review A Death in the Rainforest How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea 103

A Death in the Rainforest How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

characters A Death in the Rainforest How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

Is also an illuminating look at the impact of white society on the farthest reaches of the globe and the story of why this anthropologist realized finally that he had to give up his study of this language and this village An engaging deeply perceptive and brilliant interrogation of what it means to study a culture  A Death in the Rainforest takes readers into a world that endures in the face of massive changes one that is on the verge of disappearing forever Fascinating and very approachable story of Kulick's anthropological studies of a remote village in Papua New Guinea The first half focuses on his work to document their uniue and probably soon to be extinct language The second half focuses on recounting stories that are culturally significant funny or tell us interesting practical aspects of his stays in the village Kulick is very grounded He doesn't aim for inspiration or to call out a tragedy Yet his writing is solid and the book is compulsively readable I read it all at once; I could not put it down I was surprised that a word for something as striking and lovely as a rainbow could somehow slip away from village memory Old villagers' suabbles over the rainbow helped me to see how their inability to agree on proper Tayap was a feature of village life that was contributing to the language's demise  In Gapun nothing is communal nothing is eually owned and shared by everyone Everything—every area of land every sago palm every coconut palm every mango tree every pot plate ax machete discarded spear shaft broken kerosene lamp and every anything else one can think of—is owned by someone This includes people's names and the right to bestow them as well as knowledge of myths songs and curing chants  In their own view villagers don't share a language Instead each speaker owns his or her own version of the language The older those speakers become the they regard their version as the proper one and everyone else's as a lie And so speakers are predisposed to not regard the loss of Tayap as particularly traumatic Sadly though she and those other women are the last generation of Tayap speakers who will have the competence to be able to tell their husbands Stuff your sago into the opening of your friend's prick and get a thread and sew it up so he can carry it down to his village in his balls After them all that will be left is shitty ass and hole When I lived in Gapun I had spent a great deal of time explaining to the villagers that not all white people in the world know one another They assumed they did No I would say the countries are a lot bigger than Gapun and the surrounding villages There are a lot of white people and we can't all know one another It's impossible Bill Foley was the first white person who came into Gapun since I had left fourteen years previously The first uestion the villagers asked him was whether he knew me Sure I do he answered cheerfully As far as I was ever able to tell from the way villagers talk about the world they all—and I really do mean all of them including the ones who have been to school and who have seen maps and maybe even globes—imagine the world to be arranged in a kind of mystic arc starting from under the ground of Papua New Guinea the last country progressively curving upwards towards Belgium which borders on Heaven and ending in Rome the country where the Pope lives with Jesus and his mother Mary and her husband God The attack by rascals that left Kawri dead resulted in me abandoning my research in Papua New Guinea and not returning for almost fifteen years The rumors that I would be robbed of everything I had at the end of my second long term stay in 2009 led me to enlist a helicopter to pluck me out of the village like a raisin from a bun The villagers' caregiving practices gave me pause at first the blithe handing over of butcher knives to grasping babies; the continual ordering to fetch this do that; the violent threats Over time though I came to see that the style of caregiving practiced by Gapun mothers resulted in exceptionally capable and competent young children The only people in the village I have ever observed beating a child—that is holding the child by an arm and hitting him or her repeatedly with a straw broom a stick or in one particularly egregious case a bicycle chain that the child's father had acuired somewhere—were all men like Rafael who strongly identified as good Catholics and who also spent a few years attending the primary school that used to exist in the neighboring village of Wongan In my darkest moments I sometimes think that the only practical knowledge that Christianity and Western education has given the villagers of Gapun is proficiency in how to beat their children Parasite realized finally that he had to give up his study of this language and this village An engaging deeply perceptive and brilliant interrogation of what it means to study a culture  A Death in the Rainforest takes readers into a world that endures in the face of massive changes one that is on the verge of disappearing forever Fascinating and very approachable story of Kulick's anthropological studies of a Fifteen Weekends (The Weekends Series, remote village in Papua New Guinea The first half focuses on his work to document their uniue and probably soon to be extinct language The second half focuses on Tears from Iron recounting stories that are culturally significant funny or tell us interesting practical aspects of his stays in the village Kulick is very grounded He doesn't aim for inspiration or to call out a tragedy Yet his writing is solid and the book is compulsively Heimat readable I Crooked Cucumber read it all at once; I could not put it down I was surprised that a word for something as striking and lovely as a Waiting in the Wings rainbow could somehow slip away from village memory Old villagers' suabbles over the A Life On Film rainbow helped me to see how their inability to agree on proper Tayap was a feature of village life that was contributing to the language's demise  In Gapun nothing is communal nothing is eually owned and shared by everyone Everything—every area of land every sago palm every coconut palm every mango tree every pot plate ax machete discarded spear shaft broken kerosene lamp and every anything else one can think of—is owned by someone This includes people's names and the To Vegas and Back right to bestow them as well as knowledge of myths songs and curing chants  In their own view villagers don't share a language Instead each speaker owns his or her own version of the language The older those speakers become the they How to Read Foucaults Discipline and Punish regard their version as the proper one and everyone else's as a lie And so speakers are predisposed to not Catch a Falling Star regard the loss of Tayap as particularly traumatic Sadly though she and those other women are the last generation of Tayap speakers who will have the competence to be able to tell their husbands Stuff your sago into the opening of your friend's prick and get a thread and sew it up so he can carry it down to his village in his balls After them all that will be left is shitty ass and hole When I lived in Gapun I had spent a great deal of time explaining to the villagers that not all white people in the world know one another They assumed they did No I would say the countries are a lot bigger than Gapun and the surrounding villages There are a lot of white people and we can't all know one another It's impossible Bill Foley was the first white person who came into Gapun since I had left fourteen years previously The first uestion the villagers asked him was whether he knew me Sure I do he answered cheerfully As far as I was ever able to tell from the way villagers talk about the world they all—and I நெடுங்குருதி [Nedum Kuruthi] really do mean all of them including the ones who have been to school and who have seen maps and maybe even globes—imagine the world to be arranged in a kind of mystic arc starting from under the ground of Papua New Guinea the last country progressively curving upwards towards Belgium which borders on Heaven and ending in Rome the country where the Pope lives with Jesus and his mother Mary and her husband God The attack by Lets Put on a Show! (Full House: Sisters, rascals that left Kawri dead The Rockabye Contract (Joe Gall resulted in me abandoning my Human Rights Tectonics research in Papua New Guinea and not Blue Angel Confessions returning for almost fifteen years The The Lean Marketplace: a Practical Guide to Building a Successful Online Marketplace Business rumors that I would be زندانی قلعه قهقهه robbed of everything I had at the end of my second long term stay in 2009 led me to enlist a helicopter to pluck me out of the village like a Neue Lebensansichten eines Katers. Juninachmittag raisin from a bun The villagers' caregiving practices gave me pause at first the blithe handing over of butcher knives to grasping babies; the continual ordering to fetch this do that; the violent threats Over time though I came to see that the style of caregiving practiced by Gapun mothers Duet for My Lady resulted in exceptionally capable and competent young children The only people in the village I have ever observed beating a child—that is holding the child by an arm and hitting him or her Master Dogens Shobogenzo (Book 4) repeatedly with a straw broom a stick or in one particularly egregious case a bicycle chain that the child's father had acuired somewhere—were all men like Rafael who strongly identified as good Catholics and who also spent a few years attending the primary school that used to exist in the neighboring village of Wongan In my darkest moments I sometimes think that the only practical knowledge that Christianity and Western education has given the villagers of Gapun is proficiency in how to beat their children

free read ✓ eBook or Kindle ePUB ´ Don Kulick

As a young anthropologist Don Kulick went to the tiny village of Gapun in New Guinea to document the death of the native language Tayap He arrived knowing that you can’t study a language without understanding the daily lives of the people who speak it how they talk to their children how they argue how they gossip how they joke Over the course of thirty years he returned again and again to document Tayap before it disappeared entirely and he found himself in Don Kulick an anthropologist and professor first traveled to Gapun New Guinea in 1986 Gapun is a very small village that is located in the tropical rainforest aka the jungle Mr Kulick's primary purpose for visiting Gapun was to study the dying native language of Tayap What he found was that that Tayap was being replaced by Tok Pisin a semi pigeon dialect picked up by the men of Gapun who had traveled outside of their village to work with English speaking white men Parents were speaking Tok Pisin to their children children were speaking it to each other and Tayap was spoken only by a few eldersKulick returned to Gapun many times and for long periods over the decades He did a study of the Gapun people's culture child raising practices belief system and overall way of being What he found was that the traditional way of life was dying out What supplanted all those traditional ways of being in and knowing the world were the new ways of life that had been introduced to Papua New Guinea by white colonialists Christianity growing crops like coffee or cocoa beans for sale the desire to acuire all the goods that the villagers saw or imagined white people had and broadly the desire to change into something other than what the villagers were By the 1980's Tok Pisin was firmly entrenched in Gapun as the language of the church of modernitySince Mr Kulick lived with the villagers in some sense this book can be considered an ethnography Mr Kulick an American who now lives in Sweden observed many interesting aspects of New Guinea For one it has languages than any other country in the world and in an area the size of California there are almost one thousand separate languages most of them still undocumentedMr Kulick explored the insidious rise of Tok Pisin and how the indigenous language died without anyone really wanting it to Tok Pisin whose name literally means 'Talk Pidgin' or 'Bird Talk' has a very short history arising in the 1800's as a plantation language It is a combination of the multiple languages of thousands of men brought together by plantation owners who had no common language As the decades passed this invented language setMr Kulick's dedication and respect for the people and community he studied is obvious While at first he is an oddity to the villagers and they look at him as a ghost he wins them over mostly via gifts and then through continuity and participation in their lives Anyone interested in culture and sociolinguistics will appreciate this bookThank you Algonuin for my review copy Vacaciones Fatales 2/ Fatal Vacations 2 returned again and again to document Tayap before it disappeared entirely and he found himself in Don Kulick an anthropologist and professor first traveled to Gapun New Guinea in 1986 Gapun is a very small village that is located in the tropical Living the Eternal Way rainforest aka the jungle Mr Kulick's primary purpose for visiting Gapun was to study the dying native language of Tayap What he found was that that Tayap was being Tamara de Lempicka replaced by Tok Pisin a semi pigeon dialect picked up by the men of Gapun who had traveled outside of their village to work with English speaking white men Parents were speaking Tok Pisin to their children children were speaking it to each other and Tayap was spoken only by a few eldersKulick Amazon.com: Solaris Internals: Solaris 10 and OpenSolaris Kernel Architecture eBook: Richard McDougall, Jim Mauro: Kindle Store returned to Gapun many times and for long periods over the decades He did a study of the Gapun people's culture child Solaris Internals raising practices belief system and overall way of being What he found was that the traditional way of life was dying out What supplanted all those traditional ways of being in and knowing the world were the new ways of life that had been introduced to Papua New Guinea by white colonialists Christianity growing crops like coffee or cocoa beans for sale the desire to acuire all the goods that the villagers saw or imagined white people had and broadly the desire to change into something other than what the villagers were By the 1980's Tok Pisin was firmly entrenched in Gapun as the language of the church of modernitySince Mr Kulick lived with the villagers in some sense this book can be considered an ethnography Mr Kulick an American who now lives in Sweden observed many interesting aspects of New Guinea For one it has languages than any other country in the world and in an area the size of California there are almost one thousand separate languages most of them still undocumentedMr Kulick explored the insidious The Story of Before rise of Tok Pisin and how the indigenous language died without anyone Tempting Treasures really wanting it to Tok Pisin whose name literally means 'Talk Pidgin' or 'Bird Talk' has a very short history arising in the 1800's as a plantation language It is a combination of the multiple languages of thousands of men brought together by plantation owners who had no common language As the decades passed this invented language setMr Kulick's dedication and Mikrocontrollertechnik Mit Avr respect for the people and community he studied is obvious While at first he is an oddity to the villagers and they look at him as a ghost he wins them over mostly via gifts and then through continuity and participation in their lives Anyone interested in culture and sociolinguistics will appreciate this bookThank you Algonuin for my Geschichte Der Hexenprozesse review copy

Don Kulick ´ 3 download

Exorably drawn into their world and implicated in their destiny Kulick wanted to tell the story of Gapuners one that went beyond the particulars and uses of their language that took full stock of their vanishing culture This book takes us inside the village as he came to know it revealing what it is like to live in a difficult to get to village of two hundred people carved out like a cleft in the middle of a tropical rainforest But  A Death in the Rainforest  While the sections on linguistics mercifully brief are not really of interest to me I appreciated Kulick's open and candid discussions of his multiple stays in Gapun I've never studied anthropology but his brief essay on the legacy of Margaret Mead was also fascinating A very good read even for the complete lay person like me Adolfo Kaminsky revealing what it is like to live in a difficult to get to village of two hundred people carved out like a cleft in the middle of a tropical rainforest But  A Death in the Rainforest  While the sections on linguistics mercifully brief are not Aik Thi Sara / ایک تھی سارہ really of interest to me I appreciated Kulick's open and candid discussions of his multiple stays in Gapun I've never studied anthropology but his brief essay on the legacy of Margaret Mead was also fascinating A very good 23 Weihnachts-Tiergeschichten read even for the complete lay person like me


10 thoughts on “A Death in the Rainforest How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea

  1. says:

    As a young man anthropologist Don Kulick traveled to a small very remote village in Papau New Guinea He went to find the reason that their main language Tayap was dying Why it wasn't being used nor taught by the elders in the village He would return several times over the years some trips would last year'sHe grew to like and respect many of those in this village they even built a house for him Of course these villagers had few things were rather poor and had some strange beliefs When he first came to the village they thought he was a reincarnated passed on member of their tribeI enjoyed learning about this culture the way they lived celebrated their past history and their new beliefs which heralded from the few white men who had previously visited The writing is clear concise and there is humor and sadness as there always is in lives lived The way they raise their children and that I found fascinating We learn everything about these people and there culture The effects of colonization and their hopes for the future They have what to me is a strange system but for them it has worked for a very long time It is a hard way of life in a hard climate and few live to what we consider an old age It also taught me one thing that I wont soon forget In many cultures such as this it is an insult not to eat what is prepared for one I though they say never say never don't think I would have been able to eat what was presented to Kulick In fact some of the humor was on this subject as he tries to get rid of food he can't eat in a way that won't offend So if I ever travel to a foreign country I am going to find out their food choices before my trip He does find out why their language is dying and so much An interesting and enjoyable readARC from Netgalley


  2. says:

    This was a book that I found most fascinating well written and informative It should be of interest not only to linguists and anthropologists but to any reader wanting to discover a different way of life and culture in a remote corner of the world On a personal note I travelled for weeks in the Indonesian controlled part of New Guinea with a small group led by an anthropologist who took us to some seldom visited tribes including ones who could only be reached by small boats or hiking through the jungle At that time the area was called Irian Jaya now renamed Papua More recently I travelled through Papua New Guinea on my own This part of the island of New Guinea had been governed by Australia but is now independent Having read everything I could find about this part of the world I was excited when it was offered by NetGalley but disappointed when my reuest was rejected The author Don Kulick is a linguist who visited the small settlement set in the mangrove swamps near the Sepik River He lived with its inhabitants in intervals from 1985 until 2014 usually for periods of a month or longer The purpose of his study was to find out how a language dies and the cause and implications There are approximately 1000 different languages spoken in New Guinea The people of Gapun had been speaking Tayap a distinct expressive and sophisticated language seemingly unrelated to any other This was being replaced by Tok PisinTalk Pidgin or sometimes referred to as Pidgin English This is now the official language of the country The author discusses how the demise of a language has been caused by outside influences such as missionaries plantation owners overseas businesses exploiting the resources of the rain forests etcto the detriment of culture and folk stores and beliefs Don Kulick realized he needed to embed himself in village life to learn Tayap in order to discover why it was becoming obsolete He found it was intricate and expressive than the language replacing it He spent endless hours learning Tayap from the elders who still spoke it or remembered some of its words and phrases The author found he was accepted into their way of life and rituals To his dismay he learned that he was believed to be a dead villager who visited the European world and returned as a white man This was related to their belief in the Cargo cult that white people were dead relatives who would return bringing lavish gifts from the outside world and would bring a change to transform their settlements into modern times with roads cars planes and homes they had seen pictured Kurlick did give small gifts like knives cigarette lighters balloons and old newspapers for rolling cigarettes in appreciation for their hospitality I found his studies of the languages to have clear explanations for the casual reader but would be of greatest interest to linguists His interactions with the natives his descriptions of various individuals his anecdotes of life in the oppressive heat of Gapun the difficulties in reaching the village the description of their huts and daily activities were fascinating The native food he ate such as the diet of grubs and maggots mixed with jellied sago was just as disgusting for him as to the reader He had to finally leave after some dangerous incidents with rascals the name given to murderous young thieves and killers from outside the settlement He learned that is presence was putting not only his life in jeopardy but also others in the village At the end of the book he relates incidents of tropical diseases he endured to carry out his studies He fortunately survived and is presently as Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago He has written a great non fiction book


  3. says:

    Don Kulick an anthropologist and professor first traveled to Gapun New Guinea in 1986 Gapun is a very small village that is located in the tropical rainforest aka the jungle Mr Kulick's primary purpose for visiting Gapun was to study the dying native language of Tayap What he found was that that Tayap was being replaced by Tok Pisin a semi pigeon dialect picked up by the men of Gapun who had traveled outside of their village to work with English speaking white men Parents were speaking Tok Pisin to their children children were speaking it to each other and Tayap was spoken only by a few eldersKulick returned to Gapun many times and for long periods over the decades He did a study of the Gapun people's culture child raising practices belief system and overall way of being What he found was that the traditional way of life was dying out What supplanted all those traditional ways of being in and knowing the world were the new ways of life that had been introduced to Papua New Guinea by white colonialists Christianity growing crops like coffee or cocoa beans for sale the desire to acuire all the goods that the villagers saw or imagined white people had and broadly the desire to change into something other than what the villagers were By the 1980's Tok Pisin was firmly entrenched in Gapun as the language of the church of modernitySince Mr Kulick lived with the villagers in some sense this book can be considered an ethnography Mr Kulick an American who now lives in Sweden observed many interesting aspects of New Guinea For one it has languages than any other country in the world and in an area the size of California there are almost one thousand separate languages most of them still undocumentedMr Kulick explored the insidious rise of Tok Pisin and how the indigenous language died without anyone really wanting it to Tok Pisin whose name literally means 'Talk Pidgin' or 'Bird Talk' has a very short history arising in the 1800's as a plantation language It is a combination of the multiple languages of thousands of men brought together by plantation owners who had no common language As the decades passed this invented language setMr Kulick's dedication and respect for the people and community he studied is obvious While at first he is an oddity to the villagers and they look at him as a ghost he wins them over mostly via gifts and then through continuity and participation in their lives Anyone interested in culture and sociolinguistics will appreciate this bookThank you Algonuin for my review copy


  4. says:

    An approachable work of nonfiction for anyone intrigued by the field of anthropology Its success emerges from its nimble evasion of many of the recent postmodern pitfalls of anthropological study Kulick opens with the usual spiel on relativism and privilege and biased observation but he doesn’t let the impossibility of making an impartial inventory and analysis of this vastly different society stop him from trying The work harkens back to the field's great founding strength the giddy discovery of new ways of talking thinking doing and living Kulick first came to the remote village of Gapun in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea in the late 80s His goal? To record the death of the local language spoken by no than a few hundred people As a dual linguisticsanthropology nerd this exploration was a holy grail for me The chapters about language death are enlightening and rousing but not for the reasons you might think While it’s tempting to view the death of a language as a loss of a jewel of humanity the way you might mourn the recent flagration of Notre Dame or the theft of a painted masterpiece Kulick skewers this notion very convincingly what we should mourn is not the nail in the coffin the final loss itself but the complex web of events that led to this loss taking place For the village of Gapun that web has many parts but the usual suspects are alive and present colonial rule economic ineuality colorism education What’s happening to Tayap is the locals feel that their old language is backwards while all they want is to desperately move forwards to the world of highways and helicopters and white skin and plenty The younger generations who do still understand the language are afraid to speak it for fear of making mistakes and being humiliated by the oldtimers Again and again we are reminded to bemoan the larger political economy that has pushed the language to the brink but it’s hard not to feel the most acute sadness in moments where Kulick asks the Tayap word for rainbow and nobody knows for certain Interspersed in the linguistic tale is a variety of informative and charming tales about the broader Tayap culture At a slim 200 pages the tale clips by at a pleasing rhythm Kulick knows his audience is general interest reader than academic and he fits his tone perfectly to the task More anthropology please fiction and non


  5. says:

    While the sections on linguistics mercifully brief are not really of interest to me I appreciated Kulick's open and candid discussions of his multiple stays in Gapun I've never studied anthropology but his brief essay on the legacy of Margaret Mead was also fascinating A very good read even for the complete lay person like me


  6. says:

    Advanced reading copy publication date June 18 2019While I am often fascinated by travel tales where explorers come across previously unknown tribes this is the first book I've read where the author sets out to live among such a community The village of Gapun in Papua New Guinea wasn't exactly unknown but you won't find it on any maps either Don Kulick wanted to study a dying language and was directed to Gapun where about 200 people are the last speakers of Tayap a uniue aboriginal language Gapun is in the middle of a swamp in the heart of a rain forest so his decision to settle in observe the village and learn Tayap was not done lightly In several instances it was nearly the death of himThe tale that emerges is of a sheltered community that is slowly becoming aware of the world outside of Gapun They covet the author's gifts of cigarette lighters balloons kitchen knives etc but they also respect his privacy and don't steal from him They believe that he is the grown up ghost of a child who died young and came back to be with his family He is welcomed and is soon a part of the daily life eating the native food though he finds most of it disgustingand participating in many of the rituals He spends most of his time talking to anyone who will teach him Tayap and tell him stories in that languageHe visits several times over the course of decades and observes how another language is taking priority over Tayap Tok Pisin aka Pidgin is the common language of the area and the men who leave Gapun to earn money learn it while they work In turn they teach it to the young people of Gapun so that they will find work as well Tok Pisin does not have the depth or range of Tayap and in one particularly sad chapter no one can remember the word for rainbow in Tayap It isn't just a language that is dying it is also the history and culture of Gapun Oral histories generally don't survive language migrationsOf course there are plenty of anecdotes about daily life in Gapun that keep the book from becoming dull Don Kulick knows to keep the wonky linguistic anthropology stuff to a minimum and concentrate on telling the story of his immersion and observations While the inevitable death of Tayap and lost innocence of Gapun are sad at least we have this record All too often the flora and fauna of rain forests are destroyed before they can be discovered The same can be said of languages and cultures Recommended


  7. says:

    When I saw this ARC book I was interested because it reminded me of a documentary I had seen called First Contact about Australian gold prospectors in a remote part of Papua New Guinea in the 1930s While the author's reason for being among this particular village was benign because he was there to study the death of their language and not to get rich I saw a lot of parallels especially in the universal belief that white people were ghostsStudying and trying to learn Tayap an ancient language that is spoken by only 200 people and has never been written down did not prove to be easy Kulik had to go back to the village about three times over the course of twenty years to complete his dictionary Just finding a willing teacher was difficult and the going was tedious The lessons were conducted in the commonly understood pidgin language Tok Pisin that had evolved from a time when men from various locales were recruited as laborers for European business enterprises; and of course being recent Tok Pisin did not have anywhere near the richness of vocabulary Not only that but Kulik had to endure the kind of terrible conditions that exist in all jungle environments snakes malaria etcand the food sounded even worse However this is no dull dissertation but is both humorous and suspensefulWhile the villagers come off as childlike and naive at times by the end of the book it is obvious that they do have a sense that there is a white world out there full of riches from which they are somehow excluded In fact the author would say that the only thing the importation of Christianity and schools did was to sow discontent by showing the villagers all the things they did not have like flashy cars and recently iPhones This in turn has led to gang violence which since 1985 has made New Guinea an increasingly dangerous place to be even in the isolated areas


  8. says:

    Review coming


  9. says:

    Fascinating and very approachable story of Kulick's anthropological studies of a remote village in Papua New Guinea The first half focuses on his work to document their uniue and probably soon to be extinct language The second half focuses on recounting stories that are culturally significant funny or tell us interesting practical aspects of his stays in the village Kulick is very grounded He doesn't aim for inspiration or to call out a tragedy Yet his writing is solid and the book is compulsively readable I read it all at once; I could not put it down I was surprised that a word for something as striking and lovely as a rainbow could somehow slip away from village memory Old villagers' suabbles over the rainbow helped me to see how their inability to agree on proper Tayap was a feature of village life that was contributing to the language's demise  In Gapun nothing is communal nothing is eually owned and shared by everyone Everything—every area of land every sago palm every coconut palm every mango tree every pot plate ax machete discarded spear shaft broken kerosene lamp and every anything else one can think of—is owned by someone This includes people's names and the right to bestow them as well as knowledge of myths songs and curing chants  In their own view villagers don't share a language Instead each speaker owns his or her own version of the language The older those speakers become the they regard their version as the proper one and everyone else's as a lie And so speakers are predisposed to not regard the loss of Tayap as particularly traumatic Sadly though she and those other women are the last generation of Tayap speakers who will have the competence to be able to tell their husbands Stuff your sago into the opening of your friend's prick and get a thread and sew it up so he can carry it down to his village in his balls After them all that will be left is shitty ass and hole When I lived in Gapun I had spent a great deal of time explaining to the villagers that not all white people in the world know one another They assumed they did No I would say the countries are a lot bigger than Gapun and the surrounding villages There are a lot of white people and we can't all know one another It's impossible Bill Foley was the first white person who came into Gapun since I had left fourteen years previously The first uestion the villagers asked him was whether he knew me Sure I do he answered cheerfully As far as I was ever able to tell from the way villagers talk about the world they all—and I really do mean all of them including the ones who have been to school and who have seen maps and maybe even globes—imagine the world to be arranged in a kind of mystic arc starting from under the ground of Papua New Guinea the last country progressively curving upwards towards Belgium which borders on Heaven and ending in Rome the country where the Pope lives with Jesus and his mother Mary and her husband God The attack by rascals that left Kawri dead resulted in me abandoning my research in Papua New Guinea and not returning for almost fifteen years The rumors that I would be robbed of everything I had at the end of my second long term stay in 2009 led me to enlist a helicopter to pluck me out of the village like a raisin from a bun The villagers' caregiving practices gave me pause at first the blithe handing over of butcher knives to grasping babies; the continual ordering to fetch this do that; the violent threats Over time though I came to see that the style of caregiving practiced by Gapun mothers resulted in exceptionally capable and competent young children The only people in the village I have ever observed beating a child—that is holding the child by an arm and hitting him or her repeatedly with a straw broom a stick or in one particularly egregious case a bicycle chain that the child's father had acuired somewhere—were all men like Rafael who strongly identified as good Catholics and who also spent a few years attending the primary school that used to exist in the neighboring village of Wongan In my darkest moments I sometimes think that the only practical knowledge that Christianity and Western education has given the villagers of Gapun is proficiency in how to beat their children


  10. says:

    Languages cultures peoples are disappearing from the earth every day This is the story of one group of people in Papua New Guinea as told by “card carrying anthropologist” Don Kulick He wants us to know And like Margaret Mead he believes we should be responsible to make sure this does not happen This is an insightful book with much to say to anyone who cares I think you will like it and you will learn about the people of the Gapun village; I know you will gain much from the readingI met this book at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane WA