Saturday, February 16, 2008

How many Tanii villages are there ? (2)

In a previous post a list of 33 Tanii villages has been presented which corresponds to the way they are recognized by the administration and registered as such in various censuses. But Taniis in general, when questioned about the "village" of their family, almost invariably mention the 7 following names only :

Hong, Hari, Bulla, Hija, Dutta, Michi-Bamin and Mudang-Tage.

What can be the reasons of this difference ?

These names correspond to 7 original villages and, till 1950, all Taniis inhabiting the valley were living in one of them only. All other settlements found today on the plateau are posterior to the advent of Indian administration, i.e. roughly after 1950. The foundation of those 7 original villages probably dates back to the time when the ancestors of Taniis first entered the valley. Oral tradition assumes that this first flow of immigrants came by following 3 distinct routes : those who settled at Hari and Bulla are said to have come through a Northern passage; those who established at Hija, Dutta, Michi-Bamin and Mudang-Tage from the East; and those who ultimately settled at Hong by following a North-Eastern route. The same tradition also states that each village bears the name of one founding ancestor, and that these 7 founders were all descendants of the same forefather reckoned in paternal line. However, the exact genealogical relationships between them as well as the names of paternal ascendants vary to some extent from place to place. Here are 2 examples of such variations :


The two genealogies only partially overlap, but both lead more or less to the same village grouping. In this grouping Hija, Dutta, Michi-Bamin and Mudang-Tage form one group, Hong stands alone, and Hari is associated, at least partially, with Bulla (i.e. with Reru, Tajang or Kalong). This way, the division of the society in 3 groups according to the route followed to enter the valley parallels the repartition of the population in 3 patrilineal descent groups, as it also parallels the repartition of villages in 3 groups for organizing Myoko festival on a rotational basis.

In the same previous post it has also been said that the word lemba, which is often mistakenly taken for “village”,, can in fact denote either a village in the general sense or that part of a village inhabited by a single clan, and therefore having a clan platform (lapan). However, it should not be deduced from this that all villages or hamlets listed in the Census are considered by Taniis as true lemba, although most of them do have lapan nowadays. For it seems that a settlement is viewed as lemba only if, besides lapan, it also comprises a nago (clan ritual centre where important ceremonies are performed, especially during Myoko) and a Myoko yugyan (clan ritual ground where pigs are sacrificed during Myoko). According to anthropologist Fürer-Haimendorf, these 3 conditions are necessary for villages to have the word lemba suffixed to their names.

New lapan have frequently been constructed in the new settlements outside the 7 original villages. For eg. 7 lapan are to be found at Lempia. But, according to B. Nani & Y. Radhe (2004), “no nago or Myoko yugyang has come up at the newly created villages”. Thus, new settlements or census villages - including Old Ziro- are not considered as independent or separate villages from a ritual point of view. For this reason they are simply known by their respective names, and only the 7 original villages normally have the word lemba suffixed to their names. At the time of important festivals such as Myoko all families living in those new villages join their clan members to attend the ceremonies performed at the clan common sacrificial ground (yugyan). Consequently, most lapan found in the new settlements serve only for private rituals. So is the case for eg. at Lempia : its inhabitants are mostly from Tajang and still go regularly to perform important rituals at Tajang, and for Myoko they join their respective clan members at the yugyan of Tajang. So is also the case for Old Ziro. Despite the fact that this village has been founded nearly 60 years ago the inhabitants prefer performing rituals at their original lapang, as a result of which only insignificant rituals are performed at the lapang at Old Ziro.”…(B. Nani & Y. Radhe, 2004)

This way, a clear-cut boundary is drawn between villages which are ritually independent and those which are not. A cluster of houses set apart geographically from some bigger settlement, despite having distinct boundaries, may not be considered as a lemba, whereas what simply looks as a village quarter with no visible boundaries may be considered as such... And by answering the question : “Which village are you from ?”, so far Taniis still identify themselves with one of the 7 original villages to which their respective clans originally belong. Thus, new settlements or census villages do not necessarily make villages which are relevant from a sociological point of view...

PB


Friday, February 15, 2008

How many Tanii villages are there ? (1)



What is the exact number of Tanii villages on Ziro plateau ?

At first sight it seems easy to answer this question : Tanii villages are not numerous ; they are also very compact and therefore easily distinguishable from one another.


Aerial view of Old Ziro

Many people assume that there are 7 Tanii villages or lemba, namely Bulla (Biila), Hari, Hong, Hija, Dutta, Mudang-Tage and Michi-Bamin, to which many now also add old Ziro. Those villages are clearly separated from one another by paddy-fields or bamboo groves, and each form a distinct geographical unit as well as a continuous area of habitation. When asked “Which village are you from ?”, most people will answer by the name of one of them only. And for organizing Myoko every year, the grouping of villages is also made according to this seven-fold division.

However, according to the 2001 Census there are not 7, but no less than…. 33 Apatani villages on the plateau...

Apatani villages according to the 2001 Census

NameHouses in 1991Houses in 2001Situation, date of foundation, origin of settlement
1
Abuya
?
58
along the road between Hapoli and Michi-Bamin. Mainly inhabited by people from Michi-Bamin
2
Bamin47
47
part of Michi-Bamin, original village. Situated between Hapoli and Old Ziro.
3
Bree11
11
situated between Hong, Mudang-Tage and Hapoli in the southern part of the valley. Already listed as separate village in the 1971 Census.
4
Bolya46
?
founded before the 70s, 10 houses in 1971
5
Byara111
?

6
Dilo-Polyang (Dilo-Palyang)6
3

7
Diko-Pita22
?
situated in a valley watered by the Kele river (south of Hong). Founded by families from Hong in 1966.
8
Dutta40
114
original village, close to Hija
9
Hakhe-Tari12


10
Hari
268
400
original village
11
Hija
372
381
original village. Situated on the north-western rim of the valley
12
Hong
472
503
original village. Situated on the south-eastern rim of the valley
13
Kalong
96
97
part of Bulla, original village
14
Keiliya (Keinlya)
6
3
close to Hija
15
Khangalia
?
6

16
Laji-Bogya
8


17
Lempia
108
134
separated from Bulla only by a small stream (Tajang Kiile). Founded by families of Tajang.
18
Mani Polyang16
33

19
Michi
60
43
part of Michi-Bamin, original village. Situated between Hapoli and Old Ziro, close to Hija.
20
Myolyang
17
?

21
Mudang-Tage
17 (?)
184
original village, close to Hija.
22
Nenchaliya (Nenchangyang)161
183
close to Old Ziro, along the air-field. Founded around 1970. Mixed settlement from Dutta and Hija.
23
Old Ziro
369
394
established in the early 1950s
24
Pangi
6


25
Reru
223
297
part of Bulla, original village
26
Sibe
26
84
between Hong and Michi-Bamin. Founded by 160 families from Michi-Bamin
27
Sibu
?
3
close to Hija. Founded by families from Hija who had first extended their cultivation there in 1950-51.
28
Siiro
27
100
situated in a valley watered by the Kele river (south of Hong). Founded by families from Hong in 1966.
29
Siya Piro
2
?

30
Tajang
131
131
part of Bulla, original village
31
Talley Valley
1
?
situated south-east of the Ziro Valley, at higher altitude.
32
Taring
16
5
situated beyong Siiro and Diko-Pita
33
Taw-Tibe
4
1

Apparently the geographical, administrative, and sociological definitions of the village do not coincide in Ziro … How can this be explained ?

The administrative conception of village is mostly geographical : a cluster of houses with locally recognized boundaries. The problem arises from the fact that a Tanii village is also a grouping of quarters or wards, each having definite boundaries, and each being inhabited by a specific clan (halu). Moreover, there does not seem to be any specific word in Tanii language to differentiate a quarter from a village : both are called "lemba". Thus Michi-Bamin is a lemba, but Michi alone, where members of the Michi clan reside is also a lemba, and so is Bamin, where members of the Bamin clan originally lived. Similarly but on a larger scale, Reru, Tajang and Kalong each constitutes one lemba, but so is the continuous conglomeration of houses that they form altogether, which is known as Bulla lemba. In addition, different quarters are often, though not always, separated one from another by lanes, streams bamboo groves or even fields.

Therefore, both villages and quarters are good candidates for being recognized by the administration as "villages", as soon as they are visibly separated one from another... This way a village and one of its peripheral quarters are often considered as constituting two separate entities. That is also why very small hamlets often appear in the Census (for eg. Tarin with only 5 houses) along with big villages of several hundreds houses such as Hong and Hari, all of them being listed as "villages".

This is the administrative point of view. In a next post we shall see how the division of the society in villages and quarters is considered by Taniis
themselves.
Hamlet on the outskirts of Hija

PB

Friday, February 8, 2008

Apatani language - Body parts 2 - the hand



The 5 fingers (lachi bungohe/lachi yangohe)
lanii : thumb
ladii : index finger
laso : middle finger
lanu : ring finger
lachi anyan : little finger


Other parts
lapyo : palm of the hand
lapin : back of the hand (not including fingers)

? : flat of the hand

lachi : finger
lachi mitu : fingertip
lahin/layin : finger nail
? : finger phalanx/segment
lachi paban : knuckle (
joint of the finger)
(lapyo daka) rinii : line of hand


Other words related to the hand
lapu : fist
langa : wrist
gyaye, gonge, siite : handful
lata : to open hand
lapu : to close hand
yulyin : to take one's hand out (eg. of one's pocket)
yuha : to put one's hand in (eg. one's pocket)

What most of these words have in common is their first syllable, LA-, from ALA, "hand". As already mentioned in an older post, the second syllable -or root- of the word ALA is used as a prefix for most words related to the hand, or depicting parts of the hand. This very typical feature of word construction in Tanii seems to be shared with other languages of the Tani family (Nyishi, Galo, Tagin, Miri, Adi, Mishing...). The words for 'left' and 'right' in Tanii, LACHI and LABI, are also constructed with this prefix. This implicitly suggests that the left/right distinction is made by reference to the left hand and right hand.

Measure words for expressing 'a handful' vary according to the context and action considered :

Apin gonge ahisiito => put one handful of (cooked) rice to the mouth !
Embin gonge piito pe => pick a handful of (husked) rice (for me) !
Apin gyaye gyato => throw a handful of (cooked) rice, or take a handful of rice (from some cookware) !
Endi siite je buto => unroot a handful of paddy !



Sunday, February 3, 2008

What is the price of SALT ???


We -the present generation of Taniis- are lucky enough to be living in this 21st century. Among today's basic commodities accessible to all is common salt, probably the only cheapest ever edible that everybody can afford. It sounds unbelievable but yet it seems to be true, just prior to the Second World War common salt was one of the costliest among all edible items available in Ziro plateau... And in those days when there were no road links from our plateau towards the plains, some among our Taniis forefathers (grandparents ?) used to travel down regularly by foot to the Brahmaputra valley in search of salt.

As our place is located at higher altitude, rock salt deposits do not often occur naturally. However, salt consumption is an indispensable necessity for all humans as the iodine it contains helps preventing a dysfunctioning of the thyroid gland known as goitre or goiter. A deficiency in iodine produces a swelling inside the neck just below Adam's Apple caused by hypertrophied thyroid glands. This phenomena, which is called Lanchu alin in Tanii, was widespread in the Himalayan region till the 50's, partly because the traditional diet of the populations did not incorporate other good sources of iodine such as sea-food or plants grown on iodine-rich soil, and was heavily dependent of traded salt.


Though our Tanii forefathers were probably unaware of the existence of the link between salt consumption and goiter, they were eagerly looking for salt for its taste alone, and were ready to spare their last penny for an ounce of it. I guess, scarcity of salt in the region must have also enhanced their taste for that substance. Some Taniis were in the habit of going every year to the Assamese plains near North Lakhimpur. There they bought salt cheaply, not only for their own use but also for resale to their neighbours further in the interior, especially Nyishis and Miris by making some profit. It really sounds unbelievable when a handful of salt used to be sold at the cost of one full grown mithun... In the absence of roads a commercial journey to the plains was usually a matter of 5-6 day trek through precipitous hill country. This was done in winter, mostly by men and boys. Interestingly, it seems that not all Taniis were involved in these barter deals. Anthropologist Fürer-Haimendorf has noted that prior to 1940 people who ventured to the plain were typically poor people attempting to better their social position by trade in goods : "Men of wealth and good status never went to the plains and when I first arrived in the Apa Tani country [1944] I found that none of the clan-headmen have ever left the hills" (1980 : 63). Interestingly also, Haimendorf reports that salt was bartered in exchange for chillies of a particular large variety which were sought-after in the plains.

The traditional importance of salt among Taniis can be seen even today from the custom of gifting a handful of salt to buniin ajin during Myoko ajin gyonii ceremony. This practice reminds us that, untill a few decades ago, a handful of common salt was among the most precious items to be gifted to near and dear ones.

TAPYO
Despite the scarcity of natural salt in the surroundings of Ziro -or maybe because of it, Tanii people were gifted with the knowledge of producing a salt substitute in the form of a salty substance from the ash of leafy plants. This man-made salt cake is locally known as TAPYO. Various sources disagree on the composition of this substance. According to my knowledge it is obtained from the filtered water of millet plant ash. The process involves long preparations : one first has to dry the left over of millet plants after harvesting, reduce it to ashes and then filter it with water; this filtered ash juice is then condensed into solid form by heating it thoroughly on the frying fan at high temperature. This way it takes a long time to make one full cake of TAPYO. According to some authors TAPYO is made out of the ash juice of three wild plants mixed together. Whatever it may be, it is likely that this locally-made salt is an effective agent against goiter, and apparently people consuming it on a regular basis have never been found suffering from it.

The manufacture of TAPYO is an age-old tradition of Taniis, and over time the substance has also become one of their favourite delicacies. TAPYO is most popularly used during important occasions such as MURUN, MYOKO and MIDA. It is a well established Tanii custom to welcome a guest with a piece of TAPYO during such said occasions, and TAPYO is also used as an apetizer at drinking parties. Depending on the process of its making it can taste differently. The best TAPYO taste can bring tremendous pleasure within guests which directly enhances the happiness of celebrations. This way TAPYO constitutes one of the most important items found in a typical Tanii household. Salt cakes are generally made by women folks.

Well made TAPYO cakes can last for quite a long time, stored for smoking on the rack located above the fireplace in Tanii interiors. Usually the salty substance is kept wrapped into a particular kind of leaf available in wild forested areas.
(Photo from Tanii Aju -by Gyati kobing)

Thinking about those days of our forefathers, when the price of salt was highest ever, I feel lucky to be living in present time. At least we can avail ourselves with common edible salt at cheaper rate. Bygone days were harder... but the scarcity of common salt in our place has also given birth to a very unique technique for producing a vegetable salt substitute.


Saturday, February 2, 2008

Counting in Tanii... Apatani numeral system 2


In a previous post an attempt was made to introduce the numeral system when counting abstractly, without a particular object in view. Here numbers will be considered when they are used for quantifying things, objects or animate beings. We have tried our best to organize this post in a comprehensible manner. We're not quite sure of the result however, so “please dear Tanii readers”, don’t hesitate to point out confusions or mistakes.



In Tanii the numeral always follows the noun
(whereas in Hindi or English it usually precedes the noun).

As a rule it is not possible simply to associate a numeral with a noun, as we do for eg. in English when we say “two cars”, “three bottles”. An appropriate compound form is required.

[There are very few exceptions where the noun can be followed directly by the numeral, eg. miyu kone (1 person, literally 'human/person-one'), ganda anye (2 places, lit. place-two) etc.]

How is this compounding form constructed ?

Here there are 2 possibilities :

- 1°) REDUPLICATION : the second syllable of the noun is reduplicated, and followed by the numeral (contracted form, see previous post).

Examples :

prefix
root
reduplicated rootnumeral (compound form)
a-
ki
ki-he/-yeaki kihe/kiye
(one dog)
pii-haha-nyepiiha hanye
(two baskets)
pa-chuchu-hinhepachu chuhinhe
(three chicken)
a-lolo-khiialo lokhii
(six days)


See for eg. the way dogs are counted in Tanii :

a-ki
ki-
he/ye
1 dog
a-ki .
ki-
nye
2 dogs
a-ki
ki-
hinhe .
3 dogs
a-ki
ki-
phe/pe
4 dogs
a-ki
ki-
ngo
5 dogs
a-ki
ki-
khe
6 dogs
a-ki
ki-kanuhe (or kukanuhe)
7 dogs
a-ki
ki-pinye
8 dogs
a-ki
ki-kowahe (or kukowahe) .(o(r ki
9 dogs
a-ki
ki-
lyanhe
10 dogs

- 2°) CLASSIFIER : in place of the reduplicated syllable, a monosyllabic word called "classifier" or "measure word" is inserted. The classifier follows the noun, and in turn is followed by the numeral. The selection of a particular classifier depends of the type of object considered, its shape, size, etc., as will be explained below.

Examples :

prefixrootclassifiernumeral
(compound form)

ta-
bu
so
-he

tabu sohe

(one snake)
a-labu-nye

ala bunye

(two hands)
su-budor-phesubu dorphe
(four mithuns)

These two constructions are exclusive. If a classifier is required, then it is not convenient to resort to reduplication. Reciprocally where replication is expected the use of a classifier becomes inappropriate. But the use of one of these two compounding forms is mandatory for counting ALL things or objects (except very few cases).


There are also 2 ways for counting in reference to a particular object, which slightly differ. The first one is used in enumeration only, for eg. when someones is mentally counting an object : 1,2,3,4,5,6,7... and so on. The second one is used in the general case, i.e. each time the numeral indicates a number of objects, or a number of units, especially in compouding forms using reduplicated roots or classifiers. The main difference between the two lies in the presence or absence of a suffixe (-he or -e) added to the numeral.

Thus, for counting humans :


Enumeration only .
Specifying a number
of objects or units

1 . .
kunako/ kone
2
anyianye
3
hinghinhe
4
piilyipiilye
5
yangoyangohe
6
khiikhiihe
7
kanukanuhe
8
pinyipinye
9
kowakowahe
10
alyanalyanhe

Or for counting rupees (tiiko, using the classifier bar-) :


Enumeration only .
Specifying a number
of objects or units

1 . .
barkunbare
2
barnyibarnye
3
barhinbarhinghe
4
barpibarphe
5
barngobarngohe
6
barkhiibarkhe
7
barkanubarkanuhe
8
barpinyibarpinye
9
barkowabarkowahe
10
barlyanbarlyanhe



Now let's have a closer look at the classifiers. Tanii, like all the languages of the Tani group, possesses a large inventory of classifiers. Classifiers never appear alone, but always associated to a number or a root of a noun. Similarly numbers rarely appear without being attached to a classifier or a root.

1°) Core classifiers :


Classifier
Type of objects

Examples

1
BAR1. round and flat objects; 2. months (in Tanii the same word, piilo, is used for denoting the 'moon' and the 'lunar month'; since the moon is considered as a round and flat object, so is the month)

tiiko bare = 1 rupee kiidi barnye = 2 plots of land

2
BU1 long cylindrical objects (eg. legs, trees, sticks, pillars, beams, bamboo stems, fingers, etc.); 2. hands; 3. spherical objects of rather big size, eg.bije buhe = 1 piece or stem of bamboo
ala bunye
= 2 hands
sanii buhinhe = 3 trees
lachi bungohe = 5 fingers
3
BYAflowers, roads

lena byaye (byahe) = 1 road

apu byanye = 2 flowers
4
BYARclothestarii byarnye = 2 shirts
5
CHANpots, pans, kitchen ustensils
change = 1 pan
6
DORfour legged animals, four wheel vehicles

subu dore = 1 mithun

gari dornye = 2 cars
7
GARpaddy fieldsaji gare = 1 paddy-field
8
GOmouths, words
agun gonye = 2 mouths, 2 words
9
HAsteps (of ladders, staircases, etc.)
haka hahe = 1 step
10
KObowls, banglespaka konye = 2 bowls
chanko kohe = one pan
11
LYO
types, kinds, varieties
agun lyohe/lyoye = 2 types of languages
12
NGObamboo groves, gardensbije ngonye = 2 bamboo groves
13
PEN1. houses: 2. verses of ayu (traditional song)

ude penge : 1 house

14
PO1. cylindrical objects, 2. yarns, threads, 3. tasks to be performed

hapo pohe/poye = 1 bucket
tano ponye
= 2 yarns
bottle pohinhe
= 3 bottles

15
PUspherical objects (of rather medium size, eg. fruits)tiinga punye = 2 lemons
16
PYAR1. small round objects (beads, particles of soil, etc.); 2. plots of land tasang pyarhinghe = 3 beads
17
RONseasons, generations, doses, time, fold, etc.diitun ronge = 1 dose
ronye = twice
myodu romphe = 4 seasons
18
SOelongated and slender things

dimu soye = 1 hair
ngihi sonye = 2 fishes
tabu sohinhe = 3 snakes
taru sophe = 4 ropes

19
TAflat and thin objects, materials : papers, etc.

yanii tahe/taye = 1 leaf

pota tanye = 2 sheets of paper
kheta (kitab) tangohe = 5 books
20
U
1. times (as number of actions performed at one given occasion); 2. holes (in a cloth)
ubu unye = 2 holes (in a cloth)


Note the irregularity of the construction for ‘one’, which varies according to the classifier :

BYA, CHAN, GO, RONBAR, BYAR, DOR, GAR, PYARBU, KO, PO, PU, SO, TA

byange
cha
nge
gonge
penge

ronge

bare
byare
dore
gare

pyare

buhe/ buye
kohe/ ko
ye
po
he/poye
puhe/pu
ye
so
he/soye

tahe/taye




Other numerals are regular.

2°) Others

In addition to these clore classifiers, there are other sets of "measure words" that are used for counting in the very much same way as classifiers, although the range of application for each is usually much more limited. These are words denoting : 1. Quantities from containers; 2. Collections or arrangements of objects; 3. Measures (of space, time, weight, etc.).

a) containers

These can be called ‘containers classifiers’. Originally they are nouns denoting types of containers, whose second syllable serves to quantify units of amount that they hold. For example TUR, from turla (mug) is used to count small volumes of water or beer contained in small receptacles (mugs, cups, ...).

Classifier
Original noun
Objects countedExample
DUsudu = bamboo container
liquid units contained in various types of bamboo containers

GII
yagii = basket
traditional units for evaluating yields of paddy-fields (eq. to about 35 kgs)
yagii giihe/giiye = 1 basket unit
KUpaku = plate
plates (as quantities)
paku kunye = 2 plates
JUyaju = rice or millet beer ladlemeasures of liquid contained in one ladle (yaju)
o juhinhe = 3 ladles of beer
PAR
yaper = mortar
measures of flour/paste contained in one mortar (yaper)
pare = 1 mortar (as quantity)
TURturla = mugmeasures of liquid contained in one mug (turla) or cupture = one (mug, cup, etc.)

Again, note the irregular forms for 'one' : ture, change, duhe/duye

Note also the difference between :
  • punyu sohinhe : 3 spoons counted as collection of objects
  • punyu nyuhinhe : 3 spoons counted as quantities = 3 spoonfuls


b) collections, arrangements

These are used to denote collections of one particular arrangement of the same object.

Classifier
Original noun
Collection/Arrangement type
Example
HORhorto (tano horto = yarn thread)
sheaves/bundles of threadtano hornye = two sheaves of thread
KHOyakho = small sticksticksyakho khohe/khoye = one stick
NGAanga = sheafbundles, sheaves
apu ngaye = 1 bundle of flowers
PYU

unknownbunches (eg. of keys)sabe pyunge = 1 bunch/bundle of keys
RAyara = cane basket made used by males for fetching firewood
bundles (esp. of firewood)yasan rahinghe = 3 bundles of firewood
RII
(bije) arii = meaning unknown
bundles (esp. of bamboo)bije riihe/riiye = one bundle of bamboos
TO
unknown
team, flock, group
piita tonge = a flock of birds
YOR
possibly yorgan = mountain range or ridge
row (eg. fences)
yorgan yore = one mountain range
narun yornye = two rows of bamboo fence


c) measures
These are words expressing various units of length, size, weight, time... A few examples are given below :

Classifier
Original noun
Unit
Example
DA
possibly dalin = to walk (out)
steps
dahe/daye = one step (by walking)
Ipossibly iche = night gap
nightsinye = 2 nights
LO
alo = daydayslohinhe = 3 days
TU
turla = bamboo mug
turla (which contains
approximately one liter
and is taken as a rough
measure for one kilogram
tuhe, tungo = 1kg, 5 kgs


Adjectives indicating big/small, wide/narrow, large, etc. can also be expressed by means of classifiers. In place of a numeral, a classifier can be followed by two adjectives only, –ro and –nyo. –ro can be roughly considered as meaning “big/large” in terms of size, volume or quantity, and –nyo, which is the antonym, as small, also in terms of in terms of size, volume or quantity. But being combined with classifiers, their specific meaning depends in fact of the category considered. Thus buro which applies to spherical objects means ‘big’. But soro applying to long, slender objects means ‘long’, and taro applying to flat and thin objects means wide.
Similarly, bunyo means ‘small’, sonyo ‘short’, and tanyo when applied to certain objects can mean 'narrow', eg. lena tanyo = narrow road (as opposed to lena taro = large/wide road).

Similarly, note the difference between :
  • Tabu soro doke : the snake is long
  • Tabu buro doke : the snake is big