wantok

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Borrowed from Tok Pisin wantok, from English one talk, that is, a speaker of the same language.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

wantok (plural wantoks)

  1. (Melanesia, Papua New Guinea) A close comrade; a person with whom one has a strong social bond, usually based on a shared language.
    • 1971, A[nton] Ploeg, The Situm and Gobari Ex-servicemen’s Settlements, Canberra, A.C.T.: New Guinea Research Unit, Australian National University, →ISBN, page 23:
      I refer to the classes of settlers thus distinguished as ‘wantok’ (although their members did not always have the same mother tongue), and the areas from which they came as ‘home areas’. [] There were 7 groups of wantok among the Situm block-holders and 4 among the Gobari holders.
    • 1989, Ramesh Manadhar; Lohia Henao, “The Role of ‘Wantok’ in Housing the Squatters in Papua New Guinea”, in Vitor Abrantes and Oktay Ural, editors, Innovative Housing Practices: Better Housing through Innovative Technologies and Financing: [], Oxford, Oxfordshire: Pergamon Press, →ISBN, page 89:
      In Saraga, there are more wantoks (3.16) per household than in Bumbu (2.7). [] Like Bumbu, almost 80 percent approves of their wantoks living with them but half of the respondents would not like to see an increase in the wantoks in their houses.
    • 1990, Jeanette Conway; Ennio Mantovani, Marriage in Melanesia: A Sociological Perspective (Point Series; no. 15), Goroka, Papua New Guinea: Melanesian Institute, OCLC 611085220, page 162:
      If one steals or cheats to help a wantok one feels not guilty or one might feel ethically obliged to fight to support a wantok without considering whether the wantok is right or wrong.
    • 1990, Rick J. Goulden, The Melanesian Content in Tok Pisin (Pacific Linguistics Series B; 104), Canberra, A.C.T.: Australian National University, →ISBN, page 9:
      The vernacular still plays an important role in Melanesian notions of cultural identity, as reflected in the concept of wantok 'one who speaks the same language', and thus has primacy over a lingua franca, but Tok Pisin has become increasingly important as a language defining wantoks: []
    • 2004, Frederick [Karl] Errington; Deborah [B.] Gewertz, “The Peopling of a Place and the Placing of People”, in Yali’s Question: Sugar, Culture, and History (The Lewis Henry Morgan Lectures; 2002), Chicago, Ill.; London: University of Chicago Press, →ISBN, page 72:
      In fact, because the RSL township was to be constructed on a seemingly empty plain, BAI could plan it to minimize these wantok ties and the paybacks such ties were thought to generate. But BAI wanted to do more than to avoid building a wantok-ridden town. It also wanted to avoid building a "company town."
    • 2013, A. B. Andersen; S. H. Thilsted; A. M. Schwartz, “Food Diversity”, in Food and Nutrition Security in Solomon Islands (Working Paper; AAS-2013-06), Research Program on Aquatic Agricultural Systems, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Australian Government, page 9, column 2:
      A major impact in almost every area of life for Solomon Islanders is their safety nets: households, families, and importantly, the wantok (literally meaning "one talk") system. Wantok is loosely defined as an extended family in which people speaking the same language/dialect look out for each other. [] [A]lmost all villagers have wantoks or family members in urban areas who provide supplies of imported foods high in carbohydrates and fat to the villagers.

Usage notes[edit]

  • The word may be used to casually address a friend: “Hello, wantok.”

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]


Tok Pisin[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From English one talk (alternatively, it can be seen as a compound of wan +‎ tok).

Noun[edit]

wantok

  1. a close friend, to whom one gives complete loyalty
  2. any person with a shared set of Melanesian cultural values, usually based on speaking a closely related language