acault

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Burmese အခြောက် (a.hkrauk, dry article), from (a., noun-forming prefix) + ခြောက် (hkrauk, dry).

Pronunciation[edit]

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Noun[edit]

acault (plural acaults)

  1. A male who exhibits transgender behavior in Burmese culture (an identification associated with animistic beliefs).

Usage notes[edit]

This word is a mistranslation of the Burmese term အခြောက် (a.hkrauk, dry article) which designates men who seek other men ("homosexual" or MSM). While Coleman et al. did publish a 1992 essay (which was reprinted and referenced by various other authors) referring to the Burmese "acault", they also admitted to an "inability to speak the local languages" (314) and a "lack of training in anthropology" (320). The term ăchauk is Burmese slang and does not literally indicate someone who works as a spirit medium, which is more properly known as နတ်ကတော် (natka.tau). In Burma, these spirit mediums may be female or male, and may or may not be transgender or cross-dressing, although they do wear costumes during ceremonial rituals when channeling spirits called "nats" in Burma. Homosexuality is not necessarily implied with spirit mediumship.

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