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Anthropology of religion
Norfolk Island St Barnabas Chapel.jpg
Norfolk Island Melanesian Chapel
Social and cultural anthropology

Mana, in Austronesian languages, means "power", "effectiveness", and "prestige". In most cases, this power and its source are understood to be supernatural and inexplicable.[1] Its semantics are language-dependent. The concept is significant in Polynesian culture and is part of contemporary Pacific Islander culture; it came to the attention of Western anthropologists through reports from island missionaries. Its study was included in cultural anthropology—specifically, the anthropology of religion.


According to the POLLEX Project,[2] a protoform (an ancestral form of a word) for "mana"—noted in historical-linguistic convention as *mana-"—existed in Proto-Oceanic, the precursor of many Pacific languages. Although the path through the tree from Proto-Oceanic to a specific language is not always clear, the word and concept are thousands of years old. According to linguist Robert Blust, "mana" means "thunder, storm, or wind" in some languages. Blust hypothesized that the term originally meant "powerful forces of nature such as thunder and storm winds" that were conceived as the expression of an unseen supernatural agency. As Oceanic-speaking peoples spread eastward, the notion of an unseen supernatural agency became detached from the physical forces of nature that had inspired it and assumed a life of its own.[3]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Mana
čeština: Mana (energie)
dansk: Mana
한국어: 마나
Bahasa Indonesia: Mana
italiano: Mana
Latina: Mana
lietuvių: Maginė energija
македонски: Мана
Nederlands: Mana (mythologie)
日本語: マナ
português: Mana (magia)
русский: Мана (магия)
slovenčina: Mana (mytológia)
українська: Мана (магія)
中文: 瑪那