killed to death

James Harbeck jharbeck at SYMPATICO.CA
Sun Apr 20 19:37:21 UTC 2008

This is perhaps a bit tangential, but a friend once showed me a sign
from Papua New Guinea in Pidgin that exhorted, "Yu no kilim waif
bilong yu" (I might have that slightly incorrect), which she
translated as "Don't beat your wife." She explained that "Don't kill
your wife" would be "Yu no kilim ded waif bilong yu." In other words,
"kilim" -- from English "kill" -- means "beat," and "kilim ded" means
"kill." (Dollars to doughnuts a Pidgin scholar on the list will
correct me on details. Please do!)

Evidence, anyway, not that it's needed, of the weaking of the word by
the time it got pulled into Pidgin.

James Harbeck.

The American Dialect Society -

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