143 posts tagged Linguistics
Wanktok (Tok Pisin): a word in the Papua New Guinea Tok Pisin creole that refers to people who speak the same language as you do and have some form of claim on you.
This word usually refers only to a people within families, villages, clans and slightly larger areas due to the generally small size of Papua New Guinea and its clans. Wanktok expresses the idea that people who share a common language are, in a way, indebted to each other, that they might as well be related by blood and are thusly expected to watch after and take care of their fellow Tok Pisin speakers. The linguistic isolation of Papua New Guineans is what allowed for such a word to come into being; imagine if every English speaker submitted some sort of claim on every other English speaker. Or if every Chinese speaker laid claim on other Chinese speakers. SO MUCH CLAIM.
But is that such a bad thing?
That would mean somebody would have given my sad, pathetic soul a ride last month when I was trudging down a hellishly hot backroad, locked out of my car, looking as tragic as possible, staring forlornly at the half consumed donut in my hand (most regrettable donut trip ever). Someone would have had to take responsibility for me. I would have delighted them with stories and cooked them a fabulous dinner, recognizing my own role to play in wanktok.
I submit that we should start practicing wanktok; the world would be a whole lot more friendly (and with less incidents of donut-runs-gone-bad) if we did.