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Prose Selection
from Spoken Marshallese

Ilomej. - At time of death. [SM19]

Ñe juon armej ej mej ilo aelōñ in Ṃajeḷ, men in ej juon iien kwelọk tok an ro nukun, ro jeran, im aolep ro rejeḷā kajjien. Rej bōktok men in leḷọk ko. Men kein rej joob, jāān, ṃōttan nuknuk, im men ko āierḷọkwōt. Men kein rej kōjerbali ñan iien eoreak, jiljino raan ālikin an armej eṇ mej im iien eo rej tōmak bwe ri-mej eṇ ej jerkakpeje. Ṃweiuk kein rej likūt ioon lōb eo ñan an armej tōptōp. Ālikin eoreak eor kejota in kōjeṃḷọk iien būromej eṇ ñan armej eṇ.
When someone dies in the Marshalls, this is a time for the coming together of their family, friends, and everyone who knew them. They bring gifts. These are things like soap, coins, articles of clothing, and other such things. These things are used for the time of “spreading the gravel,” six days after the time of death, when they believe that the dead rise. These gifts are laid on the grave as gifts for the people to take home. After the spreading of the gravel, there is an evening meal to bring to an end the time of mourning.