NAIDOC 2017 — Diyari yawarra mara warra

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Five and the end of the story (click to see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Five


Mayi, yini matyamatha yini?
Kawu, matya nganhi.
Ngurrungurrulha.
Wardayari yundru nhayirna warayi?
Nhungkanguwa ngathu nhayinhayiyi, thurru yarkiyarkitharrirnanhi.
Ngayana wapayi nhungkangu.
Warrangantyunhi ngathu nhaka nhinha nhayinhayiyi, thurrutha yarkirnanhi.
Ngardanhi thana wapayi, dityi parlpa thuraralha.
Nhingkiyamatha ngathu nhayiyatha.
Pani nhawuya.
Pakurnatha nhinha mitha.
Warulha nhawuya.
Thurararna, yirtyilha.
Ngardanhi, mitha thurruthurruku nhawuya.
Dityi kurnulha nhawuya kanya thurruthurru.
Waparna again, thurararna parlkarna.
Matyaku nhawuya.
Thurruthurru ngalyi kanya thurruthurru.
Thinali waparna again.
Matyaku nhawuya.
Thurruthurru marla.
Pirla nhawuya matya marramarratharriyilhaku.
Matyatha yarkiyilhaku nhawu thurru.
Matya thana waparna.
Nhawuyaku nguratha.
Nhawuyaku nguratha warrithandru nhayingarna.
Waparnarlu, nguraya waparnarlu, thurru manirnanhi kakuyali kardiyali, ngura kurralha, thuraralha.
Matya thana wakararna parlkayi nguranhi, kardiyalitha thurrutha ngankarnanhi, katulha ngankarnanhi.
Mayi, minhanhi wakarayi.
Warararnakuyi yula nhinhaya kanku, marlarlu yula pardakarna nhinha, yula warararna.
Minhandrulha?
Nhaka pulanha nandrayi then, nhiyi mandruyali kakutha ngathatatha nandrarna nhaka ngathatatha karditha.
Nharingankarna kurrayi.
Matya murdayi.

English Translation

“Well, are you alright?” (the older brothers asked the younger brother)
“Yes, I am alright.” (the younger brother replied)
“(I’m) strong now.”
“Where did you see (them)?” (they asked him)
“Over that way I saw the fire burning.”
“Let’s go over there.”
“On the left there I saw the fire burning.” (said the younger brother)
Then they went (along) and slept for some days.
“It’s here that I saw them.” (said the younger brother)
“There is nothing here.” (they said)
(They) dug the ground (where the fire had been).
“This (campsite) is old.”
(They) slept and got up.
Then, “This is hot ground” (they said)
“These hot ashes are one day old.”
(They) went on again, sleeping as they went along.
“This is it here!”
“These hot ashes are a little hotter.”
(They) went on foot again.
“This is it here!” (they shouted)
“It’s very hot.”
“These coals are glowing alright.”
“This fire has just been burning.”
So they went on.
“This is the camp!”
“(I) saw this camp from far away.” (said the younger brother)
(They) kept going, going to the camp where the sister and brother-in-law were getting wood to make a camp to sleep.
So they came to the camp as the brother-in-law was making a fire (and) making a windbreak.
“Well, why have (you) come?” (he asked them)
“You left this boy, bringing him along (and) leaving him.” (said the older brothers)
“Why?” (they asked)
Then (they) hit them two there, the two elder brothers hit the sister and the young one, young brother-in-law.
(They) killed (both of them).
That’s the finish.

NAIDOC 2017 — Diyari yawarra mandru-mandru

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Four of the story (click to see Part One, Part Two and Part Three). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Four


Thurararna, thangkuthangkuparna wapalha, dityitha yarlawa nhawu durnkarnanthu, waparnanhilha.
Pula wapayi.
Dityi parlpa thurararna parlkayi.
Ngardanhi nhayiyi.
Minha nhawuparrawu?
Ngathata nhawumatha.
Kardiyali kakuyali warararna wanthiyi.
Nhawuwa ngathangathata ngaldrarniyi.
Minhangankalha nganayi ngaldra nhinha?
Warrurirna tharriyi nhawu.
Payali nhinha kunalkarna warrayi.
Warrulha nhawu ngamangamayi pirta miri.
Minhangankalha nganayi ngaldra?
Mirimiri marla nhawuparra.
Minha yini?
Nganhi warrangantyu.
Nganhi ngarla ngunyari.
Kurnutha yatharna wanthiyi.
Mayi, ngaldra nhinha yinkamatha minhayangankalha.
Nhinha payirringankalha ngaldra.
Ngardanhi pulali warayi yinka, wararna nhungkangu kankunhi.
Nhulu ngardanhi pardayi yinka.
Ngardanhi nhawu ngariyi yinkanhi, warrulha warrulha ngarirna, pulali parrumarna ngarirnanhi.
Mayi, kiralha manirna wanthiyi pulali, nandranandralhatha nhinha.
Warru, kuna, paya kuna.
Minhangankarna wanthiyi kakuyali kardiyali yinha?
Kunali thuriparna wanthiyi yinanha, pardakarna wanthirna yinanha, warararna thikalha.
Ngardanhi marniyali wirripayi pulali.
Ngardanhi thurarayi, thangkuthangkuparna wapalha.

English Translation

(They) slept to go in the morning, going before the sun had come up over there
They went.
(They) slept on their journey for some days.
Then (they) saw (something).
“What’s that?”
“That’s (our) younger brother”
“(Our) brother-in-law and sister left (him) long ago.”
“He’s our little younger brother!”
“What shall we do with him?”
“He has become all white.”
“The birds have shat on him.”
“He is sitting all white at the top of the tree.”
“What shall we do?”
“He is right at the very top.”
“What are you?”
“I am left-handed.”
“But I am right-handed.”
One of them said.
“Well, let’s make this string something or other.”
“Let’s make it long.”
Then the two of them threw the string, throwing (it) to the boy.
Then he caught the string.
Then he came down on the string, all white, white coming down as the two of them pulled (him) down.
Well, they got a boomerang and hit him all over.
White, faeces, bird faeces (came flying off).
“What did (our) elder sister and brother-in-law do to you?”
“They poured shit all over you, having brought you (here) to leave you as they went back.”
Then they painted (him) with fat.
Then (they) slept to go in the morning.

<To be continued …>

NAIDOC 2017 — kupaya wima

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we are presenting a traditional story in the Dieri language in five parts. Today, we provide an additional blog post: a children’s song. The song uses the tune of Frère Jacques (“Brother John, are you sleeping?”) and the words are adapted from the English children’s rhyme “Where is Thumbkin?” (see here). Instead of introducing the names for fingers, the Dieri song uses the names of close relatives, such as ‘mother’, ‘father’, ‘elder sister’, ‘mother’s mother’ etc. (we call these kinship terms and they are discussed in a previous post). The words were translated by Greg Wilson and Rene Warren, and this recording was made at a Dieri Aboriginal Corporation workshop in Port Augusta in March 2013.

Words of song

Wirdirdi ngandri
Wirdirdi ngandri
Nganhi nhingkirda
Nganhi nhingkirda
Wardaru yidni?
Nganhi matya manyu
Nganhi wapayilha

English translation

Where is mother?
Where is mother?
Here I am.
Here I am.
How are you?
I’m very well.
I’m going now.

In place of ngandri you can use another kinship term. Here is the next verse with kaku ‘older sister’ instead of ngandri ‘mother.

Notice that Dieri distinguishes older brother and sister from younger siblings, and also has four terms for grandparents, depending on whether it’s father’s mother/father or mother’s mother/father. Here is a list of terms you can use:

ngapiri ‘father’
kaku ‘elder sister’
nhiyi ‘elder brother’
ngathata ‘younger brother, younger sister’
kaka ‘uncle, mother’s brother’
papa ‘aunt, father’s sister’
kadnhini ‘grandmother, mother’s mother’
kami ‘grandmother, father’s mother’
ngardarda ‘grandfather, mother’s father’
yanku ‘grandfather, father’s father’

NAIDOC Diyari yawarra parkulu

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Three of the story (click to see Part One and Part Two). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Three


Kanku yindrayi, pula warritharlu waparnanhi, nhayirna nhulu pulanha pirta mirindru warritha.
Ngardanhi nhulu nhayiyi.
Aa nhawuwaku thurru yarkiyarkitharriyi warritha.
Thinkanhi nhulu nhayiyi paratyi, thurru yarkiyarkitharrirnanhi.
Thangkuthangkuparna nhayirna thupu.
Kakuya kardiya thurru yarkiyi nhawuka warritha.
Nhayirna karakara first thurru nhulu pularni, wardayari pula thurararna parlkarnanhi, thupu nhayirna thangkuthangkuparna.
Ngarda nhulu pulurlu nhayiyi then thurru, warrithalha pula waparnanhi, dityi marapu ngamarna nhaka nhawu.
Ngardanhi payali nhinha kunali thuripayi pirta miri, karrawarali kawalka-li thuriparna, warrulha ngamangamatharrirnanthu nhawu.
Ngardanhi pulurlu nhayiyi.
Ngardanhi kankuya nhiyi mandru pula wapayi.
Mandra malhantyi nganayi.
Kurnu yathayi.
Minhariyiku ngaldrarni ngathata.
Ngaldra mayi wapayi thangkuparna, nhayilha.
Yundru ngantyayi, wapalha, waninthilha ngaldra?.
Kawu.
Yathayi pula.

English Translation

The boy cried as they went further and further, watching them in the distance from the top of the tree.
Then he saw.
“Oh, that must be the fire burning far off.”
In the night he saw the light of the fire burning.
In the morning (he) saw the smoke.
“That is my sister and brother-in-law’s fire burning far off.”
At first (he) saw their fire close by where they were sleeping as they went along, watching the smoke in the morning.
Then he could not see the fire any longer, because they had gone too far away as he sat there for many days.
The birds poured shit all over him at the top of the tree, the eaglehawk and crow pouring it over him, so that he sat all white now.
Then (he) couldn’t see any more.
Then the boy’s two elder brothers were walking about.
“(My) stomach is upset”
One said.
“Something must have happened to our younger brother?”
“Let’s go tomorrow to see (him).”
“Do you want to go so we can follow after (him)?”
“Yes”
They said.

<To be continued …>

NAIDOC 2017 Dieri yawarra mandru

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Two of the story (click to see Part One). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Two


Kardiyali wama dukarayi.
Ya malthingankarna.
Nhungkarni nhuwa yathayi.
Ngali kankuyali mawali nganayi.
Thariyali kalapayi.
Walya karlkalumayi, nganthi malthirirnanthu.
Pula kuthariyi.
Thariyali nganthi wardungankarna, thariyali waniyi, thayilha.
Ngardanhi yingkiyi, nhuwa nhungkarnali thayirnanthu.
Kakuyali kanku yingkiyi nganthi, nhinha thayirnanthu.
Ngardanhi nhungkarni kardi mara wirriyi, dukaralha nhungkangundru marnandru.
Yaruya nhawu kanku mawali nganayi.
Kakuyali ngardanhi kurukuru yingkiyi nhinha nhangkarni ngathata kanku.
Kardiyali marla dukarayi.
Ngardanhi thana yirtyiyi, wapalha.
Ngardanhi thana paya kuparru nhayiyi.
Kardi yathayi kankunhi, patharanhi karirnanthu.
Miri kariyamayi warlaya, kapi manilha.
Ngarda nhawu kanku kathiyi, pirta ngarla miririrna thararnanhi.
Nhawu miritha tharingarna tharriyi.
Ngarda pula waparna kurrayi.

English Translation

The brother-in-law took out some carpet snake (from the fire).
And cooled (it).
His wife said.
“We two are hungry, the boy and I.”
The young man answered (her).
“You two wait a while for the meat to cool down!”
Breaking up the meat, the young man began to eat (it).
Then he gave (some meat) to his wife to eat.
The elder sister gave the boy meat to eat.
Then his brother-in-law’s hand went in and took (it) out of his mouth.
Thus the boy was hungry.
Then the elder sister secretly gave (some meat) to her younger brother.
The brother-in-law took more (meat) out (of the boy’s mouth).
Then they got up to go.
Then they saw some young birds (in a nest in a box tree).
The brother-in-law told the boy to climb the box tree.
“Climb up above to the nest to get the eggs!”
Then the boy climbed but the tree went up and up (at the same time).
He went up and up at the top (of the tree).
Then the other two went away.

<To be continued …>

NAIDOC 2017 Dieri yawarra kurnu

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. As the NAIDOC website states:

The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

This story was recorded by Peter Austin with Leslie Russell and Rosa Warren at Maree in 1974 and checked with Rosa Warren in 1976. The first version we have of it is Story VIII that was written down by Sam Dintibana and published by H. K. Fry with the assistance of Ted Vogelsang in 1937 (in the journal Folklore volume 48).

We will publish the story in parts over the coming days this week. Here is Part One. First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part One

Thari ya mankarra pula nganarna wanthiyi nhuwamara.
Pula wapayi.
Ya kankuyali pakarna ngantyayi wapalha kakunhi yarla kakunhi kardinhi.
Kaku yathayi.
Yini ngamamayi ngaldrarni ngandrinhi.
Yaruya pakarna nhungkarni kardi yathayi.
Nhulu kankuyali wata ngantyayi ngamalha.
Nhawu dalkiyi pulangu ya nhungkarni ngandrinhi.
Nhawu kanku ngupara mindrirna.
Ya waparna ngupara.
Ngardanhi thana yarla wapayi.
Ya kardiyali wama ya kapirri ya kadni nandrayi.
Ngarla kankuyali windri nandrayi kartiwarru.
Kardiyali partyarna nganthi wayiyi.
Ya pakarna kankuyali wayiyi kartiwarru.
Kankuyali kartiwarru thayiyi.
Ya kardi yathayi.
Wata thayiyamayi.
Malhantyi.
Kardi mara wirrirna kankuya marnanhi.
Ya kartiwarru partyarna mandrandru dukararna.
Kankuyali wata yaniya thayirnanthu nganthi waka.
Kardi yathayi.
Walya karlkamayi, karari wama thayilha.
kankuyali wata ngantyayi.
Kanku yindrayi.
Ya mawali nganayi.

English Translation

A young man and a girl were married long ago.
They went.
And there was a boy who also wanted to go together with his elder sister and brother-in-law.
The elder sister said.
“You stay with our mother!”
His brother-in-law said the same thing.
The boy didn’t want to stay.
His disobeyed them and his mother.
The boy ran ahead.
And went ahead.
Then they all went together.
And the brother-in-law killed carpet snake, and goanna, and frill-necked lizard.
But the boy only killed a kartiwarru lizard.
The brother-in-law cooked all the meat.
And the boy cooked the kartiwarru lizard also.
The boy ate the kartiwarru lizard.
And the brother-in-law said.
“Don’t eat (that)!”
“(It’s) bad.”
The brother-in-law’s hand went into the boy’s mouth.
And took all the kartiwarru lizard out of (his) stomach.
“Boys shouldn’t eat small animals like this.”
The brother-in-law said.
“Wait a while to eat carpet snake (later) today.”
The boy didn’t want (to wait).
The boy cried.
And was hungry.

<To be continued …>

Pilkipildra ya pildra pilki

In a previous blog post, David Nash pointed out that Dieri words have been used to make up a name for an ancient extinct animal called Wakaleo by scientists. Today’s blog is about another example of this that was pointed out to me by David.

In 1987 the scientists Michael Archer, Richard H. Telford and Thomas H. Rich published chapter in a book in which they wrote about their discovery of a new kind of extinct possum. They proposed that there were four species which belonged to a new family of marsupials that they named Pilkipildridae. Bones of this new kind of possum were found in several locations, including on Etadunna Station in northern South Australia. They give a map that includes the following:

pilkipildri

Location B on the map is given as: “Etadunna Station, Ditjimanka Local Fauna”. We can recognise this (misspelled) place name as Dityimingka — in Dieri dityi means ‘sun’ and mingka means ‘hole in the ground’. The place called Dityimingka is an important site of significance for Dieri people, because according to tradition it is the place where the sun goes when it sets (note that in Dieri for ‘sunrise’ we say dityi durnka meaning ‘sun emerge’ and for ‘sunset’ we say dityi wirri which means ‘sun enter’ because the sun is believed to come out of Dityimingka each morning and go back in each night).

Here is a reconstruction by Peter Murray of one of the four species of Pilkipildridae called Djilgaringa gillespiei that was found at another location in Queensland:

Djilgaringa-gillespiei

According to the chapter by Archer, Telford and Rich, the name of the possum species and the new family comes from the Dieri language. On page 609 they write:

Etymology of the family name: Pilki is a Dieri word meaning “different” and pildra is a Dieri word meaning “possum” (Reuther 1901; as translated by Scherer and published in 1981). The Dieri Tribe occupied the Tirari Desert in which occurs Lake Palankarinna where the first pilkipildrid fossil was discovered in 1972.

So, it seems that the authors wanted to call the extinct animals ‘different possum’ and have taken two words meaning roughly that in Dieri from Reuther’s dictionary and put them together to make the name. Unfortunately, they have made a big mistake because in Dieri a word that modifies the meaning of a noun, like an adjective or a number (see here), must follow the noun, not go before it (like in English). Here are some examples:

mankarra pirna ‘big girl’ where mankarra is ‘girl’ and pirna is ‘big’
kanku waka ‘small boy’ where kanku is ‘boy’ and waka is ‘small’
kalthi payirri ‘long spear’ where kalthi is ‘spear’ and payirri is ‘long’
palthu kurndikurndi ‘winding road’ where palthu is ‘road, path’ and kurndikurndi is ‘bent, winding’

karna kurnu ‘one man’ where karna is ‘man’ and kurnu is ‘one’
kinthala mandru ‘two dogs’ where kinthala is ‘dog’ and mandru is ‘two’
wilha parkulu ‘three women’ where wilha is ‘woman’ and parkulu is ‘three’

So, while it is good that the scientists chose Dieri words for the new name, and in the process showed respect to the traditional owners of the country where the fossil bones were found, it is unfortunate that they did not put them together in the correct order according to the structure of the Dieri language. If they had called the newly discovered extinct animals pildra pilki they would have been on the right track. Even worse, when they made up the family name that changed pildra to pildri when they added the Latin ending -idae (resulting in Pilkipildridae) and then they refer to the group of species as “pilkipildrids”, making a mixture of Dieri words in the wrong order, a bit of the Latin ending and a bit of English (plural ‘s’).

References
Archer, Michael, Richard H. Telford and Thomas H. Rich. 1987. The Pilkipildridae, a new family and four new species of ?Petauroid possums (Marsupialia: Phalangerida) from the Australian Miocene. In Michael Archer (ed.) Possums and opossums: studies in evolution, 607-627. Sydney: Surrey Beatty & Sons and the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales. Available online here [accessed 2014-07-06]

Reuther, J. G., 1981 [1901]. The Diari. Translated (as A Diari Dictionary) by Rev. P. A. Scherer. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Microfiche No.2.