Frank Quipley spent some time yachting around one of the -nesias1 with his nephew Josh. A brief unscheduled stop from late morning to early evening allowed Dr. Quipley to do more fieldwork.
Dr. Quipley reports on the K—— tribe, located on a remote South Pacific atoll too small to show up on any maps.2 The island is home to about 75 non-
The island is mostly devoid of edible flora with the exception of silipu, an abundant local plant resembling a wild carrot. The natives subsist primarily on the fish iʻa teeming around the atoll. The local fish is clearly not to Dr. Quipley’s refined tastes,3 but Dr. Quipley is not one to back down from a challenge. At their second meal, his personal chef fried up some iʻa in herb-
An unusual feature of the K—— language is its lack of any kinship terms beyond words meaning parent and child. Dr. Quipley noted the tropical nature of the island and its lack of obvious natural resources as reasons why their society is, to use his description, “clothing-
While gathered for supper, Dr. Quipley tried to teach the natives the basics of the Inuit kinship system, introducing concepts that translate roughly as aunt; cousin; incest; morality; and please, dear God, stop doing that. His presentation went over about as well as his5 meal. At first, one of the elders pointed to the silipu and waved off Dr. Quipley’s concerns about genetics and heritable defects.6 Things got progressively more heated from there. The Quipleys narrowly escaped, chased by natives angrily shouting “get their banana!”
The editors are split on the believability of this one. On one hand, it does fit what we know of the Quipleys. On the other hand, our friends in the geography department assure us that there are no habitable islands that haven’t been discovered. Our conclusion is don’t believe it! ... or do?
1 Polynesia? Mononesia? Micronesia? Mininesia? Dr. Quipley seems to have come down with amnesia.
2 We think that a more attentive captain might have avoided grounding the yacht regardless.
3 Nor to those of his nephew, who rather indelicately likened their taste to something that Dr. Quipley felt advisable not to translate into the natives’ language.
4 Although a reluctant few tried it, Dr. Quipley felt it advisable not to translate their feedback into our language.
5 Well, his chef’s.
6 In fact, the elders had a better understanding of Mendelian inheritance than Dr. Quipley’s nephew, who has supposedly taken a few biology classes. Count us as shocked, shocked.
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|Update on Linguistic Protocol Regarding Addressing the Monarch
|SpecGram Vol CLXXXV, No 4 Contents|