Menyan Diet

In studying the Menyan language I’ve learned to recognize co-opted words. It’s not hard. When the Menyans wish to add a new noun to their vocabulary, they typically add “-əgə” (pronounced like UGA’s bulldog mascot) to the end of a word. Thus a shovel (or spade) is “spadəgə.” A cell phone is “fonəgə.” This comes in…

Sliced Bread

This week I’m alone in our house in Menya which gives me lots of time to work–which makes me hungry–and lots of time to think–which makes me contemplative. Perfect conditions for the following revelation…

Mountain Power

We are out at our base (Sobega) in town (Goroka) this week for our annual regional conference. More on that later. The break gives me some time to catch up on a story from a couple of weeks ago about this guy: Wes and I were walking with Reuben who, you may remember, escorted us…

Wati’s Garden

This is Wati, one of my favorite Menyans–certainly my favorite seven-fingered Menyan. I’ve been meeting with him twice a week to learn language. He’s patient and he doesn’t call me stupid. He satisfies all my language-tutor-criteria. Last week we walked about half an hour to one of his gardens where he’s been staying with his family…

Sorcery and Death

Today as Wes and I walked back from the market we passed this group of ladies sitting outside some houses. They called out to us–really to Wes because they know him much better–and explained that the child of the lady in orange had died last night. The body was inside one of the houses. While…

A Challenge

As I walked down a path today, I stopped when a couple of ladies asked me a question. I sat down to see what language nuggets I could pick up from them. The lady pictured above talked to me as if I was fluent in Menyan. She did so–before smoking–with a mouth full of spit…

Mount W

This is Mount W from our porch: This is our porch from the W: Today I hiked the mountain with Wes and his boys along with Reuben, our guide. The peak is about 3000 feet above us which isn’t so bad. The slope is so bad. At times it was more like crawling up a ladder…