PNCV *koro / *qoro root, 'to fence'

Chaumont Devin devil at
Mon Apr 26 07:08:19 UTC 1999

Dear Friends,

After looking at the latest postings from Bob Blust and Ross Clark I think
I have something interesting to add.

The original meaning behind all these reflexes may not have been "to
surround", but "to roll up".

Ambon Malay "koro", "crumple up like a piece of paper".
Ambon "takoro", "wrinkled like skin or crumpled up like a sheet of paper".

Now for some Buru entries:

guluk, pt. 1. warped.  Papan di guluk haix tu lipoton betah, The
  board is warped because the sun struck it. --Endek.
  2. spent.  Lea di guluk haik, the day is far spent.

gulux-guluk, adv. in the late afternoon, between modan-modan and

kuluh, vt. close.  Da kulu raman pee, da katax raman e, He
  closed and opened his eyes. --Otis.

gohok, pt. come loose, as a cord, etc.

(Recall that an 'r' -> 'h' sound change is well-documented for Buru

exgolo, a. lean, gaunt.

exgolo-xgolot, a. skinny.  Anato naa sir laga xgolo-xgoloto, The
  children here look skinny. --Yan.

exgolon, a. lean, gaunt.  Asu xgolon, A lean dog.

golo, a. 1. gaunt, skinny.
  2. loose-fitting.
    PAN gohok kuru,  thin, lean

gohok, pt. come loose, as a cord, etc.
    cf. kohok.

golok, pt. shriveled from dehydration.

golon, a. lean.  Lai golon, lean meat. --Elias.

golot, a. (katue golot) a kind of sword having a tip that curls up
  and back, forming a sort of hook.

And now back to Ambon Malay for "kurus", meaning "gaunt, lean".

I think there are also Malay forms like "kerut" and "kerus", but (thanks
John Wolf) I don't have any way of checking.

So it looks like the idea of rolling up, especially by dehydration, comes
across pretty strongly, and then, probably from this, enclosing using a
rolling-up motion, etc.

Another interesting Buru entry is the following, for a house where things
are dried:

humkolon, n. granary or storehouse built on wooden piles having
  rat foils affixed.

And the following, which could be from the fact that the edge of a sword
made of poor steel will curl up when struck against a hard object:

godok, pt. blunted, worn thin.
    cf. kodok, exmodo.
    PAN ku(n)dul, dull, blunt

The questions are probably then: Did these two meanings (dehydration and
rolling up) once merge and then separate again, or were they originally
the same?  Etc.

Ross Clark:

>Mota /geara/ is not related -- it's a prefixed form from  (I think) POc
>*qaRa "fence".

But it may be related after all.  Just look at the following from Buru:

galan, n. bracelet.
    Malay gelang.

kalasenat, n.  A small black snake.
    syn. karasenat.

kara, n. sector between the roots of a large tree.

karahisit, n. a small, black snake.

karan, n. 1. deer horn, especially the furless horn of an old deer.
  2. lahin karan, sector between the roots of a large tree.
    syn. kara, eskaran.

karapapa, n.  A large, yellow python that eats hen's eggs.

karasena, n. see karasenat.

karasenat, n.  A small black snake.
    syn. kalasenat, krahasena.

In these latter we have both the "encircle" and the "kink or bend"
meanings.  Also the "enclosed space", as in "eskaran", meaning the space
between tree roots.

>The nominal sense of a walled, fenced or enclosed place seems to be the
>most widely attested, all the way from Bob's Admiralty forms meaning
>"village" to Rarotongan koro "a fenced-in or walled-off area, enclosure,
>yard". This type of meaning is also well attested in Vanuatu: Nokuku
>"garden"; Labo no-nggoxonggoxo "shelter", Nguna kooro "enclosure, pen",
>na-kokoro "hedge, fence, windbreak", and the Makir forms cited by

Then we also have the following from Buru:

kodon, n. 1. stem, trunk.
  2. Numerical coefficient for houses,
  spears, dalu beans, girls, etc.  Humar kodon paa, Four houses.
  Limbiq kodon rua, Two spears.  Dalu fuan kodon rua, Two "dalu"
  beans.  Emhukar kodon utun pol lima, A hundred and fifty girls.
    syn. kudun. cf. epkudu.

epkudu, vi. sprout, grow.

>Verbal senses are less abundant. Pawley 1976 gives:

>Roviana golo "to ring bark a tree, cut out flesh of a coconut from its


eskohoh, vt. 1. scrape.
  2. grate, as coconut on an eskohot.
  Grimes: to scoop s.t. out (e.g. coconut meat).
    cf. guhuk.

eskohok, vt. summon.  Iko la ku eskohokor hansiak, go and summon
  them all.
    PAN kerus, scrape, grate
    PAN kurud, scrape

eskohon, n. 1. Coconut meat left in shell after grating on an
  2. bia eskohon, burr-like thorns on a sago palm.

eskohot, n. 1. grater, consisting of a burr-like blade embedded in a
  log end.
  Grimes: a coconut scraper.
    syn. eskokot.
  2. burr-like thorns on a sago palm.  Da skadak e eskohot, He
  dashed his foot against the thorns of a sago palm--Yakup.
  a.  Niwe eskohot, coconut meat left in shell after scraping
  using an eskohot.
    syn. bia eskohon.

Other related words may be "kofo", meaning "concave downwards", "gofot",
meaning "land tortoise", and "kolon", meaning "underside".

This is truly fascinating stuff!


More information about the An-lang mailing list