The tiny Micronesian island where men have their own language

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The tiny Micronesian island where men have their own language

Post by >THE Ben Reilly< on Sun Jul 07, 2013 5:13 pm



In 1837, the British cutter Lambton sailed from Sydney to Ngatik (now Sapwuahfik, above), a tiny island in Micronesia. On orders from Captain Charles "Bloody" Hart, who hoped to take control of the valuable supply of tortoise shells there, the crew massacred all the men on the island. They left behind some European and Ponapean crew members, installing an Irishman named Paddy Gorman as a "chief," and the sailors claimed the widowed island women as their wives.

Today, the islanders speak a dialect of the Ponapean language of the region. But there is another language spoken on the island, called Ngatikese Men's Language or Ngatikese Pidgin, that is spoken only by men. It was described by the late well-known linguist of Austronesian languages, Darrell Tryon. The women and children on the island can understand it, but it is primarily used among men engaged in male domain activities like fishing and boat-building.

http://theweek.com/article/index/246295/the-tiny-island-where-men-have-their-own-language

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>THE Ben Reilly<
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