Subject: Re: Learn the lingo
Hi Sue & Everyone:

Aha, the old language problem between speakers of the same language. I have a cousin named Randy (American mother; his real name, not a nickname) who came to visit me while I was living in the UK. He went off to a party one night but came back the next day severley crestfallen. When prodded, he said he had gone up to a girl he fancied to introduduce himself, and blurted out, "Hi, I'm Randy." She slapped him.

My faux pas was trying to use my halting Pijin English in Solomon Islands on my third visit there. I had been staying in a village by the sea but never got a chance to go swimming because it rained solidly for several weeks, so on my second visit to the same village, when the sun came out, I was dying to go for a swim. A local friend popped into the kitchen hut where I was chatting to my hostes while she cooked our meal over an open fire. The friend asked me if I wanted to go "walkabout" after "kai" (go for a walk after the meal) and I readily agreed. Then he said "bi mi go swim" and I thought he meant he was going to the beach, so I jumped in with "Wait Frank! Mifala go long beach long yu!" He turned an ashen shade of gray and fled from the hut like a scalded cat. My hostess nearly upset the pot of rice trying not to laugh and an elderly one-legged man who was visiting from another village banged his wooden leg (which he had removed after a 4 hour walk through the jungle to get to our village) up and down on the dirt floor while trying not to fall over laughing. An elderly New Zealand friend nearly choked on his tea. Malaita Island custom is very conservative, men and women don't intermingle much socially, and I had just told this young man that I wanted to take a shower with him; the village only had one open-air stand-up pipe used for laundry, bathing, etc. There is no Pijin for swimming for fun, so they immediately coined a new phrase just for such a situation - "playswim." This phrase went up and down the coast and I often wonder if it's not still being used today. If anyone decides to go playswim, that is.

Happy New Year everyone. Nadine, Vancouver BC