Over the course of the documentation project, our aim is to collect a large number of texts in the Waimaha language, and to annotate them in a number of ways. The most important annotations will be the linguistic glosses: in English, Tetum and Portuguese, with some texts also glossed in Malay. In addition, ethnographic annotations, with notes on any cultural features of significance will be included.
The team has also prepared a number of small books for distribution in East Timorese schools. Copies of each of these can be downloaded from the links below:
* Hire alfabetun ene: an alphabet book with examples of words using all the letters of the Waima'a alphabet.
* Tunu kai-telu: three short folk tales about animals.
* Manu-kumu kai-hitu: the legend of the seven pigeons.
One annotated text (much like the collection being prepared for archiving) is provided on this website. The text is called Bu taha k'omu ruo bu wai-dura or 'The ball of mud and the praying mantis'.
To understand this text it is important to know that East Timor is a country with marked dry and wet seasons, and that much of the annual work activity is structured around the seasonal changes. During the dry season, very little rain falls, and the landscape becomes parched and dry. If the rainy season is late in coming, the effects of this can sometimes be quite disastrous: drought often means that food becomes scarce. It is important to prepare gardens for later planting while the dry season is still in progress. When the rains arrive, seeds need to be planted quickly to ensure that they come to ripeness before the rains stop again. Once the rains do come to East Timor, dried out grasses and plants spring back to life, and newly planted crops start to flourish. Rivers also rise quickly.
Once upon a time...
A ball of mud and a praying mantis were friends.
The two of them went to clean the gardens together
The rains were about to come.
The two of them made each other...
'The two of us must go because if we don't the river water will prevent us from getting past'
The praying mantis said, 'In just a minute then, we'll go'
The two of them cleaned and cleaned and then they came back.
The river water had already come down and blocked their path.
The two of them urged each other on...
The praying mantis went down first
(But) the praying mantis didn't go in.
The ball of mud said...
'If it's like that, then I'll go down first...'
Then the ball of mud went in.
The ball of mud got swept away.
So, the mud ball dissolved.
The praying mantis, who lived on dry land, laughed.
He laughed so hard that his spine broke.
And that's what happened.
Except that everyone present laughs out loud...
|ANAPH||anaphoric marker||ASP||aspect marker|
|1p||first person plural||1s||first person singular|
|2pe||second person plural exclusive||2pi||second person plural inclusive|
|2s||second person singular||3p||third person plural|
|3s||third person singular|
© The Research School of
Pacific and Asian Studies, the Australian National University.
International students: ANU CRICOS provider number is 00120c
Please direct all comments or suggestions to the maintainer,
This page last modified on 7 April, 2005.