PURIPURI - LIST DISCUSSION

Shnukal (1988: 187) attributes puripuri to the Kala Lagaw Ya language of the Western Torres Strait, one of two main lexifiers for Torres Strait Creole. Mihalic does not list it, and it appears unknown to Mühlhäusler (1979). Anyone any better idea?

John Burton 25 Nov 2001


Just a comment on puripuri. In the Tanga and Anir islands (New Ireland Province) people talk about puripuri more specifically in terms of 'love magic' as opposed to other kinds of sorcery or 'poisen'. Can't help much on the origin, but interestingly FLS Bell lists "puri-kuf" (in his Tanga-English dictionary) as meaning "magical healing". "Puri" is the verb to steal, which is also kinda interesting in that a lot of 'poisen' cases involve what people refer to as the stealing of one's 'dewel' by a masalai. 'Dewel' is used to refer to both the spirits of the dead and the living; if you can't get your dewel back you'll most likely sicken and die. Hmmm.....

Stephanie Garling 26 Nov 2001


Likewise for Lihir - hardly surprising given proximity. But puripuri is rarely used. Poisen is often pronounced and spelled 'posen' by Lihirians. People often simply say 'buai" when referring to certain types of magic, most of which are conceptually linked to the 'Buai Cult' which I think originates in ENB. But it seems to extend to all forms of magic that include ingestion of plants with betel nut and lime where the aim is to transform the person so that, for example, he can be invisible, or communicate with spirits, or take on the form of an animal to perform sorcery.

Martha Macintyre 26 Nov 2001


Don't know about the origin, but I know it's used as far as Katherine in the Northern Territory, as well as PNG.

Craig Volker 24 Nov 2001

John Burton