John Lynch lynch_j at VANUATU.USP.AC.FJ
Tue Jul 13 04:01:22 UTC 1999

I am trying to track the development and movement of terms ending in
-lei with the meaning 'lesser yam, Dioscore esculenta'. Hollyman
(1999:46), in discussing Polynesian borrowings in New Caledonian
languages, refers to the generic term e.g. Tongan 'ufi, Samoan ufi, and
the term for the lesser yam e.g. Tongan 'ufilei, Samoan ufilei. An
examination of relevant dictionaries shows for lei meanings like
'whale's tooth, ivory', etc.

Does anyone know the origin of -lei in the ufi-lei compound?


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