man ne tamat ni-vanyak.
If a coconut falls from a tree, give it to a pig to eat: that way the deadman's magic power (na-man) will disappear.

(2) spirit of a deceased person, appearing in various forms in the world of the living, gen. semi-humans.

na-tmat non mayanag
the chief's ghost

(3) devil, spirit, monster; opp. living being (n-et3); ogre in stories; generic name for any supernatural being, doted with supra-human and gen. evil powers.

Syn: vu

Na-nay wuswōm̄el en ne-het: na-tmat nan aē.
The tree n. w. is dangerous: it is haunted by spirits.

Kē ni-qaqay soloteg, ni-qoyqoy veg na-tmat.
He has terrible nightmares, he dreams of devils.

(4) Satan, the Christian religion's name for the Devil.

Na-Tmat m-aksok so kē ni-wuh Iqet, so kē ni-lwo goy a na-myam kē.
Satan wanted to kill God in order to become master of the world.

(5) each of the grades of the secret society's hierarchy (halgoy), grade named metonymically after the name of the Spirit to which it is associated.

Nēk mu-wuh no-qo van le-tmat nonon imam nōnōm, a le-hye vēp en.
You sacrificed a piglet 'before the Spirit' (i.e. to reach the grade) of your father, ...

(6) representation of a spirit in traditional art, e.g. in the form of wooden or arborescent fern sculptures.

totgal ‘sculpture’

tēy na-tmat

(7) sacred mask, representing the spirit of the dead, in particular worn during collective dancing (no-kolkol).

(8) mask, disguise: hat.

hat ‘chapeau’

[ Mota tamate. PNCV *ʔata-matedead person, ghost’. ]

La danse des esprits (na-tmat)
t[a]mat-tēq  (na-tmat-tēq) [natmattɪk​͡pʷ] noun. rifle, fire arm.
t[a]mat-woh  (na-tmat-woh) [natmatwɔh] noun. <Mus> long membrane drum, driven vertically into the ground in the middle of the dancing area. The muffled, low-pitched sound which emerges from it would suggest it is a percussion instrument (fl:cf. woh) of the spirits (na-tmat).

t[a]mayge  (na-tmayge) [natmajɣɛ] noun.

(1) old man.

bōbō ‘aïeul’

(2) spouse, husband.

tamayge mino
my husband
tamtam  (na-tamtam) [natamtam] noun. love

(1) love, affection , esteem.

tam [2]


Na-tamtam mino inēk mi-kikim.
You've ridden roughshod my love for you !

(2) generosity, hospitality.

M̄otlap, na-pnō tamtam.
Mwotlap is the country of hospitality.

[ Mota tapetape. ]

t-am̄ag  adj. former, ancient, oldtime.


ige t-am̄ag
men of oldentimes (our ancestors)

n-eh t-am̄ag
old, traditional song,

na-vap* t-am̄ag
[ancient words] tale

na-kaka* t-am̄ag
[old time conversation] myth, legend, story, history

Na-pnō t-am̄ag ale anen.
There's an old village down there on the coast.

[  <°ˌa-mʷoˈa-ɣa. ]

t[a]m̄an  (na-tm̄an) [natŋ​͡mʷan] noun. man, male (opp. na-lqōvēn, woman).

[ PNCV *atamʷaʔane. POc *mʷaqane. ]

tam̄yeg  [taŋ​͡mʷjɛɣ] transitive verb.

lower register: ukēg

(1) release ‹ held firmly›, let go.

tam̄yeg na-gayga
let loose a rope

Tam̄yeg na-yn̄ēk!
Leave me alone!

(2) let ‹s.o› act, allow.

tan̄  [taŋ] transitive verb.

(1) tender ‹one's hand›.

Kē ma-tan̄ na-mnen hag lē-wēt woh.
She puts her hand on the fig tree's branch.

(2) stretch out one's hand on ‹›; touch, feel.


Kē ni-tan̄ sosok qele nen e, tan̄ sas ni-sis non na-lqōvēn en.
As he was groping around, he finally came across the woman's bosom.

(3) massage ‹›, do a massage.

ige tan̄tan̄ et
masseuses, midwives
tan̄ goy  [taŋ ɣɔj] transitive verb. <Ethn>

(1) fill, cover, conceal (goy) with one's hand (tan̄).

Syn: tēy goy

(2) "help yourself to": show ownership of ‹, s.o, s.where›, by symbolically touching it with the palm of one's hand; reserve, put ‹› aside for oneself.

Syn: hig goy

Syn: tēveg

tan̄ goy nogolgē

Nok so tan̄ goy nē-vētan agōh veg ige susu mino.
I'm going to put this land aside for my children.
tan̄ goy nogolgē  expr. <Ethn> "consecrate the marriage": custom on the wedding day by which the bride's family restores to the groom's family one fifth (20%) of the money it spent to buy the young woman (wēl_na-lqōvēn). The money is then split among the members of the husband's descendants..

tan̄del  [taŋⁿdɛl] transitive verb. achieve ‹›; acquire ‹a skill› expertly.

higher register: beytan̄tan̄

Nēk ma-tan̄tan̄del na-yapyap.
You've learnt to spell perfectly well.

Nēk ma-tan̄del nowmat kē!
That's exactly it [lit. you've succeeded perfectly]!

tan̄tan̄ hephep  transitive verb. touch ‹someone else's property›.


Nitog tan̄tan̄ hephep na-haphap non ige tegha.
You mustn't touch someone else's property.
taple  [taplɛ] ~ tale ~ teple ~ tele ~ tiple ~ tile ~ vele ~ pele  mod. evitative marker.

(1) (you must/you mustn't P1) for fear that P2, because otherwise P2.

Nēk so vēlēgē hiy, (den) ige taple bel.
You should hurry up and fetch her, otherwise someone might steal her from you.

Kōyō tit-vasem vēhte, (veg) imam tale boel.
They couldn't admit to it, for fear their father might get angry.

(2) (make sure+) that ... P2 (ban) from P2.

Nēk egoy kē tale wuh nēk.
Be careful he doesn't kill you.

Nok hig goy kōmyō so kōmyō tele vanvan hep na-n̄ye mey gēn.
I forbid you to go further than that headland over there.

(3) beware that ...not P; we must make sure that P; I'm afraid that P; otherwise P might.

Lep na-gayga! – Ohoo, kē tile m̄ēt.
Take this string! – No, I'm afraid it might break.

Nēk tale gom!
You might catch cold (so don't go out...)
tapsey  [tapsɛj] intransitive verb. broken, in a thousand pieces.

Ne-leg ni-tatapsey ēgēn.
his marriage is broken up !

Welekut ni-lep n-ēwe vag en, ni-bōl tatapsey qēt.
W. picked up the pandanus fruit and smashed it into a thousand pieces.
taptap  [taptap] intransitive verb. defecate.

mem ‘uriner’

taq   [tak​͡pʷ] intransitive verb.

(1) bend over, lean forwards; huddle up.

hag gētgēt ‘s'accroupir’

Gēn taq dēyē me agōh.
Let's wait here [crouched down / hidden].

(2) be somewhere (in a neutral position, neither vertically nor horizontally).

taq bat

taq goy

taq hiy

Ige tam̄an na-m̄adeg kēy taqtaq si tō.
Many other boys were there too.

Van me, na-gangēn tilto taq tō agōh !
Come here, there are eggs for us all!

Ige susu taq yoyon̄ tō en.
The children remained quiet.

(3) exist, be.

No-yobem gōh e, na-hek na-taq geh aē.
My name appears several times in this book.

Kēy weyewyeh nu-tun nan, tō kē ni-taq lap mi kēy.
They whistle the tune, to keep it in mind [lit. so that it stays inside them]
taq   adv. (do V) while crouching or leaning forward.

tig taq
standing, leaning forward

yow taq
land, settle

mitiy taq
be soundly asleep

[ Mota taqalie forward, be prone+’. PNCV *tabʷalie flat (on)’. ]

taq bat  intransitive verb. hide, lie low.

taq [A]

Kē ni-taq bat ba ni-yon̄teg hiy.
He hid (in the thickets) and listened.
taq goy  transitive verb. be in a position whereby one hides ‹› with one's body.

taq [A]

Na-mlēg ma-taq goy nō-wōl.
Big clouds hide the moon.
taq hiy  intransitive verb. bend down leaning towards the ground.

taq [A]

Syn: taqlun̄

Ne-m̄e en, nēk so taq hiy.
For the sea snake's dance, we have to lean forward.
t[a]qal2   (na-tqal) [natk​͡pʷal] noun. <Pois>

(1) Grouper, family of reef fish. Serranidae.

(2) (esp) Honeycomb grouper: reef fish, 20 cm. Epinephelus merra.

(3) Plectropomus leopardus.

[ Mota taqale. ]

taqat  (na-taqat) [natak​͡pʷat] noun. <Ethn>
taqēs  (na-taqēs) [natak​͡pʷɪs] noun. <Techn> adze, carpenter's tool having a curved blade perpendicular to the handle, used to carve (teh) beams or canoes.

Na-taqēs, so teh na-han̄ aē, si ni-siok.
An adze to carve beams or canoes.
taqlēn̄lēn̄  [tak​͡pʷlɪŋlɪŋ] adj. who doesn't understand what he's told, either because he is simple-minded, or distracted: absent-minded, scatterbrain, featherbrain.

Nēk tog vētvētleg inti li-sto, veg kē na-taqlēn̄lēn̄.
You shouldn't send your son to the shop: he's too absent-minded.

[ Cflēn̄. ]

taqlun̄   [tak​͡pʷluŋ] ~ taqlum̄  intransitive verb. lean over, bend down.

lower register: taq hiy

Ige Japan kēy taqtaqlun̄ goy n-et.
In Japan, people prostrate themselves before others.
taqlun̄   adv. (do V) whilst leaning forwards and downwards.

hag taqlun̄
sitting, head down

Ige lōqōvēn e kēy at taqlun̄ den kē.
Women looked down in his presence.

Kōyō tig taqlun̄ hōw.
They stopped, and stood (cf. tig hiy).
taqn̄ē~  (na-taqn̄ē~) [natak​͡pʷŋɪ] ~ taqm̄ē~ ~   -. <Anat>

(1) the body, as a whole.

Syn: taybē~

na-taqn̄ē lōqōvēn
a woman's body (euph. for sex)

Iqet ni-wuwuhgeg na-taqn̄ē lōqōvēn en.
Iqet began to paint this woman's body (that he was sculpting).

Taqm̄ēn tita nonon en mu-su hēw.
His mother's body was quite weak.

(2) essential, central part.

na-taqn̄ē qētēnge
the heart of the wood

na-taqm̄ē siok
hull of a boat

[ Mota taqan̄iuside; outside, figure+’. ]

taqtaq  [tak​͡pʷtak​͡pʷ] adj. become overcast, darken – because of a storm, an elipse, or simply because night is falling.

Mahē mal taqtaq.
It's dark. (the weather is overcast / it'll soon be dark...)

[ Mota taqataqalowering, threatening+’. Cf. Mtp taq. ]

t[a]rak  (na-trak) [natrak] noun. <Mod> motor vehicle, esp. car.

Syn: n-age vakvak

na-mtehal ne trak
road for cars

na-mtēgtap ne tarak
car door

na-yn̄o tarak
[car leg] wheel

Kōyō van noyō le-trak vitwag, ba gēn van nongēn le-trak vitwag.
They'll be going in one car, and we'll be in another.

[ Angl. truck. ]

tasgoyok  [tasɣɔjɔk] transitive verb. wait on the beach for ‹s.o coming in from the sea›, to welcome him; by_ext. pick ‹s.o› up at the airport.

Syn: lep vasgēt ‘accueillir’

Ant: tiok ‘raccom^pagner’

Dō so tasgoyok ige be-pn̄opn̄on mōmō.
We're going to welcome the fishermen's boat.
tatag   [tataɣ] transitive verb.

(1) follow ‹s.o,›.

(2) act according to ‹›, comply with.

Nēk tatag na-myōs bah!
First finish following your desire (i.e. finish what you're doing...).
tatag   adv. following, according to, depending on ‹›.

Lep nē-tēp tō sese tatag.
We turn on the recorder, and sing at the same time [lit. we sing and follow].

Nok tow n-eh e, nok tow tatag van a no-hohole nōnōm en.
When I compose a song, I do it according to your instructions.
tatag goy  transitive verb. follow ‹s.o›; assist, take care of.

Nok van tatag goy mey no-gom agōh.
I'm going to take care of the sick man.
tatag na-myōs  ~ tatag nē-dēmdēm  expr. by giving free course to one's desire, fl{thus} freely, at leisure, as much as you like.

Amyō kaka tatag na-myōs.
You can discuss as much as you like [discuss following your desire].

Ne-gengen geh hay nōk, kimi ne-myōs na-hap en, ami van lep tatag a nē-dēmdēm nonmi.
You see all this fruit? If you like, you can come and help yourself as much as you want [take following your idea].
tatal  [tatal] intransitive verb.

(1) walk, go somewhere on foot, esp. for pleasure (opp. van 'walk with a specific purpose, go somewhere').

Talōw e, gēn van tatal hiy bulsal n̄a hag Aplōw.
Tomorrow we'll go [on foot] to our friend from Aplow.

Ōyēh tege lō-qōn̄ nōk e nok tatal lok se me hiy kimi.
One of these days I'll come and visit you.

(2) walk aimlessly, for sheer pleasure, wander around.

Nēk so van ave? – Ohoo, tateh, tatal ēwē!
Where are you going? – Nowhere in particular, I'm just wandering about.

Tita, imam, nok van tatal bah yow ale kē.
Mum, dad, I'm off for a walk along the beach.
tatal tēy  transitive verb. walk with ‹s.o›, take ‹s.o› for a walk; accompany ‹s.o›.


Dōyō ta-tatal tēy vēh no so nok etet muk mahē?
[lit. Could we take me...] Could you take me for a walk, so that I can visit your region?
tatapsey  [tatapsɛj] adj.

(1) split up in several pieces, instead of being compact: (fruit, glass+) broken; (string) frayed.

(2) broken, destroyed.

Ne-leg nōnōm ma-tatapsey ēgēn.
There you are, your marriage is ruined!
tataqnet  (na-tataqnet) [natatak​͡pʷnɛt] noun. <Mer> cuttlefish, a cephalopod similar to squid. Sepia.

wēyēt ‘poulpe’

na-tataqnet susu

tateh  [tatɛh] ~ tavege  préd. Negative Existential: there is no.

Ant: ‘Existentiel affirmatif (il y a)’

(1) ⦗human subject⦘ be absent, be missing.

Imam tateh, kē aveqiyig.
Dad's not here, he's somewhere (else).

Imam ma-mat, nēk tateh be-tvitvig kē.
When dad died, you weren't there to bury him.

Na-Tmat so ni-galeg so Iqet so tateh.
Satan wanted God to no longer exist (wanted to eliminate God).

(2) (rare) have no right upon some private land, according to rules of property.

Ikē tateh lē-vētan m̄ey nen.
She had no right to enter [lit. she wasn't there on] this land.

(3) ⦗Subject + tatehNegative Existential: there is no N. If the subject is possessed, tateh translates as “have not”: Ithi-k tatehNē-sēm no-nmem tateh.We have no money’.

Kimi van me gōh, tō na-valiqōqō tateh.
Come here, there's no noise.

Nok so hēw, ba nē-tyag tateh.
I wanted to go down, but there was no ladder.

(4) tateh + noun radical⦘ Negative Existential: there is no N. The predicate can be intensified (‘there's no N at all’) using geh or nowmat: Tateh gengen fr:geh so kēy so gen.There was no food whatsoever’.

Am̄ag en, tateh mitig.
In olden times there were no coconut trees.

Tateh et bah en!
First of all, let's wait until everyone's gone (from inside).

Tateh hap alon.
There's nothing inside, it's empty.

Tateh et ni-tēy n-ih.
⟨+ subordinate clause⟩ There was no one to hold the bow (The bow was on its own in the air, it was held by nobody).

Tateh len̄e hohole.
Not a word!

Tateh mino ep, tateh mek bē.
I have no fire, and I have no water.

(5) tateh alone⦘ there's none, there's nothing; hence no.

óòó ‘non’

so tateh

tateh qete

Tita itōk? – Ohoo, tateh, kē no-gom.
Is your mother fine? – No, she's ill.

(6) ⦗when searching or trying⦘ without success; in vain, to no avail.


No me-nyē van, me-nyē van, tateh.
I waited and waited, but in vain. [lit. I waited: nothing!]

Kēy sok walēg me le-pnō nono-y nen, tateh.
They looked all over the island, without finding anything.

Nok hohoh n-ep van: tateh, et-lawlaw te.
I'm trying to light a fire, but to no avail: it's not catching on.

(7) (freq) sign of politeness, equivalent to “there's nothing to worry about, there's nothing to report”.

Kimi so akteg mi n-ep en? – Ohoo, tateh, kem so bēbē ēwē n-ep aē.
What do you want to do with this fire? – No, nothing (in particular), we just want to light a fire.

Nēk so van ave? – Tateh, tatal ēwē.
⟨common greeting⟩ Where are you going? – Nowhere (in particular), I'm just going for a walk.

Qele ave? – Ohoo, tateh, itōk.
⟨common greeting⟩ How are you? – No, nothing, everything's fine (don't worry).
tateh qete  ~ tateh teqe  préd. not yet.



Nēk may gengen? – Tateh qete.
Have you already eaten? – No, not yet.

Lēlwomyen, ēplōn tateh qete.
At midday his friend hadn't arrived yet.
taval-   [taβal] pf.

(1) beyond, the other side of.

Syn: tekel-

taval lam

taval mayam

taval qōn̄

taval meyen



taval he~

on the other side of the island

taval Vōnōlap
on the other side of (the island of) Vanua Lava

taval tō
on the other side of the mountain

taval bē
on the other side of the river, on the other bank

(2) opposite, on the other side of. Only in metaphorical expressions expressing opposition or symmetry.

taval-   (taval) sb. person who has the same (christian) name as ‹s.o, no~›: : homonym.

Taval! Van me!
Hey, My homonym! Come here!
taval-   (tavalgi) loc. : : on the other side (versus a particular point), opposite.

Nēk ta-van tavalgi n̄ēh?
When will you be going to the other side (of the island)?


taval he~  loc. person who has the same (christian) name as ‹s.o›: homonym, brother in name.

taval- [A]

Syn: taval

taval lam  [taβaˈlam] loc. overseas.
taval mayam  loc. in the world of beyond; the other side of the world.

Intik aē, ba a taval mayam!
I have children, but they're in the Other World (in the world of the Living).

Nēk ma-van me taval-mayam.
You've come from the other side /end of the world.
taval meyen  loc. the next day, the day after.

taval- [A]

Syn: taval qōn̄

Hēn̄ēn kal le-get; taval meyen, gen lok.
You put it in a basket; the next day you can eat it again.
taval qōn̄  loc. the next day. Sometimes associated with the directional hag ‘upwards / eastwards'.

qōn̄ [A]

Syn: taval meyen

le-mtap nan hag ‘le matin (vl:matap) suivant’

talōw ‘demain’

Taval qōn̄ nan lok se hag en...
And the next day, once again...
taval qōn̄  loc. the next day.

taval- [A]

Syn: taval meyen

Tō nō-qōn̄ mey nen ni-bah. Taval qōn̄ nan lok se hag en, n-et tēvēlēm kēy qelen̄.
That day ended. The next day, again, five men disappeared.
tavalgi… tavalgi  loc. on one side... on the other.

Kōyō vēlwoy kōyō: so vitwag ni-van tavalgi, vitwag ni-van tavalgi.
They parted: one went one side, the other the other.
t[a]wal  [tawal] adj. free from internal division (ni-didin), open.

mtam̄e ‘à ciel ouvert’

[ Mota tuwaleone, single’. ]

tawhi~  (na-tawhi~) [natawhi] -. <Bot> flower of ‹such and such species›, considered as a stage in the plant's development (fl:opp. na-tweh 'flower as an object').

na-tawhi vey
a hibiscus flower

na-tawhi tēnge
[a plant flower] a flower

Na-mtig mal ak na-tawhēn.
The coconut tree is already in flower [lit. already has its flowers].

Na-tawhi tēnge gōh kē nu-su leptō, kē kalō leptō yow.
The flowers of this plant are still minute, they're still in the bud stage.

[ Mota tawagasiu. North-V °tawa[ɣa]siflower’. Cf. Mtp teweh. ]

tay1   [taj] adj. calm.

Ant: nawnaw

Na-naw na-tay.
The sea is calm, lull.

Vētmahē ni-van hōw tō ni-tay.
The sea has calmed [lit. the place drops down and becomes lull].

[ Mota taro. ]

tay2   [taj] transitive verb. carve out of wood, with an axe (na-lke, na-baybay). Especially used for the carving of canoes (ni-siok).

Syn: tot


[ Mota tara. ]

tay yak  ~ sol yak  transitive verb. <Ethn>

yak [C]

Syn: lep yak

t[a]yah   [tajah] transitive verb. scrape; rub ‹› in earnest, in such a way as to provoke a noise or an effect due to this rubbing.

yah ‘frotter’

gay ‘gratter’

No me-tyah na-majis vitwag so ti n-ep aē.
I strike a match to light the fire.
t[a]yah   intransitive verb. scrape, provoke a rubbing effect.

No-gom nan, kē ni-tyatyah a lē-nlē.
This illness (sore throat) is rough on your throat.
t[a]yah   (na-tyah) noun. rubbing, scraping.
tayak  [tajak] transitive verb. take possession of someone else's child, whether legitime or not, in order to educate it as one's own child hence kidnap; adopt ‹a child›.

lower register: lep yak

higher register: solyak

ōl gonteg goy ‘accomplir la cérémonie d'adoption’

t[a]yaymōt  (na-tyaymōt) [natjajmʊt] noun. <Bot> a tree (Burseraceae), bsl. Namemiwa. Securinega flexuosa.

Syn: mōmōg

taybē~  (na-taybē~) [natajᵐbɪ] -. <Anat>

Syn: taqm̄ē~

(1) ‹s.o's› body.

Am̄ag, kēy leplep na-tamge so heyhey la-taybe-y.
In olden times, mats were used to cover the body.

(2) ‹'s› body, main structure.

na-taybē ēm̄
[body of house] frame, structure of a house during its construction

na-taybē siok
hull of canoe

[ Mota tarape-i. ]

tE-3   [tE] -. blong

(1) from, coming from. Enables the formation of adjectives, indicating spatial or temporal origin, esp. ethnic.

na-gatgat to-M̄otlap
[the language of Mwotlap] mwotlap

ige t-Ostrelia

ne-meresin tē-l-ēm̄ gom
hospital medicine

na-mya te-le-naw
conger eel

(2) belonging to a specific era.

na-vap t-am̄ag
[word of olden times] tale

Kem n-age t-atgiy.
We belong to the next generation [lit. we are a thing of after].

(3) native of (fl.esp. depending on the predicate).


n-age to-M̄otlap vitwag
a Mwotlavian

Nēk n-age tive?
Where are you from?

Kēy n-age t-Apnōlap.
They're from Vanua Lava.

(4) (do V) like/in the way of (a particular place).

Kēy laklak ta-Franis.
They dance the French way (dances from France).

Nēk tog vavap te-le-lam, nēk so vap to-M̄otlap.
Don't speak pidgin, speak (in) Mwotlap.

Kē mō-m̄ōl to-M̄ot.
She took French leave [lit. left the Mota way].
tE-4   [tE] asp. future prefix.
te1   [] ~ ta  dét. Partitive marker: a, some.

(1) partitive morpheme, consisting in taking an indefinite quantity of, irrespective of number: some.

Nēk so dolm̄eg te ga ?
Do you want to drink some kava?

Nok so vasem te dēmdēm van hiy kē.
I would like to talk to him about something [about a thought].

No nemyōs so nēk van sok te ipluk me.
I'd like you to find me a friend.

(2) marked in person, the classifier specifies the semantic value of the sample (object taken as food with ga~, drink with ma~, etc.), and the beneficiary (whether or not identical to the subject of the main verb)..

Nēk so gen te gōm ? – Oo ! Nok so gen te kis !
Do you want some? Yes, I do! [lit. do you want some yours-to-eat? |{endash} I want some mine-to-eat]

Lep te mek me ! – Oo ! Lep ta man van !
Give me some (to drink) ! – Yes, give him some.

Nēk tē-wēl te mino vēh me ?
Could you buy one for me (torch) ?

Nok so et te muk !
I want to see too ! [Cf. mu~]

(3) none, not the slightest N spéc. te_et 'nobody', te_hap 'nothing'.

Nok et-et te hap te.
I didn't see anything.

Nok et-et te et te.
I didn't see anybody.

(4) a little, somewhat. Translates often as an indefinite 'a/some'.

lō-qōn̄ tegha te
one day in the future

Kē ni-dyē goy lok te, tateh.
He waited a little more / a moment, in vain.

Kē ni-soksok so ige lōqōvēn aē te lē-n̄ēlmet?
He tried to see if there were any women on the reef.

Kimi ne-myōs ne-gengen te en, ami lep.
If you want something to eat, help yourself.

[ PNCV *teaone’. ]

te2   [] mod.

(1) not: second element of discontinued morpheme negations et-… te ‘Realis Negative’ (et-3) tit-… te ‘Futur Negative’ (cf. tE-2).

Et-ino te.
It's not me.

No et-ēglal galsi te.
I'm not sure.

Kōyō et-van te me.
They didn't come.

(2) as an equative predicate, where the subject is not expressed (zero anaphora), te may mark negation on its own hence it's not.

Qele nen te!
(It's) not like that!

Ino te, ikē!
It's not me, it's him!

“Wokbaot” te, “vanvan me”!
(We don't say) “wokbaot”, (we say) "walk".
te-le-naw  adj. maritime, marine. Designates certain objects (animals, plants+) by associating them with the sea or the coast (opp. tē-hēyēt 'from inside the island').

naw [C]

na-hlat te-le-naw
[sea nettle] jellyfish

magtō te-le-naw
[old woman of the sea] scorpion fish

ne-gengen te-le-naw
[seafood] fish and seafood
te-M̄sēn  adj. from Mosina.

Na-gatgat te-M̄sēn isqet so ni-qlen̄.
The Mosina dialect ('mwesen') is about to disappear.

[  <°ˌa-ŋ͡mʷoˈsina. ]

te-Pnōlap  adj. originating from or peculiar to Vanua Lava.
t[e]bey  (na-tbey) [natᵐbɛj] noun. <Techn>

(1) sort of circular woven basket, with narrow rims and a wide opening. Used to collect money, food while preparing meals, etc..

na-tbey vēyēyag
refuse basket

Kemem a so m-ōl na-hami en, kimi mas suwyeg nē-sēm hōw a le-tbey en.
As soon as you hear your name pronounced (in our song), you must put some money in the basket.

(2) purse, ‹s.o›'s property fig..

Na-hap a nēk ma-galeg tō me M̄otlap gōh kē, kē mal van qēt van le-tbey nōnōm ēgēn.
Everything you've discovered here in Motalava is already in your purse (i.e. you've memorized it, it's part of you).

(3) plate, made from non-vegetal material (plastic, metal...).


[ Mota <°tabera.  taperaa woven open bag, basket’. ]

tege  [tɛɣɛ] adv. about, approximately.

Kē tege gēn.
She's here somewhere.
t[e]gey  [tɛɣɛj] transitive verb. annoy, harass ‹s.o›.

t[e]geygey  (na-tgeygey) [natɣɛjɣɛj] noun. <Ornith> Grey Collared Fantail, bsl. nasiksik: bird with long, well-spread fantail, 15 cm. Rhipidura fuliginosa.

[ Mota tagere. ]

tegha   [tɛɣha] adj.

(1) different.

Nok so van le-pnō tegha.
I want to go to another country.

Mey gōh? – Ohoo, mey ne-tegha.
This one? – No, the other one. [the one that is different]

vētmahē tegha
somewhere else

na-hapqiyig tegha
something else, something different

n-et tegha / hiqiyig tegha
someone else

ige tegha
the others (other people)

Kē suvay-tegha.
He's a bit different.

Kēy dēm so no n-et tegha den kēy.
They think I'm different from them.

(2) strange, odd.

Nē-qētēnge gōh ne-tegha a ne-tegha!
Look how strange this tree is!

(3) diverse, varied.

Na-taqse kastom nonoy a ne-tetegha.
They have loads of different traditions where they live.

Kōyō van laklak a le-pnō tegtegha.
They went dancing in various villages.
tegha   adv.

(1) (to be placed) upside down.

Kē mi-tig tegha.
He's standing upside down, head down.

(2) (do V) so that is found upside down.

Nok so wul tegha kē.
I'll turn him over (on his bed).

(3) the wrong way, incorrectly.

No me-hey tegha nu-sus / no-sot mino.
I put my shoes / my vest on the wrong way round.
teh  [tɛh] transitive verb. <Techn> cut

(1) carve a wooden surface with a sharp instrument, plane.

(2) make a ‹canoe+› by carving into wood, sculpt; esp. at an advanced stage, at the finishing stages.



Nok teteh heyhey nē-qētēnge qele so ni-siok.
I bevel the tip of a piece of wood, in the shape of a canoe.
tekel  [tɛkɛl] -.

(1) on the other side of.

tekel bē
the other side of the watercourse

tekel wutwut
the other side of the mountain

tekel Vōnōlap
the other side of Vanualava

Nitog vanvan tekelgi!
You're not allowed to go to the other side.

(2) on the one side... on the other side.

Syn: taval

Nok hag tekelgi, nēk hag tekelgi.
I'll sit on one side, and you on the other.
t[e]le  (na-tle) [natlɛ] noun. <Mer>

(1) clamshell (bsl. Natalae), a huge bivalve shellfish, famous for its solidity. Tridacna spp.

(2) metal or iron, introduced by the modern world.

na-va tele
metal file

[ Mota talai. ]

telen̄len̄  [tɛlɛŋlɛŋ] intsf. Intensifier for adjectives liwo and kēkēn ‘big’.

Syn: len̄

na-qyan̄ liwo telen̄len̄
an absolutely enormous ditch
t[e]nepnō   (na-tnepnō) [natnɛpnʊ] noun. central village square.
na-tnepnō Lahlap, la place du village à Ngerenigmen
t[e]nepnō   (tenepnō) ~ tēlepnō ~ lētnepnō  expr.

t[e]no~  (na-tno~) [natnɔ] -. ples

(1) place for ‹›, place or object meant for ‹›.

(2) place associated with a specific action: shape of instrument names or places.

(3) ‹s.o's› place, bed or seat; esp. ‹s.o's› mat (syn. na-tno mitiy / tamge).

Ne-men nen, na-tnon agōh; kē no-togtog antan agōh.
Here's where this bird lives lit. here's his place]; this is where it lives.

Kē ma-van heylō na-tnon.
He won the elections [he won his seat]

(4) moment.

(5) manner, form (in certain expressions).

Na-tno bēnē itōk.
You have nice writing [lit. the place for your hand (?)].
t[e]n̄e~  (na-tn̄e~) [natŋɛ] -. possessed form of tan̄ ‘bag, case’.

(1) ‹s.o's› bag, purse.

(2) ‹s.o's› purse, property fig..


Kōmyō m-et na-haphap mey a nē-lēn̄as me lelo vōnō kē en, tō kē ma-vanvan le-tn̄amōyō.
You've contemplated the marvels of our island, and you've taken them away in your bag (i.e. taken them with you, in your memory).

(3) recipient, bag, envelope, pocket, case especially designed for ‹›.

na-tn̄e wotva
calabash recipient

na-tn̄e nētm̄ey
pocket for baby (uterus)

[ POc taŋa. ]

t[e]n̄etn̄e duw  (na-tn̄etn̄e) [natŋɛtŋɛ] noun. <Pois> non-identified reef fish, similar to nu-n̄yun̄yu_qo. Also known in volow dialect as n-ēg_te-Ben̄yeteh.

teq  (ne-teq) [nɛtɛk​͡pʷ] noun. cemetery

quy (tamat) ‘tombeau’


Nēk so van m̄ag a le-teq ?

[ Cftōqō. Mota tapa quiet day, for death or by order of tamate’. Mota taputaboo, unapproachable...’. Malo tabusacred, forbidden; grave’. PNCV, POc *tabusacred, forbidden’. ]

teqe  [tɛk​͡pʷɛ] mod. rare form of qete* 'not yet'.

Tateh teqe.
No, not yet.
t[e]qe~  (na-tqe~) [natk​͡pʷɛ] -. 1s: na-tqe-k 3s: na-tqa-n

(1) stomach, belly.

Na-tqek ni-sis.
I'm full up [my belly's full]

(2) seat of feelings, 'heart', deep down.

Lelo taqan kē ne-myōs, ba kē et-buste vasem lō en.
In her heart of hearts [lit. in his stomach] she loved him, but she didn't dare say so.

(3) belly, main bulky part of an object.

na-tqe ok
hull of a canoe

[ Mota toqa-i. ]

t[e]qetqe~  (na-tqetqe~) [natk​͡pʷɛtk​͡pʷɛ] -. stomach, paunch.

na-tqetqe qo
pig's paunch
t[e]qetqe-qo  intransitive verb. two-thirds full, gibbous.

Nō-wōl ni-tqetqe-qo lok.
The moon is getting gibbous again.
t[e]qey  [tɛk​͡pʷɛj] transitive verb. manage to catch ‹a fleeting animal›.

Syn: tukuk

Nok so teqey ne-men agōh!
I'm trying to catch this fowl!
tes  (ne-tes) [nɛtɛs] noun. vast expanse of fresh water, lake.


[ POc *tasiksea’. ]

tetetwol  [tɛtɛtwɔl] noun. <Mer>

(1) urchinEchinidae.

(2) extremely unpleasant person.

t[e]veg  [tɛβɛɣ] transitive verb. <Ethn>

(1) ritually consecrate ‹land›, typic. with shell money (nē-sēm), in order to mark it as one's private property and that of one's children: appropriate ‹the land›.

tan̄ goy

hig goy

Nok so teveg nē-vētan veg ige susu mino.
I want to consecrate this land in my children's name.

Kēytēl lep nē-sēm, teveg na-le aē.
All three of them appropriated the beacu with their money.

(2) exchange ‹› for shell money; hence buy, sell.

lower register: n̄eyeg ‘vendre’

lower register: wēl ‘acheter’

Ige to-M̄otlap so hō me be-tvetveg qet.
Motalava people will soon come to buy our taro.

[ Mota tuvagto buy or sell, with or for money’. ]

t[e]velgi  (na-tvelgi) [natβɛlɣi] noun.

[ PNCV <°taválu-.  *tavaluside, moiety’. ]

t[e]weh  (na-tweh) [natwɛh] ~ na-twēh  noun. flower

(1) flower (of a tree); tawhi~ can be used too.

Syn: kaskas ‘fleur (ornementale)’

na-tweh dēn̄ēy

na-tweh hephep

na-tweh dedel

na-tweh qōnqōn

na-tweh tēnge
a flower [a flower of a plant]

(2) is used in several compounds designating plants.

(3) rice. Abbreviation of na-tweh_mitig.

Nēk so gen na-tweh?
Do you want to eat some rice?

[ PNCV *diŋoriperfume tree’. Mota tawagasiu. North-V °tawa[ɣa]siflower’. Cf. Mtp tawhi~. ]

t[e]wen  (na-twen) [natwɛn] noun. <Bot>

(1) Taun, k.o. big lychee, bsl. Nandao. Pometia pinnata.

(2) (Sl) (met) testicles, balls.

Syn: hlo~ ‘testicules’

[ POc <°tawáni.  *tawan. ]

tey3   [tɛj] intransitive verb. take the bait, [line] move.

Kē ni-yon̄teg a teytey, a qe so nō-mōmō.
He can feel the fish biting.
t[e]yeh1   (°na-tyeh) [natjɛh] noun.

(1) comb.

(2) bruch.

na-tyeh ba-yayah lēwo-ge
toothbrush[brush to rub teeth]
te-Yō  ~ tō-Yō  adj. Roua / Ayô, Reef Is., a now desert island close to Mwotlap.


No-qo kuykuy te-Yō.
⟨legend⟩ The monster of Roua.

[  <°ˌa-roˈua. ]

tE-… qiyig  asp. Immediate future.

Kē tē-wē qiyig.
It'll end up by working.

Gen! Nēk to-yon̄teg qiyig nagōm manan aē !
Eat! You'll love it.
tE-… tō  asp.
t{ē}na  (nē-tna) [nɪtna] noun. <Anat> entrails, innards, intestines, guts.

vētna ‘étriper’

ye yak nē-tna ne mōmō
gut a fish by plunging one's hand inside it
t{ē}nas  (nē-tnas) [nɪtnas] adj. smoked out, burned.

Na-hō mō-hō me van aē, tō no-womtig ni-tnas.
The smoke covered it, blackening the old coconuts.
t{ē}ne~  (nē-tne~) [nɪtnɛ] -. middle, centre.

[ Mota tinaientrails; middle’. Cf. Mtp tÊnaentrailles’. ]

t{ē}yag  (nē-tyag) [nɪtjaɣ] noun.
1   (nē-tē) [nɪtɪ] noun. <Pois> Goatfish, bsl. Mustasfis: reef fish, 22 cm. Mulloidichthys flavolineatus.

[ Mota tioa fish with barbules, like Mullet’. POc *tiqaugoatfish, Mullidae sp.’. ]

tē~2   (°na-tē~) [natɪ] -. excrement.

Syn: ta

hel yak na-tē mōmō
gut a fish

[ POc *taqe. ]

t[ē]bē  (na-tbē) [natᵐbɪ] noun. wide wooden plate, which is flat and circular, used to make a cake nē-lēt.

Ige be-phah kēy vēhbeg na-tbē a lemyayawoy.
Magicians can hang a plate up in the air.

[ Mota tapiaa wide flat wooden platter’. ]

t[ē]bēbē  (na-tbēbē) [natᵐbɪᵐbɪ] noun. <Bot> Sea trumpet, bsl. Burao blong solwota. Cordia subcordata.

tēgētgē  [tɪɣɪtɣɪ] sb. all kinds of X.

No may gen tēgētgē qēt.
I ate a bit of everything.
tēgvōnō  [tɪɣβʊnʊ] adj. indigenous, native.

vnō ‘pays’

Ige mēlēmlēg Franis kēy et-tēgvōnō te.
In France black people are not natives.
tēhēl  (nē-tēhēl) [nɪtɪhɪl] noun. <Pois>

(1) fishing rod, made from long, sharpened bamboo.

(2) "Red-headed cleaner", small oblong fish. Labroides rubrolabiatus.

tēl  [tɪl] num. tri

(1) three. Non-prefixed form of vētēl (Cf. vE-), combined with the terms vag ‘times’, bul 'group of N people', and son̄wul 'about ten'..

three times

tēlge bul tēl
a group of three people

Son̄wul tēl nanm̄e vētēl.
[three tens plus three] thirty three

(2) bare form of the radical signifying 'three', seen in the formation of various trial markers. Cf. pronouns tēl-ge, tēl-hē, kam-tēl, dē-tēl, kēm-tēl, kēy-tēl, and the personal endings -mam-tēl, -mē-tēl, etc..

[ POc *tolu. ]

tēleg  [tɪlɛɣ] transitive verb. <Techn> make ‹a fishing scareline,na-hay›.

Kēy tēleg na-hay.
We're making a fishing scareline.
t[ē]lēh  [tɪlɪh] intransitive verb. dislocated, off its hinges.

Na-mtēgtap me-tlēh, kē mi-tig den̄hel, veg n-et mi-siseg van aē.
The door is dislocated, it's askew because someone's been playing with it.
t[ē]lēs  (na-tlēs) [natlɪs] noun. <Bot> Sea almond (fam. Combretaceae), bsl. Natavoa. Terminalia catappa.

[ POc *talise. ]

tēnetne qōn̄  ~ lē-tnetne qōn̄  loc. at midnight, in the middle of the night.


an̄qōn̄ ‘la nuit’

An̄qōn̄ a lē-tnetne qōn̄ ewo tō ōgnōn so ni-hatig tō ni-van yapyap.
In the evenings, in the middle of the night, her husband got up to go fishing.
tēnge  (nē-tēnge) [nɪtɪnɣɛ] noun. <Bot>

(1) Plant. Hyperonym of plants, competing with its derivative nē-qēt-tēnge ('tree, plant doted with a trunk').

[head of a plant] a tree

n-ēwe tēnge
[fruit of a plant] a fruit

na-twēh tēnge / na-tawhi tēnge
[flower of a plant] a flower

na-tawhi tēnge gōh
flowers of this plant / these flowers

(2) plant dted with known medicinal virtues; medicinal leaf.

(3) medicinal plant used by the healer or witch doctor (tēytēy-bē) to cure patients; (meton.) all secret knowledge a healer possesses, transmitted from one generation to the next.

man ‘pouvoir magique’

tēnge met

tēnge liwo

tētēnge qon

Nok so galeg nē-tēnge hiy nēk tō nu-vu het ni-van yak den nēk.
I'll prepare plants for you to release the bad spirits inside you.

Tēytēy-bē kē ma-mat tētēy nē-tēnge nonon, tateh et ni-lepyak den kē.
The healer died keeping (the secret of) his plants, and no one could take them from him (to learn about them).

(4) medecine, pharmaceutical treatment.


Nok in bah nē-tēnge ne-mek en !
Wait, I must take my pill first.

No-gom en, nē-tēnge nan tateh.
There's no medecine against that illness.

(5) plants used in non medicinal magic rituals, e.g. to affect the elements.

[ Mota tan-gaetree, wood, wooden’. PNCV, POc *kayutree, (piece of) wood’. ]

tēnge liwo  noun. name of a plant (Polypodiaceae). Pyrrosia confluens.


tēnge met  noun. name of a plant. Diospyros spp.


tēn̄ten̄  (nē-tēn̄ten̄) [nɪtɪŋtɛŋ] noun. <Pois> wan fish, Mustas fis. Mulloidichthys flavolineatus.

[ Mota tan̄tan̄. ]

tēq   [tɪk​͡pʷ] transitive verb. throw a sharp projectile against ‹, s.o› using an instrument (opp. yim 'throw a stone by hand'; tuqul 'throw a stick'): e.g. throw a stone with a catapult, shoot a stunning arrow (nē-tēq); shoot with a fire weapon.


tamat-tēq ‘fusil’

tēqtēq qeyet
hunt firefox (with a catapult or rifle)

Kōyō ma-van tēqtēq men.
They've gone bird hunting.

Nēk may tēq te mu mi twentētu?
Have you ever shot a 22 long rifle?
tēq   (nē-tēq) noun. stunning arrow, one end of which is wooden (na-qsan, cf. qese~), rounded, and smooth, used to stun prey (birds).
t[ē]qē  (nē-tqē) [nɪtk​͡pʷɪ] noun. karen


(2) plantesen blong kokonas.

t[ē]qēl   [tɪk​͡pʷɪl] intransitive verb.

Syn: hēw

Kōyō tēqēl me le-qyan̄ a nō-qōqō.
t[ē]qēl   (tēqēl) adv.

Ant: kal

hēw tēqēl

van tēqēl

yow tēqēl

munuw tēqēl

at tēqēl

lep tēqēl

[ Mota taqelto descend, go down hill’. ]

t[ē]qēlhe~  (na-tqēlhe~) [natk​͡pʷɪlhɛ] -. upper part of the back, comprising the nape of the neck and shoulders.

[ Mota taqalsa-i. ]

t[ē]qēy  [tɪk​͡pʷɪj] transitive verb.


Nu-bus so ni-tqēy na-ghōw.

Nēk te-tqēy vēh na-bagbaglo nen?

Kēytēl tēqētqēy men.
tēqtēq qeyet  voi. flying-fox hunting.


tēsol  (nē-tēsol) [nɪtɪsɔl] noun. tidle wave, tsunami.
tēt  (nē-tēt) [nɪtɪt] noun. <Ornith> Pacific Swallow. Hirundo tahitica.

[ Mota tot. ]

tēte~  [tɪtɛ] -. Pl.: ya(tē)tēta-n opposite sex: (man) sister, (as:woman) brother.

[  <°tuátuá-gu. ]

tētē1   (nē-tētē) [nɪtɪtɪ] noun. baby

nētm̄ey ‘enfant’

Tētē ni-sisis ni-sis nonon iven.
Baby is sucking his mother's breast.
tētē2   (nē-tētē) [nɪtɪtɪ] noun. <Bot>

(1) a plant (Euphorbiaceae). Euphorbia spp.

(2) or maybe Marking-out, a poison tree, bsl. Naolasi. Semecarpus vitiensis.

leh [1]

(3) wild variety of coconut tree.


tētēnge qon  noun. name of a plant. Litsea magnifolia.


tēvēlēm  [tɪβɪlɪm] num. five

[ Mota tavelima. PNCV, POc *limafive; hand’. ]

tēvēlyō  [tɪβɪljʊ] préd.

yō [2] ‘deux’

n-ok gamgam a na-sam tēvēlyō

[ PNCV <°taválu-rúa.  *tavaluside, moiety’. ]

t[ē]wē  (nē-twē) [nɪtwɪ] noun. <Ornith> a bird.

(1) Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, 18 cm. Calidris acuminata.

(2) Common Noddy, sea bird, 40 cm. Anous stolidus.

(3) or more certainly: Wandering Tattler, 29 cm. Heteroscelus incanus.

[ Mota tiwia. ]

t[ē]wēhin̄  (na-twēhin̄) [natwɪhiŋ] noun. <Bot> k.o. plant, unidentified.
t[ē]wēhqalat  (na-twēhqalat) [natwɪhk​͡pʷalat] noun. <Mer>

t[ē]wētis  (na-twētis) [natwɪtis] noun. <Pois> vertically striped reef fish.

(1) Pygoplites diacanthus.

(2) Abudefduf coelestinus.

tēy  [tɪj] transitive verb. <Techn> hold, have.

(1) seize ‹› ; hold, have in one's hand.

lep ‘prendre’

tēy maymay

Nok tēy na-tbay na-mu ba dō m̄ōl n̄a l-ēm̄ nōnōm !
Let me take your fish garland, and let's go to your house!

Na-wae kē, qe so na-m̄adeg meh, no tē-tēy qele ave?!
All these arrows, there are far too many! How can I carry them all?!

Nok tēy na-mnē.
(a) I'll hold your hand. (b) I'll shake your hand. (c) I'll lend you a hand (in a fight) [Cf. biyin̄]

Tō, kē ni-tēy na-mnen ni-yap kē me, na-m̄alm̄al et-bus te.
He took hold of her hand to pull her closer, but the girl didn't want him to.

tēy yak
take hold of to pick it up, remove it [Cf. yak]

tēy tēslan̄
[lit. hold-slide] let slip out of one's hands, drop

(2) touch with one's hands, manipulate; (pej) fiddle.

Tog tēytēy van na-tan̄ mino en!
Stop rummaging in my belongings!

Tog tēytēy se no me!
Keep your hands off!

(3) hold ‹s.n›, esp. by the shoulders (opp. yap 'pull by the hand'; oytitin 'take by the arm'; sil 'embrace').

Kē tēy qal van tita nonon wo “Tita, tita, tita !”
She held on to her mother, saying "Mummy, mummy!"

(4) catch to kill ‹man, animal› ; hunt, fish.

Tō ige antan kēy tēytēymat so kēy tēy kē ēgēn.
Those below were already preparing to catch the boy (to kill him).

Nēk wo mē-tēy qal ne-men en, nok so gen te kis.
If you succeed in catching this bird, I want to eat a piece!

Kem van tēytēy n-on.
We're going barracuda fishing.

ige bē-tēytēy-ō
tortoise hunters [lit. those to hold t.]

(5) affect ‹› to transform it: work ‹›, make, take care of. esp. build a ‹house›, sculpt ‹statues or masks›.

Qōn̄ vitwag nen, na-taem tēytēy-tēqē.
That day we were busy farming [lit. time to 'take care of' the garden]

tēy na-tmat
sculpt sacred statues [Syn. tot]

Tō kē ni-tēy qēt n-ēm̄ mitimtiy ni-bah, n-ēm̄ qayqayn̄is ni-bah, tō n-ēm̄ non ēntēn ni-bah.
He built a house in which to sleep, then a kitchen, then a house for his son. [Syn. galeg].

(6) periphrase designating s.o's activity or profession, in relation to an object.

ige (bē-) tēytēytele
garage mechanics [lit. those to hold iron]

the healer [lit. who holds water] (see_this_word)

N-et bē-tēytēytēnge en ni-leh ne-len̄.
The magician [lit. who holds magic leaves] changed the direction of the wind.

(7) have, possess ‹resources, money+›.

Na-myōs nonoy n-et m̄ey a nē-tēy no-wok.
(Your parents) would have liked someone who had a job.

Ige qagqag kēy tēytēy mahē.
White men are used to taking land (they are colonialists at heart).

Ne-jenso en, n-et vitwag wo mē-tēy na-laesens nonon tō kē tiqyo lēs bo-totot qētēnge aē.
As for power saws, only people with permits are allowed to use them.

(8) capture, keep in mind; learn.

Kem mē-tēy na-kaka geh gōh, a kem lēs tamat.
We learnt all these myths when we were initiated [lēs_tamat].

Kē ni-vatne kēy aē, tō kēy tēy n-eh ne m̄e ēgēn.
He taught them everything, and that's how they learnt the sea-serpent song.

Ige del mē-tēy mōtōtō n-eh, kēy m-ēglal qēt.
(Singers) know the song by heart, and in full [lit. they hold it in their right hand (cf. mōtō)].
tēy   adv.

(1) do V holding ‹› in one's hand; by_ext. having ‹› on one's person or with one, not necessarily in one's hands. Often translated by the preposition "with".

Imam nonon yan̄fala en ni-yow lō tēy me na-gasel.
In a flash, the boy's father came out of hiding, holding a dagger.

Kōyō vatah so “Vitwag, vōyō, vētēl” e kōyō yow ! A yow tēy a na-tamge liwo en !
After counting "One, two, three!" they jumped into he unknown – jumped holding the big mat (in their hands ?).

Kē ni-lep nē-qēt-al, tō kē ni-bal na-tmalte. Tō ni-suw tēy ēgēn.
He took hold of the bewitched stone with a pair of wooden tongs, then crossed over the water (suw) with it [holding it with the tongs].

Kē ma-lak tēy na-savat nonon!
He dances with his sandals (on his feet / *in his hands).

(2) do V with ‹s.o›.

(tiwag) mi ‘avec’

Lak tēy yoyon̄ ēwē no.
Dance with me slowly.

(3) be with, have ‹+N abstract: e.g. work.

Nok tig tēy vatag n-ēte wun mal dēn̄ son̄wul.
It must be ten years that I've had (this job). [lit. that I'm standing with]

Ige mayanag kēy mēlēmlē tēy na-mwumwu na-mu-y.
Chiefs are slow in doing [lit. show in holding] their job.

(4) carry ‹› from one place to another: bring (centripetal direction me), take away (other directions).

Ige hah yak na-tgop, sal na-kaskas hōw aē, tō van tēy a vētmahē a kēy so wēl na-lqōvēn aē en.
We pick up the laplap (out of the oven), we decorate it with flowers, then we carry it to where the ceremony of buying the wife will take place.

Na-naw ni-vēl kēy, qele ni-lilip ni-vēl kēy, van tēy kēy, toveg kēy a le-naw vētmahē qōqō.
The sea seizes (men) like a tidal wave, carries them far away, and drags them to the depths of the ocean.

(5) bring ‹› to s.o.

Van tēy me na-tan̄ mino en, nok so van suwsuw le-naw!
Bring me my bag, I'm going to swim in the sea!

Nēk ne-myōs so nok so tow na-he : nēk van tēy me nē-sēm, van tēy me hiy no.
If you want me to compose a song for you, you must bring some money, bring some for me.

(6) take ‹s.o› somewhere: bring, fetch; guide, accompany.

Syn: gamteg

N-et vitwag, kē ni-hō tēy kōyō.
Get someone to take them by canoe! [lit. Get a man to paddle carrying both of them]

Kamyō John tō-m̄ōl tēy lok qiyig no me.
John will bring me back later on. [lit. me-and-Johyn we'll accompany me]

Kemem goy tiwag tēy nēk me.
We've come in masses [goy_tiwag] to be with you.

[ Mota taur. ]

tēy goy  [tɪj ɣɔj] transitive verb.

(1) cover, block ‹› with one's hands.

Nok tēy goy nē-dēln̄ek.
I block up my ears (with my hands).

(2) hold back, hold fast ‹ to prevent it from falling or escaping›; keep hold of ‹› for fear of losing it.

Kē mē-tēy goy ēwē nē-vētbē vitwag.
(After losing all the others), he possessed only one last bamboo filled with water.

Nok tēy goy ne-telefon.
I'll handle the telephone (I'll pick it up when it rings).

(3) hold ‹› to help s.o whose hands are full, etc..

Nēk tēy goy, ba kē ni-in.
While you're holding (the cup), he drinks.

(4) keep hold of ‹ that s.o gives you›; accept ‹a present›.

Nēk van tēy me hiy no, nok tēy goy.
Bring it to me, and I'll keep it in my possession.

(5) using one's hands, prevent ‹s.o› from doing; hold ‹s.o› back.

Roland kē ni-tēytēy goy kōyō.
Roland stopped them (from fighting).
tēy maymay  transitive verb. hold tight: keep, retain, prevent from escaping.


tēy goy

Ne-men nen ni-gap wa kē ni-tēy maymay nē-lēn.
The bird managed to fly away; but (the boy) had succeeded in catching one of its feathers.

So kēy wo mē-tēy maymay nē-sēm en, m̄alm̄al nen nōnōm.
If her parents keep the money (that you offer them), then this girl is for you.
tēy na-tmat  intransitive verb. sculpt, create sacred statues or mass, espec. respecting secrecy na-halgoy.



tēy qōtō  transitive verb. borrow: take ‹› for a while, with the intention of returning it.


Nok tēy qōtō na-hanwas nōnōm!
I'll borrow your watch for a couple of minutes!
tēymat  [tɪjmat] intransitive verb. get ready, prepare oneself, be ready.
tēymat   transitive verb. prepare
tēytēy tele  voi. work on metal objects, e.g. repair car bodywork or mechanics.


ige tēytēy tele
garage owners, car mechanics
tēytēy-bē  [tɪjtɪjᵐbɪ] sb. <Ethn>

(1) wizard, magician; (esp.) witch doctor, doctor in traditional society.

N-et tēytēy bē nonon ige to-M̄otlap, kē ni-leh lok ne-len̄ en.
The magician from Motalava then began to change the course of the wind.

(2) doctor – in the modern sense of the word.

Syn: dokta

Kē ni-tēytēybē non ige kuykuy vilih.
She is a doctor for cows (i.e. veterinary surgeon).

tēytēybē ne gatgat
[doctor of languages] linguist
tēytēyheg t-Anm̄ēt  [tɪjtɪjhɛɣ tanŋ​͡mʷɪt] noun. <Art> name of a geometrical design in traditional pictural art, in the shape of two arcades like our "m" in lower case.

tēytēy-ō  voi. go kasem totel.

ō [2]

ige bē-tēytēy-ō
turtle fishermen

[  <°awúa. ]

ti1   [ti] transitive verb. light ‹fire, lamp+›; set ‹fire› (to s.h, s.o: hiy), burn.

Ti (lawlaw) nu-qul.
Put the lamp on.

Kēy ti-ti qiyig n-ep hiy no, kēy tu-wuh qiyig no.
They're going to burn me alive [set fire to me], they'll kill me.

[ Mota tiuapply, set+’. ]

ti2   [ti] ~ ti lō  transitive verb. attribute ‹› to s.o.

(1) give, attribute ‹present+› to s.o.

Gēn so ti van na-mlangēn hiy hiqiyig a gēn na-tam kē…
If you want to give a present to someone you esteem...

(2) inflict upon one's rival ‹points lost in gambling, no-qo›; hence win ‹points›.

qo ‘(2) point’

Kē ti-ti yosveg qiyig nagōm qo.
You'll see, she'll inflict a large number of points on you (she'll win)

(3) order ‹a prestigious ode› in one's own honour, for a fee, from (hiy) a poet (n-et bo-towtow-eh, cf. tow).

he~ [3]

No mi-ti na-hangēn hiy Malkikyak, kēy te-se lō l-ēte itan.
I've ordered an ode in our honour from the poet Malkikyak; it will be finished next year.

[ Mota tiuapply, set+’. ]

tig1   [tiɣ] intransitive verb. stand

(1) be standing.

higher register: tiy

hatig ‘se lever’

Ēy ! Hiqiyig tig tō hay en.
Hey! Look there's someone [standing] over there!

Tig qōtō anen, nok van bah en!
Stay [standing] there a moment, I'll be back.

Kēy tig walēg / dēln̄et [no].
They're standing in a circle [around me].

Kē ni-tig mah a le-lo.
He stood up to dry in the sun.

tig ketket
stand up straight (to be taller), e.g. to see in the distance

tig maymay
standing firmly on one's feet

tig matmat
stopped standing; (car) stationary, at a halt

tig yoyon̄
standing silently

tig lap
remain standing

tig lē
standing leaning sideways

tig taq
standing leaning forwards

tig day
standing waiting for (s.o)

tig sey
standing up all together

tig lō
come to light, appear

tig tam
standing leaning on (a tree...)

tig tegha
standing upside down, head down

yow tig
dive (into water)

tig qelen̄
[standing hiding] relieve oneself, urinate in the thickets

(2) find oneself in a particular place, in a vertical position. As in other verbs expressing position (Cf. hag, en), specifies the physical position of an object that one wants to situate in space – here, verticality.

Oo! Na-laklak tig tō hay kē!
Oh! But the dancing is in full swing [standing] over there!

Ne-beg en, tig soloteg tege tō agōh !
Breadfruit trees are [standing] everywhere around here!

Na-qyan̄ tig tō hag e qele gēn, na-mteēm̄ vet.
There's a [vertical] opening up there, like a door in the rock.

Ige qagqag, kēy bem a nē-vētbē a na-qtag ni-tig geh aē.
White men carry bamboos over their shoulder (quivers) in which their arrows are lined up [are standing]

Na-qtag a ni-van yow me en, ni-tig vah a lō-mōmō en !
The arrow rushed through the water, and pierced [standing] the fish.

(3) be in a certain manner.

Nok tig tēy vatag n-ēte wun mal dēn̄ son̄wul.
It's been at least ten years that I've been in this job. [lit. that I'm standing with]

Ige mēlēmlēg tu-Numea kēy ne-myōs so kēy so tig mahge-y.
The Kanaks of New Caledonia want their independence [to be standing themselves]

(4) turn into, take on the aspect of.

vēhgi ‘se changer en’

Nēk so van ale, nēk dēmdēm meh hiy na-lqōvēn, tō ne-m̄e ni-tig na-lqōvēn nan. (...) Bah, tō kē ni-tig lok ne-m̄e.
If ever you're obsessed by a woman when you're walking on the beach, then the sea serpent (ne-m̄e) will take on the features of this woman. (...) Later, it will turn back into a sea serpent.
tig1   transitive verb. be standing on ‹road+›.

Kēy mi-tig na-trak / tig ne-vet.
They are standing up in the car / on the rock.

Tig maymay na-hay !
Stay standing by the fishing liana (na-hay)!

tig na-mtehal
standing on the road
tig2   [tiɣ] transitive verb.

(1) sink into, transpierce ‹foot›.

Na-mwoy mi-tig na-yn̄ēk.
Sharp corals dug into my foot!

(2) prick ‹, s.o› with a sharp object, stab.

Syn: es

Kē tiple tig nēk aē!
Be careful he doesn't hurt you (with this knife)!
tig goy  [tiɣ ɣɔj] transitive verb. standing (tig) with regard to or in reaction to (goy)

(1) stand up (tig) as a reaction: rest after an effort, stretch one's legs, stand up to digest.

Nok in bah na-ga, nok tig goy tusu.
After drinking kava, I stand up for a while.

(2) be standing somewhere, unintentionally barring the view or way for s.o else.

Nēk mi-tig goy ni-vidio den no!
You're stopping me from seeing the tele (you're standing in front of me)!

(3) stand up to purposely block s.o, stand in s.o's way, bar s.o's way.

(4) stand up to prevent others from reaching ‹› ; protect.

Kēy mi-tig goy na-tmat den Wilson.
They protected the masks against Wilson (they prevented W. from taking them)

(5) prevent ‹s.o› from doing; avoid ‹›.

Syn: hig goy

Am̄ag, kēy n-ēglal tigtig goy nētm̄ey den ige lōqōvēn kēy tiple ētan.
Years ago we knew how to avoid babies for women, to prevent them from getting pregnant.

Ne-nem ni-ōlōl matyak no tō ti-tig goy na-pgal en !
When mosquitoes wake me up with their buzzing, they avoid war! [prevent someone from killing me in my sleep]
tig hiy  [tiɣ hij] ~ tig (taq)lun̄  intransitive verb. stop, standing, while walking, come to a halt.

hiy [1] ‘(2)’

Kōyō van me wa tig hiy sey hōw.
They suddenly stopped walking, standing side by side.
tig lō  [tiɣ lʊ] intransitive verb.

(1) be standing half in, half out (e.g. a door).

Syn: tig den̄hel

Na-mtēgtap mi-tig lō.
The door is lopsided [standing twisted].

(2) go out standing, appear suddenly (from somewhere).

Kē so ni-tot van wa Iqet ni-tig lō.
He was about to trim (the tree) when suddenly Iqet appeared (out of his hiding place)

Nok tig lō tō van, so na-hap law tō hay gōh?
Let's get nearer [lit. let's appear suddenly], to understand what this light is all about.

(3) turn into a particular direction.

Ni-leh ne-len̄, tō ne-len̄ en tig lō me hōw lo-Togle en.
And so he changed the wind, getting it to blow north-west.
tig m̄ag   [tiɣ ŋ​͡mʷaɣ] intransitive verb. be the leader of a group, act as a guide.

am̄ag ‘devant, avant’

tig m̄ag   transitive verb. guide, lead; (fig.) be the leader or model of ‹a group›.

Syn: tig helem̄ag

tig na-mtehal  ~ tig na-hal  transitive verb. play the role of messenger (for s.o, no~) ; esp. act as go-between in love matters, transmit love messages (from s.o, no~) to (hiy, mi) one's beloved.

tig [1B]

hal ‘route, message’

tigtig-hal ‘messager’

Nēk so tig na-hal nonmamyō Lydia !
I would like you to pass a (secret) message to Lydia for me. / I would like you to be my go-between for Lydia.
tigtig-day  (ni-tigtig-day) [nitiɣtiɣⁿdaj] noun. waiting, esp. waiting in vain. Action of Vb tig_day "remain standing waiting for s.o".

Ni-tigtig-day may wōl no!
I'm fed up waiting hours for nothing!
tigtig-hal  [tiɣtiɣhal] sb. messenger, courier; esp. go-between: trustworthy person one chooses to pass secret messages on to a loved-one, such as the next rendez-vous.

tig [1B]

hal ‘route ; message’

tig na-mtehal

tigyeg  [tiɣjɛɣ] transitive verb. serve ‹people, guests› during a collective meal, either by passing dishes, or distributing bowls of kava.

Nēk so tigyeg kemem.
It's your turn to serve us (kava).
til1   [til] intransitive verb.

til1   (ni-tiltil) noun. <Mus> way to find one's bearings.

(1) how to find one's way in space, esp. directional system, cardinal points, compass; how to use space directionals in language, as an individual or as a group.

(2) direction taken by the voice while singing, hence melody.

Et tiy ēleg te gōh, n-ēleg gal ēwē. Ba ni-tiltil nan haytēyēh qele ni-tiy ēleg.
It's not really the coda, it's just an internal coda. But it is true that the melody is the same as for the real coda.

[ Mota tulsink’. ]

til2   [til] transitive verb.

[ Mota tul ; tila. ]

til3   [til] transitive verb. From: deal . shuffle ‹cards›, when playing or gambling.

til4   [til] transitive verb. wind up a fishing line....

[ Mota til. ]

til5   (ni-til) [nitil] noun. <Pois> Garfish, sharp teeth oblong fish. Hemirhamphidae.

[ Mota til(i). ]

til6   (ni-til) [nitil] noun.

[ Mota tul. ]

t[i]li~  (ni-tli~) [nitli] -. egg

[ Mota toli-u. PNCV *ʔatolu. POc *qatoluʀ. ]

t[i]lig  (na-tlig) [natliɣ] noun. <Mer> chiton, edible mollusks that adhere to rocks, collected at low tide. Chiton spp.

[ Mota taligira. ]

ti-mi-gēn  ~ te-mē-gēn  adj. traditional, native of the island |{endash} opp. modern, western (non ige qagqag 'whites').

nē-sēm timigēn
traditional money, shell money (opp. western money nē-sēm non ige qagqag)

ne-qet timigēn
local taro, |sc{Colocasia esculenta} (opp. Fiji taro, ne-qet ti-Viti)
tin1   [tin] transitive verb. <Ethn> show, reveal; esp. indicate to s.o (e.g. one's children) the land one owns.

Nok tin van nē-vētan hiy nēk.
I designate this piece of land to you.
tinignig  (ni-tinignig) [nitiniɣniɣ] noun. little nest.


[ Mota nigto build a nest’. ]

tin̄  [tiŋ] transitive verb. make, create ‹object›; esp. create ‹the world+›,.


Ige Japan kēy mi-tin̄ tō na-trak anen.
The Japanese made this car.

Iqet mi-tin̄ a na-pnō del me Bankis kē.
Iqet created all these islands here in the Banks.

[ Mota tin̄make, create’. ]

tiok  [tiɔk] transitive verb. accompany s.o to the beach who is going off in a canoe, to say goodbye; by_ext. see ‹s.o› off at the airport.

Ant: tasgoyok ‘accueillir’

Ba iyē ti-tiok magaysēn qiyig nēk hag le-tno plēn ?
Who has the sad job of seeing you off at the airport later on?
tiqyo  [tik​͡pʷjɔ] ~ tiqoyo  asp. free variant for qoyo, marker of temporal focus.


Nēk tiqyo yon̄teg te mu n-eh gōh ēnōk?
This is the first time you've heard this song?
t[i]sis  (na-tsis) [natsis] noun. <Ornith> Silver-eared Honeyeater, small bird, 16 cm. Lichmera incana.

[ Mota tasis. ]

tit  [tit] transitive verb.

(1) hit with the fist, beat ‹s.o›.

vēy-titit ‘se bagarrer’

Kēy tit kē nen e, tit sisgoy kē n̄a antan.
He was punched so hard that he fell to the ground.

(2) hunt (birds+), pick (fruit), prob. by hitting a tree.

No-qon ni-yow hag hōw wa kēy tit.
Each time a dove settled, they hit it (?) to catch it.

titit men
go bird hunting

titit n̄ey
pick almonds
tit mem  transitive verb.

mem [B]

Tog vanvan, kē tiple tit mem nēk!
tita   [tita] sb. mother.

(1) Mum: term of address.

Tita! Van tō me!
Mum! take a look at this!

(2) mother: term of reference.

higher register: ivē~

tita mino
my mother

Tita ni-tamtam ni-sis van hiy tētē.
The mother is breast feeding her baby.
tita   transitive verb. call ‹s.o› his/her mother, consider ‹s.o› to be one's own mother.

Nok tita kē.
I consider her to be my mother.
titamas  [titamas] sb.
titeg  [titɛɣ] intransitive verb. trip up, knock into.
titi  (ni-titi) [nititi] noun. refrain, chorus.

tititol  [tititɔl] intransitive verb. burst out laughing, double up with laughter.

[ Mota titioleto laugh uproariously’. ]

t[i]vig  [tiβiɣ] transitive verb.

(1) bury, commit to the earth ‹a dead person, plant›.

Tin̄ielo e ma-mat, ba no me-tvig kē hōw gēn.
Tingielo is dead, and I buried him here.

Nēk tivig hōw nen, ba nēk etgoy galsi n-age nan kē te-mtow.
You put (the plant) into the earth, and if you take good care of it, you'll see it grow.

(2) keep ‹› secret.

dēm veteg ‘oublier’

Na-kaka namuntēl, tivig ēwē, tō ni-bah.
We'll bury out discussion, keep it to yourself.

[ Mota tavig. ]

tiwag   [tiwaɣ] num. one. Non prefixed form for vitwag (Cf. vĒ-), combined with the terms vag 'times' and son̄wul 'about ten'..

son̄wul tiwag nanm̄e vitwag
[one ten plus one] eleven


m̄eldēl vag-tiwag vēpnegi vētēl
one hundred and three
tiwag   adv. together

(1) (do together.

Kōyō qulqul tiwag.
The two of them are good friends.

Ige mayanag kēy hag tiwag.
The chiefs are in a meeting (are sitting together)

(2) if the subject is singular, tiwag announces an accompanying clause marked by the preposition mi ‘with’.

Nēk to-hohole boyboy tiwag vēh mi namas nōnōm.
You have the right to joke (together) with your sister-in-law
tiwag mē  loc. with that, with : anaphora on inanimate object (cf. ).
tiwag mi  -. with. Instrumental prepos. [+object] or esp. accompanying [+hum].

tiwag [B]

mi ‘avec (Instrument)’

tiy1   [tij] intransitive verb. drip, drain.


tiy1   transitive verb.

Nēk tiy ēwē hōw le-n̄ye.
Pour a drop into your mouth.
tiy2   [tij] pf.

(1) tru, authentic, prototypical; perfect.

Kē et-tamat te, kē ni-tiy et.
He wasn't a ghost, he was a true human being.

No ne-myōs so nok gen a nō-mōmō, a ni-tiy mōmō.
I'd love to eat some fish, real fish!

Na-pnō a qeso ni-tiy vōnō Toglag en, kēy ōl a so Lepnō Liwo en.
The heart of the village of Toglag (the original centre, the oldest part)

No tit-vasem lō vēh te van tiy dēmdēm nan.
I'm not allowed to reveal the true sense to you.

ni-tiy dēmdēm ne gatgat to-M̄otlap
the basics of the mwotlap language (the grammar)

(2) special, specific.

Syn: am̄e

ni-tiy ēm̄ ba-ga
a special house for kava

Ni-tiy han aē.
There's a specific term for that.

(3) really, absolutely: intensive value.

Nēk mo-tot ni-siok nōnōm nōk, tiy wē, ay!
Oh yes! You've carved a canoe that's really perfect!

Tiy mōyōs kokoym̄eg mino yeh so nok so tiok nēk hag en!
But it's really my most sincere wish to go there with you!

(4) feel a strong desire to (do V).

Kē yon̄teg van a so kē tiy mitiy ēgēn.
He was overcome by a strong desire to sleep.

Nok tiy et lok se nēk.
I'd really love to see you again.
tiyge  (ni-tiyge) [nitijɣɛ] noun. mast, esp. of a sailing boat (n-ok gamgam).

[ Mota turgae. ]

tiytiy  [tijtij] intransitive verb. drip, fall drop by drop.

Nē-bē ni-tiytiy tēqēl.
The water's dripping.
tiy… yeh  adv.

No ni-tiy tam yeh nēk, Wotlōlan.

Tiy mōyōs kokoym̄eg mino yeh.

Mahē gōh en, tiy isqet yeh hay lē-bē liwo.
tog1   [tɔɣ] intransitive verb. stay, esp. remain somewhere for several days (opp. hag, stay somewhere for a short time; live somewhere.

Kamyō no-togtog le-pnō vitwag.
We live in the same village

Kēy tog van i tog i tog i tog i tog en, na-may ma-qal kēy.
And so they lived for a long, long, long time... until the day famine struck.

Tog tog i van en…
Once upon a time...
tog1   (no-togtog) noun. way of living, lifestyle, customs.

No-togtog nonoy itōk.
I like their way of life.

No-togtog Vila na-maymay.
Life in Vila is difficult.
tog2   [tɔɣ] mod.

Tita nonon tog ēgēglal !
Her mother mustn't know!
tog3   [tɔɣ] mod. conative marker.

(1) modal particle of a conative value: 'try to V', 'do V to see'.

egal ‘essayer’

Dō et tog so iyē qele nen?
Let's see see who it is.

Lep tog me, nok yon̄teg tog!
Hand over (the earphones), so I can listen (to see)!

Lep me n-ēwan, nok gen egal tog!
Give me some fruit, to taste (to see)!

Magtō, nō-wōgit kē me-qlen̄ tō anoy; ba nēk qoy tog so kē ave.
Old soothsayer! The prince disappeared yesterday. Can you try and see in your dreams where he might be?

(2) attenuates the strength of an injunction by presenting it simply as an attempt.

Na-gasel mino me-qlen̄. Dō sok tog!
I've lost my knife. Let's look for it! / How about looking for it? / Do you want us to look for it?

Vap lok si tog?
Would you repeat (please)?

Atmi matyak tog me!
Wake up!

Imam vatag hay. Ōl tog kē!
Hey, my father's over there. Could you call him, please?

Vētleg tog n-et ni-van tog tekel wutwut !
Send someone to go and see the other side of the mountain!
tog4   (no-tog) [nɔtɔɣ] noun. <Bot> a variety of reed, bsl. Waelken. Miscanthus floridulus. ◈ This plant is especially in use as a game during yam-harvesting time (nē-kēt).

[ Mota togoa reed’. PNCV *tok(a,o)arrow shaft’. ]

tog mi na-tqa-n  expr. to be pregnant.


Syn: ētan

Wolqōvēn en mo-tog mi na-tqan: me-psis hōw en, na-tm̄an.
The woman became pregnant, then gave birth to a boy.
tog qōn̄  [tɔɣ k​͡pʷʊŋ] intransitive verb. go for a picnic with family or friends; go to the forest or beach for the day, for fun or to rest.

Syn: hag qōn̄

tog [1A]

na-Tno Tog qōn̄

Dōyō van tog qōn̄ a Qōyē.
We'll go and spend the afternoon at Qôyê.
t[o]gotgo   [tɔɣɔtɣɔ] adj.
t[o]gotgo   (togotgo) ~ totgo  adv.

(1) rapidly, quickly.

Vēl totgo!
Hurry up!


Syn: ēgē

Talōw a le-mtap en, nēk matyak togotgo.
Tomorrow morning you must wake up early.

[ Cf. Mota tagogoiquickly’. ]

togtil  (no-togtil) [nɔtɔɣtil] noun. <Ethn> name of a devil.
togtō  [tɔɣtʊ] loc. :

(1) so, in this case 'if this were the case': introduces the apodosis of counterfactual systems.

So kē ta-vap tō me hōw en, togtō nok so lep !
If he'd asked me earlier, [then in that case] I would have given it to him!

(2) alternatively, otherwise.

Tan̄a so tita mino aē ! Nēk m-ēh lok. Togtō nēk bah.
It's a good thing my mother was there! She saved your life; otherwise you'd have killed yourself.

Nēk me-myin̄ no, togtō no mal mat!
You came to my rescue; otherwise (without that) I would be a dead man!

(3) almost; very nearly (do V).


Togtō no mi-titeg.
I very nearly stumbled, I almost stumbled..

tog + tō.

togyon̄  (no-togyon̄) [nɔtɔɣjɔŋ] intransitive verb. be quiet, be silent.


Atmi togyon̄, atmi togyon̄ tog ! Na-ln̄e eh vanvan me gēn.
Be quiet, please, silence! I can hear a song in the distance.
tokel  (no-tokel) [nɔtɔkɛl] noun. <Pois>


(1) Bluefin trevally, bsl. Blukarong: reef fish, 50 cm. Caranx melampygus.

(2) Caranx lugubris.

(3) Carangoides orthogrammus.

t[o]kol  (na-tkol) [natkɔl] noun. <Ornith> Black-naped Tern, bird, 35 cm. Sterna sumatrana.

[ Mota takolo. ]

tokosm̄eg  [tɔkɔsŋ​͡mʷɛɣ] adv. (drink a liquid: pour, dring+) to excess, exceeding the required dose.

meh ‘trop’

Nēk mi-lin̄ tokosm̄eg na-waēn, tō kē m-ōy luwluwyeg.
You've poured out too much wine, and it's overflowed.

Kēy tog inin tokosm̄eg, den na-ga tiple vēhyu mi kēy.
They mustn't drink too much, because kava might make them ill.

Tog galeg tokosm̄eg.
Don't waste (the perfume).
tol  (no-tol) [nɔtɔl] noun. large phallus.

lwe~ ‘pénis’

[ Mota tole (?)long, tall’. ]

tomag  (no-tomag) [nɔtɔmaɣ] noun. <Bot> wild variety of sweet yam, Dioscorea. Dioscorea esculenta.
tomtak  [tɔmtak] transitive verb.

(1) drop ‹, s.o›, forget.


dēm veteg

Tomtak van!
Forget it! (Don't take heed, it's not important.)

Sowo kē ne-leg, ba tomtak vege kē van.
If she's already married, forget about her.

(2) although....

Tomtak vege van sowo n-ēm̄ gōh nu-su, ba no ne-myōs.
This house is certainly very small, but I like it.
ton̄ton̄  [tɔŋtɔŋ] intsf. Intensifier of sis '‹tide+› rising, swelling': hence to the brim.

Ne-met yow gōh mō-yō ba kē mi-sis ton̄ton̄.
The rising tide has reached its climax.

Nē-sēm mino mi-sis ton̄ton̄.
I've got loads of money.
tot  [tɔt] transitive verb.

(1) chop, hack, slice ‹, esp. plant› with an axe or a knife, giving a sharp blow with the blade.

tot na-lēt
chop wood (for fire)

tot ni-vinhe
cut bamboos

tot na-ptel
pick bananas (cut a bunch with a knife)

tot na-gayga
cut a liana / a rope

Iqet e van nen tō tot na-gvēg. Kē mo-tot mi tot en, tot sisgoy.
And then Iqet went off to chop down a Syzygium trunk. After relentless blows from the axe (tot), it finally fell (tot sisgoy).

No ne-myōs so kōmyō van tot me no-yomtig, nok vet no-boyboy.
I want you to fetch [lit. cut] coconut leaves for me, so that I can weave a basket.

Ige mo-tot mat kē.
[people chopped-killed him] He was killed with a machete.

(2) carve wood to make ‹an object›; sculpt ‹statue (na-tmat, no-totgal)+›.

teh ‘tailler’

tot n-ih
make a bow

tot ni-siok
carve a canoe

tot nē-qētēnge b-ēm̄
cut beams for a house

tot na-tmat
sculpt a ritual statue

No mal dēmdēm so nok so tot na-han ēvēp.
I was wondering what spirit (n-ēvēp) I wa going to sculpt.

[ POc *toto(k)hack off’. ]

tot gal  [tɔt ɣal] transitive verb. cut in half (gal 'lie'), cut into an object with the blade of a knife, without cutting it altogether; by_ext. sculpt.


tot lat  [tɔt lat] transitive verb. cut widthwise, cut ‹› in two using a sharp instrument.

Iqet mo-tot, mo-tot i tot en, tot lat.
Iqet hacked and hacked with his axe, until he chopped the tree in two.

Kēy mal totot lat na-mya bē liwo tō kēy qan̄yis ēgēn.
They cut the giant eel in slices, then cook it in the oven.
tot woy  [tɔt wɔj] transitive verb. cut lengthwise, split ‹› in two using a sharp instrument.

Iqet ni-yop na-baybay nonon e ni-tot woy ni-siok.
Iqet brandished his axe, and smashed the canoe.
tot yak  [tɔt jak] transitive verb. <Techn>



Na-lke, na-gasel t-am̄ag, a kēy mo-tot yak den ne-vet.
tot yuw  [tɔt juw] transitive verb.

Kē ni-tot yuw nē-tētēnge vitwag, kē ni-tot ni-siok aē.
totgal   [tɔtɣal] transitive verb.


Syn: teh


yap ‘écrire, dessiner’


Kē so ni-tototgal ēntēl.
totgal   (no-totgal) noun.


no-totgal vet

Yolqōvēn mino Wako ma-yap qēt tō no-totgal nan.


No me-lep bel ēwē no-totgal nan.


No me-lep ēwē kē qe so no-totgal nōnōm a nēk galeg tō na-mwumwu me lelo vōnō mino agōh.
tot-matap  adj. very early in the morning.

Kēy gengen tot-matap.
They eat their breakfast very early in the morning (before leaving).
toto  [tɔtɔ] préd.

Syn: tapu

totogyeg   [tɔtɔɣjɛɣ] sb.

-negi ‘suffixe ordinal’

totogyeg et a kē ma-vaysig hag lō-wōl

qētēg hiy no-totogyeg kē ni-van hiy bahnegi


Totogyeg mino ēagōh.
totogyeg   loc.

Totogyeg, nēk so van vēhge imam nonon.
totot  (no-totot) noun. carving, sculpture: name of the action tot.


No-totot tamat nan me-qlen̄ tō, ba kēy may totot lok se ēgēn.
The art of sculpture [statues of spirits, tamat] had been lost, but has been revived.
t[o]wol   [tɔwɔl] adj.

(1) wide


Ant: mununuy

t[o]wol   (na-twol) noun. width
t[o]wotwos  (na-twotwos) [natwɔtwɔs] noun. <Ornith> Polynesian Triller, bird, 16 cm. Lalage maculosa.

t[o]woyig   [tɔwɔjiɣ] adj.

higher register: tagasēp

Ne-twoyig ēwē me hiy no.
t[o]woyig   (towoyig) adv.

nē-vētvētleg yobem towoyig

Kimi ige togtog la-taon en, kimi na-n̄ayn̄ay towoyig!

No-sot gōh kē ne-mhamhay towoyig.

Ige m̄alm̄al me gōh kēy n-akmēhteg towoyig.

[ Mota togawora (?)easy’. ]

towtow  (no-towtow) [nɔtɔwtɔw] noun. <Techn>



toy  (no-toy) [nɔtɔj] noun. <Bot> Decaspermum neo-ebudicum.

toyak  (no-toyak) [nɔtɔjak] noun. <Bot> Ervatamia orientalis.
t[o]yo  (na-tyo) [natjɔ] noun. <Ornith> White-throated Pigeon, Metallic Wood Pigeon, bsl. nataroa. Columba vitiensis.

[ Mota taroa. ]

1   [] conj.

(1) then


Tō kē ni-tay ēgēn. Tō kē ni-se n-eh.

Disko wow leptō, tō nok m̄ōl, tō mitiy.


Toy goy nen en, tō kē ni-in lō na-ga.

Nō-mōmō so ni-wot en, tō nēk yap kal.


Imam mino mal vasem nēk me a lo-totgal, tō nok et vēglal nowmat nēk.

Nēk so mi-yim kē, ub:tō nēk ak metewot kē, tō ni-tiy het yeh.

Egoy imam, kē tiple et nēk ub:tō kē ni-boel.


Lep tog na-gayga tō nēk lēg van aē.

Nok so woswos galsi ne-yep en, tō kē ni-maymay.


ub:Tō nok vēhge nēk en.
2   [] asp.
2   (… tō) asp.



hag tō nōk en

yōs tō kē

en tō gōskē

tog tō qiyig agōh


Nēk van tōh ! Nok qoyo van atgiy.

Dōyō so kaka, ba… nēk van tō Alkon!


tog [3] ‘Conatif’

Kē ni-van tō me!

Hey Wotlōlan ! Kal lō tō me!

[ Mota ti. ]

3   (°na-tō) [natʊ] noun. mountain

[ Mota tauwe. PNCV *tavuamountain, hill’. ]

4   (°na-tō) [natʊ] noun.

[ Mota tauwe. PNCV *tavuiconch shell’. POc *tapuʀitriton shell’. ]

tōap  (nō-tōap) [nʊtʊap] noun. <Ornith> Rufous-brown Pheasant-Dove, 31 cm. Macropygia mackinlayi.

Syn: keykeybeye

tōh  [tʊh] mod.

Nēk gen tōh na-mayap gōh!

Nēk mitiy tōh! Bah en, dō van.
t[ō]qō  [tʊk​͡pʷʊ] transitive verb. <Ethn>

ak goy

No mal tōqō mahē gōh kē, n-et tit kal bat vēh te ; ba so iyē ma-van me gōh ?

[ Cf<°tabʷú-a. Mota  teq . PNCV, POc tapuaa thing or place made taboo; a mark or sign set up’.  *tabusacred, forbidden’. ]

tōqōn̄  [tʊk​͡pʷʊŋ] loc.

qōn̄ ‘jour’

Tōqōn̄ a kamyō dēn̄ me Alkon en.

Tōqōn̄ a nēk so m̄ōl lok me den Vila en, nēk vasem lō me.

Nok dēm lok tōqōn̄ anen a dō ma-van tō hōw en.
t[ō]qōtqōs  [tʊk​͡pʷʊtk​͡pʷʊs] intransitive verb. <Anat>
t[ō]qōyon̄  (na-tqōyon̄) [natk​͡pʷʊjɔŋ] noun. <Pois> Sc. cancellatus.

tōti~   (nō-tōti~) [nʊtʊti] -. <Poét>

(1) stamba

qēg ‘tronc (de bois)’


Syn: qētēqtēg

Ant: ulsi~ ‘cime, fin’

tōti qēthiyi~

No te-se vēh, ba na-lēk mō-qōn̄ nō-tōti eh.

nō-tōti bōk



Ige bē-vēnan kēy me-pgapgal bō-tōti lōwlō.

Nō-tōtēn iyē ? – Nō-tōtēn ige mayanag !
tōti~   (tōtēn) adv.

No me-lep tōtēn veg be-mwumwu me Vanuatu en.

Kē m-in tōtēn tō Lōlō!

[ Mota totiua stump’. ]

tōti qēthiyi~  -.

tōti~ [A]

Syn: qēt-hiyi~

Na-tweh tēnge gōh, nō-tōti qēthēyēn me-mlat.
tōtō  [tʊtʊ] préd.

tōw  (nō-tōw) [nʊtʊw] noun. <Bot> sugarcane. Saccharum officinarum.

Syn: suk

[ POc *topu. ]

tōy  [tʊj] transitive verb.

hintōy ‘balai’

Kē ni-lep ni-hintōy, ni-tōytōy na-pyēyag, na-yo bak – ni-vēl sey van vētmahē vitwag.

Na-qyan̄ nen en kēy nō-tōy velqōn̄: na-wawah a na-wawah.

Kē ni-tōy bah en!
t[ō]yōp  (na-tyōp) [natjʊp] noun. <Bot> “Island cabbage” (Malvaceae). Abelmoschus manihot.
t[u]kuk  [tukuk] transitive verb.


Tō kē me-tkuk maymay ne-men en.
t[u]qul  [tuk​͡pʷul] transitive verb.

lam̄ ‘bastonner’

tuqutqul qeyet
tusu  [tusu] adv.

su [1] ‘petit’

su [2] ‘Diminutif’

Nok in bah tusu.

Amyō su m̄ōkheg tusu.

Tusu ēwē.
tutu  (nu-tutu) [nututu] noun. <Ornith> fowl, hen; chicken.

nō-bōlbōltē tutu

hewhew nu-tutu
tuw  [tuw] transitive verb.
tuw bōt  intransitive verb. <Ethn> custom linked to childbirth: the paternal aunt (titamas) wears as a necklace (oy) her nephew's umbilical cord until he offers her meat (nē-phog, ni-mit) many years later. This present is meant to "release the umbilical cord" (tuw_bōt), i.e. thank the aunt for her solicitude since the child's birth..


t[u]wuh  [tuwuh] transitive verb.

Tuwuh n-ih namun, tō at tēqēl hōw lē-vētan tō kay ēgēn.

tuwuh na-maskēt
tuytuy  [tujtuj] adj.

Ant: m̄ey

no-qo tuytuy
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