February 19, 2007

a bit of waagilak

This one's for you mami.

My waawa BW and muluri AP were hanging around a bit today and BW asked about SN. AP translated my reply into Waagilak:

(note: i haven't checked my spelling and don't know how to put in Yolngu matha characters either. forgive!)

Banggul'yurru ngay ngulbitj dhang, ngarndimuya
(She's coming back cold season time, your mother).

Then BW and AP told me what to say next:

Barri ngay banggul'yurru babang' mirri nu
(Might be she's coming back with your father) (That is, she might be bringing back a husband)

And we all chuckled.

Then the next bit was for my privelege:

Ngarra ya yang'ngaraya nhina na baman'nu, birr
(I've stayed here for a long time now, shit.)

Ngarraya barri matha mirri nu banggul'yurru.
(I might go back speaking language.)

Too deadly eh? Thanks guys. :-)


Claire said...

Dhäpirrk! Latju dhawu!

(Ŋarra wukirri Yan-nhaŋumurru.)

Nhunu marŋgi Keymangu? Ŋarra baka yantaguwa nhuŋku wukirribu wuguḻi ("keyboard layout"), Keymanbu (mathawuy wukirriwuy).

Nhäway Wägilakpu "matha" ga "mirri" märrma' yän? Nhaŋu wukirribu or waŋanarabu?

nginarra said...


help! please explain. :-(

bulbul said...

So birr can be used as an expletive?

nginarra said...


I'm not sure. The dictionary says birr is a time and locational intensifier. It might be like saying "I've stayed here for a bloody long time now". But BW translated it as 'shit' - not really as a swear word, but just as added emphasis to what's being said.

Oh and I checked my spelling, and was pleasantly surprised at my accuracy. Here's my booboos:

babang' should be baapang'
dhang should be thang and
nhina should be nhena.

The only thing I majorly stuffed up was putting in too many spaces. Here's my edited version:

Banggul'yurru ngay ngulbitjthang, ngarndimuya.
Barri ngay banggul'yurru baapang'mirrinu.
Ngarraya yang'ngaraya nhenana baman'nu, birr.
Ngarraya barri mathamirrinu banggul'yurru.

(Does this look right now anyone?)

But I still don't know how to use the proper Yolngu characters. :-(

Claire said...

[evil blogger comments deleted my comment, I think.]

Here's an interlinear translation.

Dhäpirrk! Latju dhawu!
Fan-bloody-tastic! That's a great story.

(Ŋarra wukirri Yan-nhaŋumurru.)
I'm writing in Yan-nhangu.

Nhunu marŋgi Keymangu?
Do you know about Keyman?

Ŋarra baka yantaguwa nhuŋku wukirribu wuguḻi ("keyboard layout"), Keymanbu (mathawuy wukirriwuy).

I can send you a keyboard layout for Keyman (to write Language) [I said "keyboard image" but yänbu djimuku language tool would probably have been better.]

Nhäway Wägilakpu "matha" ga "mirri" märrma' yän? Nhaŋu wukirribu or waŋanarabu?
[You answered this already] Why in Wägilak are "matha" [language] and "mirri" [proprietive 'suffix'] two words? Is this a writing thing or do people say them as two words?

bulbul said...

Thnx for the explanation, both of you.
So apparently in Yan-nhangu

Ŋarra = I
Nhunu = you (Nominative, or perhaps Ergative?)
nhuŋku = you (Dative)
-urru = the case suffix indicating a language ("in X", like Finnish Translative case suffix -ksi in "suomeksi" - in Finnish, "englanniksi" - in English)
-pu/-bu = Genitive?
-gu = obviously meaning "about" here, but probably a case suffix (again, I have to think of Finnish Elative "-sta" also meaning "about", as in "tietoja euroopan uniosta" = information about EU)
yän = word, language

So how far off am I? :o)

Anonymous said...

evil eating blogger comments, twice in this post!

bulbul, you did well!

yän, nhunu and nhuŋku are right (it's nominative).

It's -murru, and it's technically the perlative case. It's used for talking about "in a language", and also "through X", "along X".

-pu/-bu is the 'associative', it's used for things like "marine fish" (water-pu fish) and stories "about" something (ŋumun'pu dhawal (something-pu story)) It's also used for denizen marking (e.g. I'm Canberra-bu, a Canberran).

-gu/-ku is the dative; marŋgi 'know' takes dative objects.