kunai

Kuanua: ‘kunei’.

Open grasslands in Papua New Guinea are typically dominated by Imperata cylindrica and Themeda australis. Note the Hagen usage of ‘Kui’ (lit: ‘grass’) a former provincial constituency in the open, Imperata-covered valley around Mt Hagen airport and ‘Dei’ (lit: ‘trees’), the bush country national parliament Open Electorate to its north.

Etymology: Tryon (1995, part 3, p. 218).

See original Mihalic entry.

Imperata and Themeda on Rukmimb Ridge, Kindeng, Western Highlands Province, 13 January 1987 (‘Kui’ in the direction of Baisu Jail on the far left, ‘Dei’ in the direction of the range to the far right).

Noun forms

  1. Botany: ‘sword grass’ Imperata cylindrica. pitpit, tiktik

  1. Landform: open areas of grassland (typically covered with Imperata and Themeda).
    ples kunai a grassland
    ol lain bilong kunai people of the grass country

Verb phrase forms

  1. House construction: pulim kunai to pull up and bundle Imperata for house thatching (community activity in Highlands areas those places it is used as a roofing material).
    ol meri wok bung na pulim kunai the women are on a working bee to bundle up Imperata (and bring it to a new house)

  1. House construction: putim kunai to thatch a house
    ol brata i wok long putim kunai long haus bilong nupela marit the brothers are thatching the newlyweds’ house


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