The Tribe That Cursed Too Much
This island can out-swear you by a longshot. And you thought your language had a lot of bad words…
Honor the dead and rethink cursing as we run afoul of some major taboos in Oceania. This is the story of the Kwaio and their unique taboo language.
Dabbling in Malayo-Polynesian, I’m fascinated by this Oceanic contribution to linguistics: the idea that all curse words are part of a wider phenomenon called “taboo”, and that a cultural mechanism stands behind taboo terms. I think I’ve finally found a way to tell their tale.