Home   Intro   Communication Lesson:   Contents   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   Glossary  
Grammar Lesson:   Contents   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9  

Te taetae ni Kiribati

The language of Kiribati


Te Marooroo - Reirei Tebwi ma teuana

Conversation - Lesson Eleven


This lesson will give you practice asking for the meanings of words, and also give you some idea of the importance of 'talking about talking' in Kiribati culture. By the end of the lesson you should be able to ask for the meaning of a word you don't know, and have learned a number of new words about language.


Study the dialogues and the cultural note. An additional list of words related to speech in Kiribati is provided at the end of the lesson. Practice your new question by asking your teacher for the meanings of some of these words. Keep track of your new vocabulary, along with the regular lesson vocabulary, in your language notebook.

dialogue for study

Te Marooroo


Aana: Taiaoka Bauro, teraa nanon te taeka ae 'marooroo'? Anna: Please Paul, what's the meaning of the word 'conversation'?
Bauro: E kaboonganaaki te taeka anne ngkana a bootaki uoman aomata ke a m'aiti riki n taetae ni kawai temanna nakon temanna. Paul: That word is used when a group of people sit around talking to each other.
Aana: Iai riki taeka tabeua aika titeboo nanoia ma te taeka ae 'marooroo'? Anna: Are there other words similar to 'conversation'?
Bauro: E eng, iai 'kaboowi', 'karaki', 'kareke-nano'; A bati riki taeka n aron akanne. Paul: Yes, there's 'conferring', 'story-telling' , 'sweet-talking' , and many more words like that.
Aana: Ao teraa nanon 'kaboowi'? Anna: And what's the meaning of 'conferring'?
Bauro: Te taeka anne e kaboonganaaki ngkana a bootaki tabeman aomata ni baairea taekan tao te mm'akuri ke te karikirake ke b'aai riki tabeua. Paul: That word is used when a group of people gather together to discuss employment, promotion, or similar topics.



Cultural Note

Te marooroo bon te moa ni b'ai ni maiuia kaaini Kiribati. Ngkana ti nooria ao a boni m'aiti taeka ake a konaa ni kab'arab'araa kaanga aron te taetae b'a e kangaa. Ngkana ti taraiia aomata n te m'aneaba ao ti konaa n ataia b'a naake a rangi n atatai n aron te taetae ao naake a atongaki b'a taan rabakau n otooto a konaa n anganaki aia tabo ae kaanga a na rine riki iai ibuakoia aomata.

Conversation is of great importance in the life of Kiribati people. If we look, we can find many words which describe their ways of speaking. When we see the people in the maneaba, we realize that those who are skilled in speaking, and those who are said to be skillful composers, are given positions of honor.


additional dialogue

Aana:  Ao 'karaki'?Anna:  And 'story-telling'?
Bauro:  Anne boni kan titeboo ma marooroo ma iai te karaki tao man te boki ke te rongorongo ae e taekinna temanna nakon temanna ke temanna nakoia aika a m'aiti.Paul:  That one's almost like conversation, except that there's the story, maybe from a book or the news, told from one person to another or to the group.
Aana:  E a oota anne, ao 'kareke-nano'?Anna:  That's clear. How about 'sweet-talking'?
Bauro:  Te taeka anne e kaboonganaaki ibukin te mm'aane ao te aiine aika a marooroo ngkana iai nanon te mm'aane iroun te aiine.Paul:  That's used for a conversation between a man and a woman, especially when the man's in love with her.
Aana:  Ko bati n rab'a. E a bati riki rabakauu n te taetae ni Kiribati. Ko rangi n rabakau ni kab'arab'arai nanon taeka.Anna:  Thanks very much. I've just learned a lot about Kiribati. You're very skilled at translating the meanings of words.
Bauro:  I aki bati n rabakau – ti teutana.Paul:  I'm really not very skilled – just a little.

Additional Activities:

Study the additional dialogue. You should now be able to create similar dialogues using the new words you have learned from your teacher and the accompanying list. Write out a new dialogue, using meanings for new words and present it to your class.

Additional Vocabulary:

b'anaa taekeeke
b'anaa buubura
b'anaa bangubangu
taetae n aakoi

Kiribati page

© 1979, 2003 Stephen Trussel, ACTION / Peace Corps, The Experiment in International Living. The Experiment in International Living, Inc., prepared this handbook for the U. S. Government under ACTION Contract number 78-043-1037. The reproduction of any part of this handbook other than for such purposes as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, research, or other "fair use" is subject to the prior written permission of ACTION.