May 24, 2012

Nomo ba fan

Just thought I'd share I nice little Kriol turn-of-phrase from yesterday:

Me and three of the Marra gang I work with in Ngukurr travelled to Numbulwar for the day to meet up with the old people there who speak Marra. The wet season is officially over, but on the three-hour drive to Numbulwar we were surprised to find out that there had been quite a bit of rain on the road overnight and a large section had turned to mush. My 4WD slid its way through the mud and got us to the other side but it was pretty hairy.

After a few hours in Numbulwar we noticed clouds developing again (In Marra: mala gana durn-garlindu = clouds are rising/moving) and my baba remarked:
Yu luk dis kloud, im gaman-gaman nomo ba fan. Ba rein im gaman.   
Look at these clouds, they're coming not for fun. For rain, they are coming.
Well said, baba.

So we anxiously took off back to Ngukurr earlier than planned and fortunately the slushy part of the road had dried off a bit and then apparently it poured with rain at Numbulwar last night.

My baba was right: nomo ba fun, those clouds came.


bulanjdjan said...

Would be interesting to investigate the difference between 'nomo ba fan' and 'gammon'.

(Also, what's the proper spelling for gammon? I want to spell it gaman (I'm not convinced the second vowel is /o/), but then, this is the same spelling as gaman arrive, which has longer vowels, which typically aren't marked orthographically...

wamut said...

As far as I can tell 'geman' has a lot to do with evidentiality. I sometimes gloss it as 'supposedly'. 'nomo ba fan' doesn't have that function.