National Geographic : 1962 Jul
HS EKTACHROME(ABOVI bed he bequeathed his name to the new hus band. And when he finally died, his survivors referred to him by yet another name." This custom made a shambles of Tahitian genealogy as recorded in early accounts. Language Shows English Legacy Tahitian friends, who knew I was studying their language, in their innocence said, "You should have no trouble; a lot of our words are very much like English." That is true; for example, moni for money, faraoa for flour, pata for butter. The truth is, of course, that these words are English, modified according to the Tahitian alphabet. Englishmen were the first to stay and make their influence felt in the islands. It was from 18 England that the missionaries came to trans late the Bible into Tahitian. And so, with few exceptions, the names of things that did not exist before the coming of the European are all of English origin. When the Tahitians do coin their own name for a new thing, it is invariably poetic, as when they call the airplane manureva-the Bird of Heaven. "Cher ami," lamented M. Iorss, "today the rich and harmonious tongue of my ancestors has fallen upon hard times. The Chinese mer chants, who speak a kind of pidgin Tahitian, are much to blame, but I should tell you also that it is not taught in our schools. All classes are held in French, and the child hears Tahi tian spoken only at home and in the streets."