Kurtatchi - Orientation

Identification. Strictly speaking, the name "Kurtatchi" refers to a single village, the subject in 1930 of a classic Ethnographic study by Beatrice Blackwood. Modern usage would suggest designating the people by the language they speak, Tinputz.

Location. Tinputz speakers occupy part of the northern-most portion of the island of Bougainville, near the passage separating Bougainville from Buka Island, approximately 5° S and 154° E. The area ranges from sea level to about 100 meters above, in moderately high relief; the characteristic slope is one of high gradient. Temperatures range from 22° to 32° C, and 250 to 300 centimeters of rain are more or less evenly distributed throughout the year.

Demography. In 1930, Kurtatchi village contained 136 people. The entire population of Bougainville before European contact has been estimated at 45,000. In 1963, there were an estimated 1,390 Tinputz speakers. There has been a sharp increase in Bougainville's population since that time.

Linguistic Affiliation. Tinputz forms a family with Teop and Hahon; together with the Petats, Banoni, and Torau families and the Nissan and Nahoa languages, they are part of the Bougainville Austronesian Stock. Today, most younger people also speak Tok Pisin, the lingua franca of Papua New Guinea, or English.

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