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Te taetae ni Kiribati

The language of Kiribati


I aki oota - Reirei Tebwi ma uoua

I don't understand - Lesson Twelve


This lesson gives you some practice with situations of remembering, forgetting, and not understanding, all of which come up fairly frequently in the course of daily events. By the end of this lesson, you should remember how to say these words, and be able to signal to someone your particular problem – be it not remembering or not understanding, etc.


This dialogue is intended to be acted out in class. Once you realize that it is a somewhat humorous and not too impossible situation, you should find it a little easier to act out the roles realistically. Find a partner, and make sure you understand before going ahead!

dialogue for dramatization

I aki oota

I don't understand

A: I aki oota. A: I don't understand.
B: Ko aki oota n teraa? B: What don't you understand?
A: I aki oota n te b'ai are ko taekinna. A: I don't understand what you said.
B: Ko aki oota n te bai are I taekinna? B: You don't understand what I said?
A: E eng, b'a teraa te b'ai are ko taekinna? A: Right, what was it you said?
B: Ae e ngaa iai? B: When?
A: Are ko titirakinai. A: What you asked me.
B: B'a e kangaa ngkoa au titiraki nakoim? B: What was it I asked you?
A: I a manga m'aninga. A: I've forgotten it.
B: Ko a manga m'aninga? B: You forgot it?
A: E eng, b'a teraa ngkoa? Ko aki uringa am titiraki? A: Yes, what was it? Don't you remember your question?
B: Ai ngkam I a aki uringa au titiraki aarei. B: I don't know. I don't remember my question.
A: E tau akea boongana. M'aninga taekana ao ko rab'a. A: That's enough, it's no use. Forget it – and thanks!
B: E koaua. Ti a m'aninga taekana ao te raoi naba. B: Okay. We'll forget it - you're welcome.


Additional Activities:

Study the supplementary dialogue. Use it as a frame into which you can put new words and phrases, and act out some of these. The dialogue has two possible endings – one where you know the answer and one where you don't.


additional dialogue

A:  Ko uringa b'a e kangaa te taeka ae __________ n taetae ni Kiribati?A:  Do you remember how to say __________ in Gilbertese?


B:  E eng, I uringga. B:  Yes, I remember.
A:  Ao e kangaa?A:  So what is it?
B:  Bon(i) __________B:  It's __________


B:  I aki, I a m'aninga.B:  No, I forget.
A:  Bon(i) __________ ?A:  Is it __________?
B:  E eng, boni ngaia!B:  Yes! I think that's it.

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.