A dictionary of Teanu (Vanikoro, Solomon Islands)
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teanu dictionary
Index l
~la aele
~la aele
~la i-avo
~la ~lui
~la ~mini
~la ngatene
~la ~teli
~la ~teli
labiou tae
~laiaini piene
lava abilo
lava abilo
~le iune
~le moli
~le ne revo
li-kila idi
loro ie añawo
loro ie añawo
loubo antebe
loubo kilo
lovia vono
~lu bete
~lu bete
~lui nuduro
lukilo vekai
l-  [l(i·)] -.
l'  [l'] -.
~la  [(i·)la] voi. take ‹one thing› (vs. ~loko, ‘take several things’).

(1) take ‹› with o.'s hands, grab, carry.



Nganae pe kape le-la tae.
They didn't need to carry anything.

(2) (esp) ⦗often first verb in serialisation⦘ take ‹› in order to use it or move it. Serves to introduce a new participant in a situation, often an instrument or a theme, even when no actual ‘grabbing’ event is referred to..

Abu u-la kangele teuko u-kamai!
[take a fishhook & bring it] Please bring a fish-hook!

Li-la ruene li-tabo li-bono.
[they ‘take’ the door and shut it] They shut the door again.

U-la teili u-bi ñ' eo.
[take a fan and fan yourself] Fan yourself with a fan!

Ai' iape kape i-la men' iape i-koioi ne Toplau.
The father would introduce his son into the Men's House [lit. would ‘take’ his son and introduce him].

(3) ⦗switch-subject serialisation⦘ forms causative constructions with motion or posture verbs.

li-la i-avo
[they take it hangs] they hang

li-la i-abu
[they take it goes down] they put down

li-la i-koie
[they take it enters] they put in

Vilo pe i-bu, ni-la enga ene i-wene ñei.
I left my name on a dead tree. [lit. I ‘took’ my names it was left there]

Nobwogo miko i-la i-wai moe ne.
Last night [an earthquake ‘took’ & shook this house] this house was shaken by an earthquake.

(4) give ‹›. Usually followed by ~mini* to introduce the recipient.


U-la i-ka kiane!
[take it it comes quickly] Give it to me, quick!

Program kula idi li-la moli.
Some softwares are free [lit. people take/give them unconstrained].

Taluaito i-la ero ie menu apilaka.
The doctor gave medicine to the little child [lit. he took/gave the child's water].

(5) (fig) take ‹ abstract›, keep.

Ni-la piene ono.
I'm recording [taking] your language.

(6) ⟨s.o.⟩  understand ‹s.o.,›.

Ka ni-la awa eo.
[I took your mind] I understand what you mean.

Ai-la ene?
[did you take me?] Did you get my point?

(7) ⟨action⟩  require, take ‹amount of time›.

I-la wik iune!
It takes a whole week!

Li-bo kuo votobo pe i-la moro tete we teva.
Making a canoe can take up to 3 or 4 days.

(8) do, make. Combines with certain objects, to form semantically non-compositional phrases.

[ (?) POc *alap. ]

~la aele  -. lit. “take legs” : take a number of steps.


I-la aele wa-tuo.
He took six steps.
~la aele  -. lit. “take legs” : take a number of steps.


I-la aele wa-tuo.
He took six steps.
~la i-avo  -. lit. “take it hangs” : hang, hook ‹›. Morph.. The sequence ~la i-avo is sometimes contracted into a single verb ~laiavo* ‘hang, hook+’.

Le-la i-avo korone nara i-sabu.
We must hook (the bait) firmly for fear it might fall off.
~la ~lui  -. lit. “take carry-away” : take ‹› away.



~la ~mini  -. lit. “take give” : give ‹› to s.o..


~la ~mini

~la ngatene  -. lit. “take things” : work, do some work.


~la ngatene

~la ~teli  -. lit. “take put-down” : put ‹› down.


~la ~teli

~la ~teli  -. lit. “take & put” : put ‹› down. The combination ~la ~teli is often contracted as ~lateli*.


labaro  [laᵐbaro] -.
labiou   [laᵐbiou] phr. lasting a long time, long. Etym.. Prob. from ~la ‘take’ + biouro ‘long’.

Labiou metae.
It won't take long.
labiou   adv.

(1) (do) for a long time, for long.

I-vet' piene labiou.
He talked for ages.

(2) ⦗perfective context⦘ (have done) a long time ago.

Aeve ka i-vene labiou awoiu.
The sun had long risen in the sky.
labiou tae  -. lit. “it was not long” : just a moment later. Links events in a narrative.

Li-koie ne moe, ka labiou tae, dapa ka tabo li-ke li-ka.
They went inside, and just a moment later, again they came out.
labu  [laᵐbu] -.
lai  [lai] -.
~laiaini   [(i·)lajaini] intransitive verb. change clothes, get changed.
~laiaini   voi.

(1) change ‹›, modify.

engaiote ‘different’

(2) translate.

(3) answer, reply.

Ni-le ne ngogoro n-i, ia ni-lengi ngele i-laiaini tae.
As I was walking in the forest, I called out, but I heard nobody reply.

(4) ⦗non-sg subject⦘ exchange ‹›, trade, swap.

Kia la-laiaini tapepa.
We're swapping presents.

Da la-laiaini piene.
They exchange information.
~laiaini piene  -. ⦗non-sg subject⦘ lit. “exchange words” : trade insults, argue.

~laiaini [B]



laioi  [lajoi] -.
laiui  [lajui] -.
lakule  [lakule] -.
lale  [lale] -.
~lanasu  [(i·)lanasu] transitive verb. bewitch, kill ‹s.o.› using sorcery.

taluaito ‘sorcerer’

Noma li-lanasu idi ne ngatene engaenga: ebele nga namolo iaidi, viabasa idi, kula none aidi, viñe buioe aidi.
In the olden days, killing someone could be done using a variety of objects, such as, their clothes, their hair, the food they left, the nut they chewed…
langasuo  [laŋasuo] -.
langatene  [laŋatene] -.
langiro  [laŋiro] -.
laro  [laro] -.
lateli  [lateli] -.
lava  [lava] -.
lava abilo  -. lit. “sides of a snake” : name of a large liana whose shape is reminiscent of a large snake.



lava abilo  [lava aᵐbilo] noun. <Bot> lit. “snake sides” : k.o. liana (unidentified), ‘Great bean vine’.

lavalu  [lavalu] -.
lavatunu  [lavatunu] -.
laviakome  [laviakome] noun. <Bot> lit. “handle of axe” : k.o. seashore tree, whose hard wood is used to carve artifacts, e.g. for axe handles. Scaevola taccada.

laviko  [laviko] -.
le  [le] -.
~le  [(i·)le] intransitive verb.

(1) go somewhere.

(10) lit. “go to s.o.” : believe (s.o., ne). Synt.. This construction consists of the verb ~le ‘go’ + the locative preposition ne or locative adverb ene.

Dapa li-le ne ene tae.
[They didn't go to me] They didn't believe me.

Ene ni-lengi ñe taña ene, ka ebele piene, ene ni-le ene.
I heard it with my own ears. It's the truth, I believe it.

[ (?) POc *lako. ]

~le iune  [(i·)le iune] intransitive verb.

(1) ⦗serialised; always 3sg⦘ lit. “go one” : (do) in the same way, (do) the same.

Damala li-kila i-le iune.
Westerners call it the same.

(2) (do) together.

Kape le-vongo i-le iune.
We shall eat together.
~le moli  -. ⦗serialised after a verb⦘ lit. “go aimlessly” : be random; go with no specific rules; hence not matter, etc..

moli [B]


~le ne revo  -. (euph) lit. “go to the sea” : go relieve o.s. in the sea. Just like in other islands of the area, Vanikoro people use the sea as their toilets.


lea  [lea] -.
lebie  [leᵐbie] -.
lebwogo  [leᵐbʷoᵑgo] noun. <Fish>

(1) Black Sweetlips. Plectorhinchus gibbosus.

(2) Harlequin Sweetlips. Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides.

ledi  [leⁿdi] -.
~ledi  [(i·)leⁿdi] intransitive verb. ⦗Subject = mata ‘eyes’⦘ be hungry.

Mata ene i-ledi.
[my eyes are hungry] I am hungry!
lege  [leᵑge] -.
leibo  [leiᵐbo] noun. <Fish> Topsail Drummer. Kyphosus cinerascens.

leka  [leka] noun, kinship. <Kin> 1s: lek' one ⦗symmetrical term⦘ cousin, cross-cousin, whether male or female (MBC, FZC). Anth. Any sort of contact between cross-cousins of opposite sex, whether eye- or body-contact, is strictly prohibited. If it ever occurs, then the two individuals must marry. As a consequence, cross-cousins – who can be potentially spouses – avoid each other strictly.

leka emele
female cousin

U-le pon etapu! Ña leka kape i-rom' eo!
Don't go there! Your cousin might see you!

Leka, kape u-labu ebele ini metae.
With your (opp.-sex) cross-cousin, you are not allowed any body contact.
lekele  [lekele] -.
leku  [leku] -.
lema  [lema] -.
~lemoli  [(i·)lemoli] ~ ~le moli  intransitive verb. contraction of ~le moli* ‘go randomly’.

(1) (literal) wander around aimlessly.


Ni-le moli ne kulumoe.
I just wandered around in the village.

(2) (fig) be random, unruly; follow no particular rules.

(3) ⦗as predicate⦘ not matter.

Kape le-kae? – I-lemoli!
How will we procede? – It doesn't matter.

(4) unimportant; common, ordinary.

Moe iaidi i-lemoli.
This is just a house for ordinary people.
lengi  [leŋi] -.
lepu  [lepu] -.
leve  [leve] noun. <Bot> Polynesian Arrowroot, a starchy plant. Tacca leontopetaloides.

levene  [levene] -.
leñe  [leɲe] noun. <Bot> k.o. tree, unidentified.

li  [li] -.
li-kila idi  -. ⦗indefinite subject and object⦘ ⟨group of people⟩  lit. “someone joins someone” : celebrate a wedding. Phraseol.. This periphrase makes for the absence of a noun ‘wedding’.

tomwona pe li-kila idi
a special pudding for wedding [lit. for when s.o. marries s.o.]

Idi na dapa li-tau jebute peini po li-kila idi.
People have cooked taros for the wedding.
~loko  [(i·)loko] transitive verb.

(1) ⦗typic. first verb in serialisation⦘ take ‹several objects›, esp. before displacing them somewhere.


Le-loko ajekele le-iui ne revo.
They collect the rubbish and throw it into the sea.

(2) take ‹people› somewhere, lead.

Kape pe-loko dapa gete enone, da meliko viñevi, pe-lui ne moe re.
We'll take my boys and my girls, and lead them to that house over there.

Ka li-loko dapa li-koioi.
They led them inside.

Toñaki iote ka i-tabo i-ka! Kape i-loko idi!
⟨Blackbirding⟩ Here comes another ship again! They're going to kidnap people!

(3) (gen) introduces a plural object, animate or not, before a verb of motion or displacement.

Li-loko none i-le ne lema awene.
We put food into the stone oven.

Dapa li-loko mana vilo i-vio ne viabasa dapa.
People put flowers in their hair.
lokoie  [lokoie] -.
lokoudo  [lokouⁿdo] noun. <Bot> croton, a plant with coloured leaves (Euphorbiaceae). Codiaeum variegatum.

longe  [loŋe] -.
longo  [loŋo] noun. <Bot> Lesser yam. Dioscorea esculenta.

uo ‘Greater yam’

Uo moloe na, samame none ka longo.
Here is some Red yam, together with Potato yam and Lesser yam.
loro   [loro] noun. vomit.
loro   (~loro) intransitive verb. vomit, puke.

Basavono po mwaliko malaria i-vagasi, basa i-meli, mwaliko i-loro, panavono i-ke.
When someone has malaria, their head aches, they vomit, they sweat…
loro ie añawo  -. lit. “whale vomit” : amber.


loro ie añawo  -. lit. “whale vomit” : amber.
lotoko  [lotoko] noun. <Fish> Thumbprint Emperor. Lethrinus harak.

loubaido  [louᵐbaiⁿdo] -.
loubo  [louᵐbo] noun. <Zool> crab.

ba loubo
crab's claw

utedie loubo
[backside of crab] crab's shell

ma loubo
crab's hole

Loubo iote i-ke vidiviko ne ale ene.
I had one of my toes bitten by a crab!
loubo antebe  -. lit. “mud crab” : k.o. crab.


loubo kilo  [louᵐbo kilo] noun. <Sea> lit. “blind crab” : crayfish, crawfish, spiny lobster. Palinuridae spp.

konge ‘prawn’

louboaido  [louᵐboaiⁿdo] ~ loubaido  noun. <Zool> coconut crab. Birgus latro.

buia loubaido
[testicles of c.c.] **greasy appendix** of a coconut crab

Li-labu louboaido
hunt for coconut crabs
~lovei  [(i·)lovei] intransitive verb. ⦗non-sing subject⦘ fall one after the other.

~sabu ‘fall once’

Luro i-(lo)lovei i-abu.
The coconuts keep falling.
lovia  [lovia] -.
lovia vono  [lovia fono] noun. lit. “section of the universe” : any one of different worlds or realms. The word marama, borrowed from Mota, is sometimes used with the same meaning.

lovia vono tete
[three parts of the world] the three different worlds

Basavono po li-bu, kape le-tomoe mina Lovia Vono na, le-le ne Lovia Vono iote.
When we die, we leave this World, and migrate to the Other World.
lu  [lu] -.
~lu1   [(i·)lu] transitive verb. scrape ‹tuber› or grate ‹coconut flesh›, with a bivalve shell (aero2) or grater.

I-tau jebute awoiu ponu, i-lu.
Once the taro was done, he scraped (its skin).
~lu2   [(i·)lu] voi. fold ‹›, esp. in order to put it away.

Syn: ~bu [3]

Kape le-lu bete.
They are ready to fold their mats.
~lu bete  -. lit. “put away mats” : hold a funeral ceremony at the house of a dead person.

bete [A]


~lu bete  -. lit. “fold mats” : a funeral ritual taking place in the house of a recently dead person.

~lu [2]

~lubi   [(i·)luᵐbi] intransitive verb. ⟨wind+⟩  turn, turn around; change direction.

Ngiro ka i-lubi.
The wind has turned.
~lubi   transitive verb. ⟨wind+⟩  spin ‹›, make ‹› whirl around.

Vilisao i-lubi kuo ka i-apini idi.
The tornado spun the ship and killed everybody.
~lui  [(i·)lui] ~ ~luoi  transitive verb. causative of ~le ‘go’: make ‹s.o.,› go somewhere, hence take away, carry.

Ant: ~kamai ‘bring’

(1) take ‹› somewhere, carry.

Ni-bu bete ene me ne-lui.
I've rolled my mat to take it away.

Ini i-le i-la voko, i-lui i-la i-teli ne temaka iote.
He [went to] grab the stone, took it away and put it down elsewhere.

Toñaki iadapa i-ka i-ka i-sava webwe i-lui.
Their ships used to come here to buy troca shells and take them away.

Uña udo pe i-ako, li-lui i-avo ne tone.
The ripe bananas had been [taken] put to hang from the hook.

li-lui nuduro
carry the scareline, go fishing with the scareline (see nuduro)

(2) take ‹s.o.› somewhere or away.

Kupa pi-lui ini teve taluaito.
We took him to the doctor.

Vana uña toñaki i-ka i-loko dapa ne kulumoe na, dapa li-lui li-langatene ne Iura.
Ships used to come to this island to collect people, and then take them away to make them work somewhere in the south.

Ngiro i-aka i-lui dapa.
The wind blew and took them away.
~lui nuduro  -. <Techn> lit. “carry the scareline” : a fishing technique whereby a group of men surround the reef at low tide, holding a long ‘scareline’ (nuduro), and catch the fish kept prisoner within the line.

Mobo kape le-lui nuduro me l-abu namuko.
Tomorrow we'll carry the scareline to get some fish.
lukilo  [lukilo] noun. <Bot> a formative in various words referring to leaves.

uie ‘leaf’

lukilo vekai
heliconia leaf

medicinal leaves

[lit. like-leaf] yellow
lukilo vekai  [lukilo fekai] noun. <Bot> heliconia leaf. Heliconia indica. ◈ Etym.. Takes its name from the habit of using this leaf to wrap vekai pudding.

lupo  [lupo] -.
luro  [luro] -.
lusa  [lusa] -.
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