Chovepo Elesikile

The Hiaki phrase chovepo elesikile means something like “(his) butt is itchy”, however, the phrase is used to communicate a slightly different message. Chove means “butt”, -po specifies the location, and elesikile is “itchy”, so the phrase translates to something like “(He’s) itchy on the rear”, but when someone says chovepo elesikile, what they really mean is that it’s going to rain. This is because, to the Hiaki, the sight of someone scratching their rear end is a sign that it will soon rain. So, if you see someone scratching their rear, all you really need to say is Yukvae!, which means “it’s going to rain”. If somebody who didn’t see what you saw is standing nearby and hears you say Yukvae!, they could ask Haisa empo hu’unea?, which means “how do you know?”. Then, you could simply say Hunu’u chovepo elesikile, which means “that one has an itchy butt”. You could also reply with Hunu’u chovepo au wo’oke, meaning “S/he’s scratching his/her butt”, though either response would convey the same message.

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