LIST DISCUSSION - KUMBAK

I've only heard this in the NGI, not on the mainland. It means an exhausting guest or the fact that one is exhausted the day after having had company. Often used as an excuse for being so tired.

Craig Volker 8 Apr 2002


"kumbak" originated from Kuanua language of the Tolai people, New Britain and Ramoaina language of the Duke of York Islands Group, and it is also found in the dialects or languages of the southeat and west villages of the Namatanai region of New Ireland, it is used a lot in Pisin. It is hard to simply explain what "kumbak" is, its interpretation is a little different from what was earlier described as being tired after a sleepless night.

Being tired is not "kumbak" caused by you personally. You can sleep very early and wake up early the next day, but still the effect of "kumbak" can cause tiredness, or force you to go back to bed during the day. You could then ask around, "who came around yesterday?" or last "night?", someone may inform you that visitor from the next village slept here, in our hamlet last night. Then you could describe how his "kumbak" hit you. Was it hard to bear or what and so on. A good person his "kumbak" is light, troublesome etc, his/her "kumbak" can even give hard hit or cause a sick person to die. In the village people are advised not to roam around and sleep in one village, then to the next. If there is a sick person, warning is sent out. See or visit your boy/girl friends and return to your home to avoid "kumbak".

Mesulam Aisoli 8 Apr 2002