A dictionary of Teanu (Vanikoro, Solomon Islands)
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teanu dictionary
Index k
kangele teuko
kanikawo teiene
kasule aulo
kasule ijene
kasule lava abilo
kasule loubaido
kasule loubo
kasule moloe
kasule vorobiliko
kasule wa-biouro
kasule wa-wabulubu
kasule we menuko
kava ele
kava moloe
kava tebene
kidisa revo
kie tebene
kie tepapa
~kila emele
kiñe tamate
kiñe vabasa
~ko pine
kulaña metele
k'  [k'] -.
ka1   [ka] coord. andet.

(1) and. Coordinator between noun phrases.

(2) and. Coordinator between clauses.

ka2   [ka] aspect.

(1) ⦗+Realis predicate⦘ marker of Perfect aspect. Perf.

(2) ⦗+Irrealis V⦘ .

~ka3   [(i·)ka] intransitive verb. come, towards speaker or deictic centre. venir.

(1) come.

U-ka ko!
Come here!

(2) come from (somewhere).

Pi-ka vele?
Where are you coming from?
~ka4   [(i·)ka] intransitive verb. (rare) ⦗V2 in serial construction; foll. by demonstrative⦘ (do) like (this). comme.

~kae ‘do how’

U-wai ebele u-ka pon etapu!
Don't shake your body like that!
~kae  [(i·)kae] phr. question verb enquiring on a situation, or the manner of an action. faire_comment.

(1) ⦗dynamic reading⦘ do how?. Morph.. Probably from ~ka4 ‘do like’ + ae ‘what’.

Kape le-kae?!
How were they supposed to proceed?!

(2) ⦗static reading⦘ be how?.

Syn: ~ve [1]

I-kae eo?
How are you?

(3) ⦗V2 in serialisation, with subject agreement⦘ how?.

Syn: kavele

Syn: ngapwae ‘how’

A-ka a-kae? – Ni-katau anoko ni-ka.
How did you come? – I just followed the road.

Kape le-te le-kae?
How could they have remained there?
kai  [kai] -.
kaiawo  [kaiawo] noun. smoke. fumée.

iawo ‘fire’

Pon kaiawo tae, ova revo.
That's not smoke, that's steam.

Ei! Kaiawo pon! I-ke re, ne kulumoe re!
Hey, look at the smoke! It's coming from over there, from that village over there!
kailape  [kailape] -.
kaipa  [kaipa] -.
~kamai  [(i·)kamai] transitive verb. bring ‹, s.o.› here, towards deictic centre. apporter. Synt.. Often the object is expressed in preceding clause, and not repeated after kamai.

Ant: ~lui ‘take away’

mwaliko po i-kamai tamate pon
the man who brought the Tamate masks [to this island]

Kupa pi-kamai monone apilaka ne pe-ko me pe-kamai i-wene tev' eo.
We have brought here this small box, with the idea to leave it with you.

[ Pileni ka mai. ]

kangele  [kaŋele] -.
kangele teuko  noun.
kanikawo  [kanikawo] ~ kankawo  noun. <Fish> (gen) grouper. mérou. Epinephelinae spp.

kanikawo teiene  -. <Fish> Yellow-edged Lyretail. Variola louti.

kanimoro  [kanimoro] -.
~kanu   [(i·)kanu] transitive verb. chew ‹›, esp. areca nut. mâcher.


Li-nge to, li-kanu buioe me puluko.
They would suck on sugarcane, and also chew areca nuts with betel leaves.
~kanu   intransitive verb. ⦗absol.⦘ chew areca nut.

Li-anu ero pana ka li-kanu, ka li-moloe ne kat.
We drink tea, we chew areca nuts, and we play cards.

[ Tik. kamu. ]

kape  [kape] -.
kara  [kara] noun, obligatorily possessed. <Bot> ⟨tree⟩  root. racine.

kara kava
kava root

kara boke
banyan root

Tepapa, li-toe kara nebe.
To make a stomping board, you cut a root of rosewood tree.

[ POc *wakaR. ]

~karau  [(i·)karau] intransitive verb.

(1) ⟨plant+⟩  grow. croître.

~ta [3]

Kape jebute i-karau na metae, pe ero tae.
Taro can't grow here, because there's no water.

(2) ⦗often foll. by ~vene ‘up’⦘ ⟨child⟩  grow up, become older.

Syn: pine

Ini i-karau Vonovono.
She grew up in the Reef Islands.

(3) ⟨s.o.⟩  grow stout, put on weight.


Na oie ini ka wako, na ka i-karau wako.
She's of a healthy size now, she has nicely put on weight.
~karem  [(i·)karem] transitive verb. ⟨s.o.,⟩  have, have got. Although this verb is criticised as a loanword, it is frequently heard in informal speech. The equivalent in the vernacular would involve an existential predicate, usually with ~wene.

Ebele kuo i-karem demene.
Genuine canoes have an outrigger.

[ Pjn garem. Eng got. ]

kasule  [kasule] noun. <Bot> generic name for a number of creepers and vines.

Kasule, li-ovei pe l-ejau ñe idi pe li-tavie.
⟨medicine leaves⟩ Some vines are useful for sick people.

[ See  ule. ]

kasule aulo  -. lit. “hermit-crab's vine” : k.o. creeper.


kasule ijene  -. k.o. creeper.


kasule lava abilo  -. lit. “snake vine” : k.o. liana, ‘Great bean vine’.


Syn: lava abilo

kasule loubaido  -. lit. “coconut-crab's vine” : k.o. creeper.


kasule loubo  -. lit. “crab's vine” : k.o. creeper.


kasule moloe  -. lit. “red vine” : k.o. creeper.


kasule vorobiliko  -. k.o. creeper.


kasule wa-biouro  -. lit. “long-fruit vine” : calabash. Crescentia cujete. ◈ Not a native tree of Vanikoro.


Syn: kasule wa-wabulubu

kasule wa-wabulubu  -. lit. “round-fruit vine” : calabash.


Syn: kasule wa-biouro

kasule we menuko  -. lit. “vine (food) for birds” : k.o. creeper.


kata  [kata] -.
katabo  [kataᵐbo] -.
katae  [katae] -.
katau  [katau] -.
~katau  [(i·)katau] phr. followsuivre.

(1) join ‹s.o.› in motion or in action; follow.

Syn: ~kila [2]

Ba-ko ba-katau ene le-le ne toloto?
Do you guys want to join me to the lake?

(2) (fig) follow, come after ‹s.o.›.

tili' one pe i-katau ene viri
[my brother who follows me behind] my next brother (in age)

(3) follow ‹›.

Kape le-tabo le-katau na kiapa ponu.
Let's retrace our own steps again.

(4) ⦗often serialised⦘ follow ‹path, road+›; (move, walk+) along ‹place›.

U-katau anoko u-vene u-le amjaka.
Just follow the road a little further up.

I-kotu i-katau ero ponu i-ven' i-le.
He ran along the river, all the way up.

Li-elele kuo i-katau revo.
They dragged the boat [following the sea] along the coast.

Tano ponu, li-ae mijaka me kava i-pu i-katau.
This kava bowl has been hollowed out a little, to allow kava to flow along.

(5) ⦗+location⦘ (do systematically, from ‹place› to ‹place›; (do) in every ‹place›.

Uña toñaki van li-ka, li-ka li-dai temaka i-katau uña basakulumoe.
Ships used to come and explore the area, going from one island to the other [lit. following islands].

I-e idi, i-e idi, i-katau kulumoe ra ra ra ra ra ra – kulumoe moli.
(the Ogre) ate people, dozens of people, going from one village to another [lit. following villages], on and on and on, until all the villages were empty.

La-tabe mata ka la-lui la-do i-katau ngogoro.
They collected tree shoots, and began to plant them everywhere in the forest [lit. following the forest].

(6) (fig) follow intellectually ‹a changing referent›; refer to, adapt to, (do according to.

Noma li-katau ñe metele.
⟨calendar⟩ In the old days, people would just refer themselves to [lit. follow] the moon.

(7) ⦗often serialised⦘ adapt o.'s actions+ to ‹s.o.,›; hence (do) along, according to ‹›.

Le-woi okoro awoiu le-(w)oburo i-katau.
We pound bamboos (giving the rhythm), and then we sing along.

(8) be sufficient in quantity; enough for ‹s.o.,›.

Li-bi vongoro we teliki iote, teliki iote, i-katau dapa awoiu.
They collected almonds for each chief, one after the other, enough for [lit. following] them all.

(9) be suitable for, suit ‹s.o.,›.

Buro pon i-katau abo ne ene!
⟨hum⟩ This song suits my blood! (=I love it!)

Emele pon i-katau awa ene!
⟨hum⟩ This girl sure suits my desire! (=I dig her!)
kate  [kate] -.
katei  [katei] -.
kava  [kava] noun. <Bot>

(1) kava plant. Piper methysticum.

kara kava
a kava root

(2) a narcotic drink made after this plant, and consumed by men on important occasions. The consumption of kava is claimed to be customary on Vanikoro. However, the fact that this is a Polynesian loanword suggests this practise was introduced in relatively times. Still today it is only drunk on rare occasions; the traditional daily drug of Vanikoro is really the areca nut (buioe).

Dapenuo li-le ne toplau, li-anu kava. Li-anu kava awoiu, ka li-vongo viri.
Men would go in the men's clubhouse, and drink kava. Once they had drunk kava, they would eat.

Daviñevi wopine li-ovei pe li-anu kava.
Old women are allowed to drink kava.

Tano ponu, li-ae mijaka me kava i-pu i-katau.
This kava bowl (tano*) has been hollowed out a little, to allow kava to flow along.

[ Polynesian kava. ]

kava ele  -. <Bot> a wild variety of kava, not suitable for drinking. Macropiper latifolium.


kava moloe  -. lit. “red kava” : a reddish variety of kava, now fallen into disuse.


kava tebene  -. lit. “yellow kava” : a yellowish variety of kava, now fallen into disuse.


kavale  [kavale] -.
kavele  [kavele] -.
kawi  [kawi] -.
kaworo  [kaworo] noun. <Fish> White-spotted Spinefoot. Siganus canaliculatus.

ke  [ke] -.
~ke1   [(i·)ke] transitive verb. ⟨man, animal⟩  bite. mordre.

Nara bwoe i-ke eo!
Make sure sharks don't bite you.

muko pe i-ke idi
[fly that bites people] mosquito

[ (?) POc *kaRat. ]

~ke2   [(i·)ke] intransitive verb.

(1) go outside, go out; come out (of, mina). sortir.

U-ke u-ka na!
Come here!

(2) ⦗geocentric coordinates⦘ go from inland towards the sea; go downhill; (at sea) move away from the island, towards the ocean.

teta-ke ‘seawards’

(3) (fig) come out, come to light, appear.

Ije pwoi i-ke i-dadai.
The pig tusk has come out and spun around.
keba  [keᵐba] -.
kela  [kela] -.
kengele  [keŋele] noun. <Fish> Sammara squirrelfish. Neoniphon sammara.

kengetone  [keŋetone] noun. <Fish>

(1) Sabre Squirrelfish. Sargocentron spiniferum.

(2) Pink Squirrelfish. Sargocentron tieroides.

kevei  [kevei] -.
kia  [kia] -.
kiane  [kiane] -.
kiapa  [kiapa] -.
kidi  [kiⁿdi] -.
kidisa revo  [kiⁿdisa revo] noun. <Sea> salt.

revo ‘sea’

kie1   [kie] noun. <Bot> k.o. pandanus, the leaves of which are commonly used for weaving. pandanus. Pandanus tectorius.

Syn: woubo


Li-vei uie kie.
They're weaving pandanus leaves.

[ POc *kiRe. ]

kie2   [kie] noun, obligatorily possessed.

(1) hole of ‹› dug in the ground. trou.

moboe ‘hole’

Li-ae kie tepapa i-dadai awoiu ponu, li-iu tepapa ene.
They dug holes for the dancing boards all around (the village area), and then they buried the boards in them.

(2) (esp) grave of ‹s.o.›, sepulture.

Nga mwaliko i-bu, le-iu ebele ini i-wene ne kie ini.
When somebody dies, their body is buried in a grave.

kie Laperus
the sepulture of Lapérouse
kie tebene  -. lit. “yellowed pandanus” : variety of pandanus leaves with leaves of a pale yellow colour.

kie [1]

kie tepapa  -. lit. “hole of board” : hole buried in the ground, used as a resonator underneath the stomping board during the ngapiene dances.



kijin  [kiᶮɟin] -.
kila  [kila] -.
~kila1   [(i·)kila] transitive verb.

(1) call out to ‹s.o.›. appeler.

Abu u-kila in' i-koie!
Call him in!

Li-si teveliko ne kulumoe, me le-kila idi le-ka le-mako.
Someone in the village is blowing the conch, calling out to people to come and dance.

(2) invoke ‹deity›, with a prayer or curse.

Li-la viko li-lateli, li-ka li-kila tadoe pon li-ko “Visipure! U-abu ne adawo!”
Once they had put the sacred money down, they began to invoke their gods: “Fisipure! Come down from your clouds!”

(3) call, get ‹s.o.› on the phone or the teleradio. Vanikoro has no phone. Communication between villages, or with other islands, is done by teleradio.

Abu ne-kila Puma!
⟨teleradio⟩ I'll try and get (the people of) Puma.

(4) ⦗followed by ~ko2call ‹, s.o.› with such and such a name.

Dapa li-kila li-ko “Beme” pe ini beme.
They call him “Baldhead” because he's bald.

Li-kila temaka pon li-ko “Moe ma Tadoe”.
This place is called “Devils' Lair”.
~kila2   [(i·)kila] phr.

(1) follow, join ‹s.o.,› in motion or action. suivre.

~katau ‘follow’

A-ko u-ka u-kila keba?
Would you like to join us?

(2) marry ‹s.o.›.

Ni-kila emele pe Tetevo.
I married a woman from Utupua.

basavono pe da-tilu kape la-kila da
[lit. when two people follow each other] when there is a wedding

Nga u-romo leka, kape u-kila.
Should you have any eye contact with your cross-cousin, you will have to marry her.
~kila emele  -. lit. “join a woman” : wed, marry; be married.

Dapa po li-kila emele, dapa wopine.
Those who are married, the adults.
~kilase  [(i·)kilase] ~ ~kilasi ~ ~klas(e,i)  transitive verb.

(1) address, talk to ‹s.o.›, esp. with a formal or solemn tone; invoke.


Li-puie li-kilasi tadoe adapa me i-somoli toñaki ie Laperusi.
So they addressed solemnly their god, begging him to destroy the ships of Lapérouse.

(2) inform ‹s.o.› (about, ñe), esp. in some length; explain, tell.

Syn: ~viñi

Ini i-kilasi mwalik' iape, ñe ngaten' na po i-rom' pon.
She told her husband about all she had seen.

Dapa iono le-ka, kape u-kilase dapa ñei.
When your family comes, you'll explain it all to them.
kilasi  [kilasi] -.
kilo  [kilo] -.
kisin  [kisin] -.
kiñe  [kiɲe] noun. long, thin appendage hanging from ‹› in high number.

kiñe abo
blades of grass

kiñe luro
leaflets of the coconut palm

kiñe otovo
long and thin leaves on the eaves of a sago thatch

kiñe udo
young and small bananas on a banana bunch

kiñe tebo
long rain drops during a shower

[long tentacles] octopus
kiñe tamate  -. the long, many fibres made of leaves, which hang down from a tamate ritual mask, by way of the Spirit's hair.


kiñe vabasa  ~ kiñe viabasa  -. hair, considered in its length rather than its volume.


kiñe viabasa
one hair

La-katei kiñe vabasa da.
They're pulling each other's hair!
kiñe-biouro  [kiɲe·ᵐbiouro] noun. <Fish> lit. “long-tentacles” : octopus. poulpe. Octopus spp.

motomoro ie kiñe-biouro
sucker of an octopus
kiñekiñe  [kiɲekiɲe] adjective. ⟨leaf, plant⟩  pinnate. Reduplication of kiñe.

bamele kiñekiñe
pinnate philodendron
ko1   [ko] adv. Clause-final particle.

(1) first, as a first action.

Mou me ne-iumu ne-le n-ioi teuko ko.
Let me first go angling.

(2) ⦗with imperative⦘ (do) for a second: forms a polite order; hence please.


U-ka ko!
Come here a second!

(3) ⦗deictic use⦘ exclamatory particle pointing to the immediate context, typic. to the addressee's speech or action.

A-tomoli ko!
That's just a liar!

Na bwara eo ko!
I'm sure that's you!

In' na nga barava tadoe ko!
Isn't he absolutely incredible?!
~ko2   [(i·)ko] transitive verb.

(1) say ‹›, declare. Introduces direct reported speech. dire.

Na, piene adapa Teanu a-ko ae?
[this, the language of Teanu, you say what?] How do you say this in Teanu?

(2) .

(3) ⦗often foll. by bwarathink.

(4) ⦗foll. by Irrealis clause⦘ want to.

(5) ⦗serialised after a verb of speech or thought⦘ that: equivalent of a complementiser.

~ko3   [(i·)ko] intransitive verb. be open. ouvert.
~ko3   transitive verb. open ‹›.

Ka li-ko ruene, ka li-tabo li-bono.
They open the door, and then shut it again.
~ko4   [(i·)ko] transitive verb. wait for ‹s.o.,›. attendre.

Syn: rema

Le-ko Bakap i-ka.
Let's wait for Bakap (to come back).

Mamote i-wene i-ko kia.
He's still (lying) waiting for us.

Kape u-ko ene mijaka nga ba-vete piene awoiu.
Just wait a little for me, until I've talked to him.
~ko pine  -. ⟨mouth, eyes, legs+⟩  lit. “open big” : be wide open. Origin of ~kopine ‘deep’.

kobe  [koᵐbe] noun. <Bot> k.o. tree with hard wood; unidentified.
~koene  [(i·)koene] transitive verb. put on, wear ‹clothes, hat+›. porter.

I-koene namolo 'none.
She's wearing my clothes.

mwaliko pe ka i-koene Tamate ponu
the man who's wearing the Tamate mask
koie  [koje] -.
~koioi  [(i·)kojoi] transitive verb. causative of ~koie ‘enter’: cause ‹s.o.,› to go in, introduce.

(1) cause ‹› to go in, hence insert, put in, pack.

U-koioi etapu!
Don't put it in!

(2) cause ‹s.o.› to go in, hence bring in, lead ‹s.o.› in.

Ai' iape kape i-la men' iape i-koioi ne Toplau.
The father would introduce his son into the Men's House.

(3) ⦗geocentric coordinates⦘ cause ‹› to go inland: take ‹› from the sea towards the shore, or from the shore towards the village.

Dapa kula li-katei noma nuduro tilu ponu, li-koioi tetakoie, i-le i-vene ne moko taniboro.
Some people pull the two ends of the scareline towards the shore, to a dry zone.

(4) ⦗id.⦘ cause ‹s.o.› to go inland, esp. welcome ‹travellers› on the beach and lead them inland.


Ka li-loko dapa li-koioi. Li-koioi li-su buluko ka li-koie li-vagasi ta-koie.
(The islanders) welcomed them inland. They lit torchlights and led them in, until they reached (the village) inland.
koiui  [kojui] -.
koko  [koko] -.
kokoro  [kokoro] -.
kome  [kome] -.
konge  [koŋe] noun. <Zool> prawn, shrimp. crevette.

Kape la-re tetaki me la-labu neido konge ne ero.
We will set a trap to catch small shrimps in the river.
kopa  [kopa] -.
~kopine  [(i·)kopine] intransitive verb. deep. profond. Etym.. From ~ko pine ‘wide open’
kopu  [kopu] -.
kopuria  [kopuria] -.
koro  [koro] adjective.

(1) white.


ovene koro
white heron

Vilisao tilu: iote bworo, iote koro.
Suddenly there were two tornados: one was dark, one was white.

(2) ⟨s.o.⟩  person of white skin, European.

Syn: damala

emele koro
a White woman
korone  [korone] -.
kotu  [kotu] -.
kovi  [kovi] -.
kukubo  [kukuᵐbo] -.
kula2   [kula] noun, obligatorily possessed. half of ‹›. demi.


Ni-nabe jokoro lea iune ka kula.
I measured the bamboo to be one fathom and a half.
kulaña  [kulaɲa] ~ kula  noun. half of ‹›. demi.

Ni-nabe jokoro lea iune ka kula.
I measured the bamboo to be one fathom and a half.
kulaña metele  -. lit. “half moon” : semi-circle.


Tepapa, li-toe kara nebe li-bo nga kulaña metele.
To make a stomping board, you cut a root of rosewood tree, and carve it in the shape of a semi-circle.
kuledi  [kuleⁿdi] -.
kulevelu  [kulevelu] noun. <Ornith> fowl, poultry, chicken. poule.

kulevelu mwalikote
[male fowl] rooster

via kulevelu
chicken feather

Kulevelu ka i-ve waluluo tete.
The fowl has laid three eggs.

anes kulevelu
chicken meat
kuli  [kuli] -.
kulumoe  [kulumoe] noun. inhabited place. Etym.. Perhaps from kula ‘several’ + moe ‘house’.

temaka ‘place’

(1) (gen) hamlet, village.

Da-tilu pe Teanu. Kulumoe iada Aneve.
They were from Teanu island; their village was Aneve.

(2) (rare) area, zone within an island, not necessarily inhabited.

vono ‘district’

kulumoe peini sekele
an area for garden

(3) island as a whole.

Syn: basa kulumoe

(4) country.

Ini i-te Franis, ia ebele kulumoe iape Japan.
She lives in France, but she is actually from [lit. her genuine country is] Japan.

(5) (rare) the world.

ne tevie kulumoe
the other side of the world
kuo  [kuo] -.
kupa  [kupa] -.
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