2009-12-08 19:31:47 UTC
PANJIM, Dec 8: It is a popular urban legend that the Eskimo
people have an unusually large number of words for snow. But there's
no doubt that Goa has an amazing number of words dealing with the
coconut tree, and its many products.
There are sixteen classes of words to describe different
types of coconuts in Konkani, the spoken language of Goa.
Seven words describe leaf-related terms, five for the kernel,
and a few more for the shell and husk.
This information is compiled in a new book, authored by
master craftsman Vijaydatta Lotlikar, who released his 'The
Art of Coconut Craft' (published by Goa,1556) on Monday.
In what reads like a believe-it-or-not, Lotlikar's book --
focussed on his craft but looking at other coconut-related
issues too -- notes that there are nearly two dozen words for
coconut-related products alone.
Half-a-dozen words are used to describe the tree itself: from
the maad (coconut tree) to narl-maad (nut-producing tree),
bandlolo madd (tree being tapped for toddy), zorddul (old,
unproductive tree), kovatho (young, immature tree) and kanddi
(straight, slender tree).
More diversity related to the tree comes from the language,
when Konkani describes parts of the coconut tree, and
coconut-related work or workers.
Quoting Dalgado's Portuguese-Konknni Dictionary (1905) and
recent scholars, including posters who shared this information
via cyberspace, Lotlikar's book points to the various words
used to describe types of coconut in Goa.
These range from the narl (coconut) to the addsor, xiallem or
girpallem (tender coconut), xelanno (large coconut), bonddo
(immature coconut), bonddi (incipient nut), vanz (empty
coconut), adduk (dried-out coconut), moddko (coconut with
water tried on tree), guddguddo (with kernel loosened from
shell), biyaddok (seedling), penddi (bunch of nuts), tovli
(slice of tender coconut), kap (slice of husk), kapem (half
coconut split longtitudinally), kavatho (seedling), and
Lotlikar's book also points out to the large number of uses
that coconut is put to, both in Goa and beyond. Collating
information from diverse sources, Lotlikar notes that coconut
is used in food products -- as coconut 'meat', in dessicated
farm, coconut water, coconut milk, cream, spray-dried powder, coconut
chips, copra, oil, toddy, and more.
It is also used as jaggery, beverages, vinegar, livestock
feed, fragarance, heart of palm (palmito), sprout, snowball
tender nuts, nata de coco, coconut candy and coconut
One recent rage in countries like the Philippines is virgin
coconut oil -- extracted from fresh coconut, not copra, by
mechanical or natural means, with or without using heat. To
protect the oil's essential properties chemical refining,
bleaching or deodorizing is avoided. It is believed to be
high in minerals and vitamins.
Besides, coconut has many non-cullinary uses.
It gets used as coir, oil, leaves for thatching, palmwood,
trunk hollows, husk and shells, dried shells, shirt buttons,
midribs (for brooms or brushes) and roots (used as dye,
toothbrushes, mouthwash and for dysentry).
Its other useful parts include leaves (for roofing or reed
mats), lime made out of dried coconut leaves burn to ask,
made into musical instruments, used to build houses in Goa
and Kerala, and for soap, fuel, tongue-cleaners and what not.