1. sickness, disease, illness

  • Em i sik.
    He is sick.
  • Em i sik nogut tru.
    He is really very very sick.
  • sik nogut a contagious disease
  • sik bilong mun menstruation (also sik mun)
  • Taim ol i kisim sik mun, ol meri i go stap insait long haus meri.
    Menstruating women stay in the women’s house.
  • sik bilong natnat malaria (also malaria)
  • sik bilong ples disease caused by social disharmony or sorcery (also sik bilong graun)

2. to be sick, to be ill

  • Mi sik nogut tru.
    I am seriously ill.


Koka divides illnesses into 3 main classifications:

Sik bilong ples: “illness of the village”, refers to illnesses caused
by spirits, posin (sorcery) and witchcraft. Diseases that cause
chronic illness and death are usually associated with sorcery.

Sik nating: “just an illness”, refers to illnesses that are not
attributed to the supernatural, e.g., common cold, diarrhea and
fever, from which people usually recover without treatment.

Sik bilong waitman: “illness of the White man”, refers to illnesses
believed to be introduced as a result of western contact, e.g.,
diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Ref: Betty E. Koka, Traditional medicine in Papua New Guinea: Cultural
Beliefs and Practices (2004). In: Traditional Medicine in Papua New
Guinea: Proceedings of the National Workshop on Policy and Practices,
28th-30th July, 2004, Port Moresby (Prem P. Rai, ed.), pp. 55-60.

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