Word for the Travel Wise (06/27/06)

Kiribati FlagWith half the land mass of Kiribati, tourists to the area are bound to visit the largest coral atoll in the world, Kiritimati (Christmas) Island during their Pacific island escape. Think 100 lakes or ponds sprinkled throughout the four village interior of the atoll. If I had the opportunity to go to Kiribati I’d make it a point to see the land by foot, the water by boat and the bigger picture by helicopter or airplane. I’d imagine one could capture some stellar aerial shots from above, an additional travel past time I’m slowly picking up in my own travels.

Today’s word is a Gilbertese word used in Kiribati:

te wanikiba – airplane (the canoe that flies)

English and Gilbertese (Kiribatese) are the two official langs of Kiribati where Gilbertese has only 102,000 speakers worldwide. A small percentage of the inhabitants of Tuvalu, Fiji, and Marshall Islands may also speak Gilbertese, but majority of speakers reside in Kiribati. According to Wikipedia It is a language from the Austronesian family, part of the Oceanian branch and of the Nuclear Micronesian subbranch. You’ll find a few basic words included in the Wiki as well, but go to this Peace Corps Language Handbook series to get sample dialogue and vocabulary lists. Lonely Planet has a South Pacific phrasebook that looks as if it doesn’t cover the Gilbertese tongue, but if you’re doing some island hopping you may wish to purchase it anyway.