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Kava drinking in southern Vanuatu: Melanesian drinkers, Polynesian roots

Lynch, John D. (1996) Kava drinking in southern Vanuatu: Melanesian drinkers, Polynesian roots. The Journal of the Polynesian Society, 105 (1). pp. 27-40. ISSN 0032-4000

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This paper examines a set of Polynesian loan words in the non-Polynesian languages of the Tafea Province of Vanuatu which relate to the preparation and drinking of kava (Piper methysticum). I will show that, although there is evidence that people in this area drank a kava-like substance before Polynesian contact, it was speakers of the Polynesian Outlier language Futuna-Aniwa who introduced not only the kava plant and the drink derived from it to their Melanesian neighbours, but also certain techniques of kava-preparation and certain social behaviours relating to the drinking of kava. A comparison is drawn with Pohnpei where, although kava also seems to derive from a Polynesian source, the Polynesian contribution to the lexicon of kava-preparation and kava-drinking appears to be restricted to the name of the plant and the drink, suggesting that either the plant was not introduced from Polynesia, or that a similar substance was drunk there, with some ceremony, before Polynesian contact.

Item Type: Journal Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GT Manners and customs
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Law and Education (FALE) > Pacific Languages Unit
Depositing User: Ms Shalni Sanjana
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 1996 23:15
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2012 23:15

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