Number of speakers 1,000-2,000
[ tradzy ] a necklace of yellow stone beads
The Aka have more than 26 words to describe beads. Beyond being objects of adornment, beads are status symbols and currency. This toddler will get this necklace at her wedding.
[ shobotro vyew ] to calculate bride price using twigs
The price for an Aka marriage is negotiated with bamboo sticks. The groom’s side lays down a number representing money and gifts, and the bride’s family counteroffers. Families can haggle for months using the same sticks.
[ chofe gidego ] is looking at liver
A marriage is not recognized until after the ritual slaughter of a mithan, a type of cattle, when its liver can be read. The verdict: A small spot might signal an accident in the couple’s future but otherwise a happy life.
[ nichleu-nuggo ] village counselor wise, compassionate, tolerant
Govardhan Nimasow is a rich man who married eight wives, fathered 26 children, and owns one of the few concrete houses in his village. But his status as a nichleu-nuggo also means he possesses humility and wisdom.
[ mope ay ] poison mother
Hunting is now restricted and most of the big game killed off, but a mystique still surrounds the weapons of Aka hunters in Palizi. Mope ay refers to the plant used to poison arrow tips.
[ labber oogo ] rubber to shoot
Eight-year-old Vishal Ramdasow’s slingshot is much less deadly than the poisoned arrows his ancestors used to kill tigers. The wordlabber is borrowed from the English “rubber.”
[ ayay ] mama
[ chulai ] mother chicken or hen
Giamum Yame stands with her two-year-old son in the doorway of their home an hour away from Palizi. A henhouse basket is nailed to the wall.