Monday, May 11, 2015



(His/her gallbladder ruptured)

For modern ears, an unusual expression, perhaps.

The gallbladder (lala'et) is the organ where bile, a very bitter (mala'et)  fluid, is stored. Bile is produced by the liver, but stored in the gallbladder. It is an important substance which helps in our digestion, especially in breaking down fats.

Bile, however, because of its bitterness, has taken on, for centuries and across many cultures, the symbolic meaning of sorrow, pain or....bitterness.

For our mañaina, when the gallbladder is ruptured, an abundant amount of bile is released. The symbolism is clear : a ruptured gallbladder means an abundance of sorrow or pain.

~ Ai si Maria. Duro de tumånges sa' pot måtai si nanå-ña.
~ Måffak i lala'et-ña.

~ Poor Maria. She keeps crying because her mother died.
~ She has an abundance of bitter sorrow. (Literally : Her gallbladder ruptured.)

Another nuance to this expression is when someone is saddened because they feel left out.

For example, a mother notices that her child will not share his or her treat with a friend standing nearby, with an obvious expression of disappointment.

She says, "Nå'e i amigu-mo masea diddide', sa' siña ha' måffak lala'et-ña."

"Give even a little to your friends, because he may feel sad and deprived."

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