What’s in a name


Toksave Pacific Gender Resource owes its name to three linguistics lecturers at the University of Papua New Guinea:

  • Dr. Apoi Yarapea
  • Mr. Sakarepe Kamene and
  • Mr. Andeas Noreweec. 

The word toksave is a word derived from two others in the Tok Pisin language, tok and save.

The word tok on its own could mean the following:


talk, word, speech, message, complaint (noun form)

to say, to talk, to speak (verb form)

Then you have the word save, which could have come from the Portuguese word saber “to know” or from the New Ireland (PNG) word saavi “to know”, “to grasp”.

And it could mean the following:


knowledge, wisdom, understanding (noun form)

to know, to understand, to know how to, to be able to, to do often, frequently, habitually (verb form)

Toksave at a linguistic level

When the two words come together you get the new word, toksave.

And toksave could mean the following:


to announce, to explain, to clarify, to call to attention, to inform, to report, to declare (verb form)

It can also appear as a noun:


as in “Toksave bilong mi.”

Toksave at a discoursal level

First, toksave highlights, brings to fore, fore grounds vital messages, information, intention, desire or needs in society. But just highlighting the message or information is not enough. There is more to it. That the message, intention and information be taken as the forms (linguistic symbols) that capture and carry much deeper and embedded societal core values. Core values could be virtues of life, could be knowledge, skills, or wisdom, marine or terrestrial information. All that can be captured and expressed as toksave.

Second, what is wrapped up in the message or information must be unpacked. This requires one’s ability to think about the parts that make up the message, pull them apart, make sense of the parts and assemble them to arrive at the whole. This takes higher intellectual skills to operate. This is critical where one receives information or message and unpacks it to know what is there – the content (meaning). And more so one makes sense of the toksave. In this sense the word, toksave takes us deeper into the truth value (meaning) of the forms (symbols) like message, intention and information. Taking toksave at that level becomes a useful linguistic expression directing us to find important values rooted in the social structure. Toksave at that level covers both the form and content.

Dr. Apoi Yarapea – Senior Lecturer in Linguistics UPNG
Mr. Sakarepe Kamene – Senior Lecturer in Linguistics UPNG
Mr. Andeas Noreweec – Lecturer in Linguistics UPNG

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