Yarra wapanimayi!

One of the things we often do is tell or order other people to do things. In this post we will look at how to do this in Dieri.

Making a command and telling someone to do something in Dieri is quite straightforward. For action words (verbs) that end in a we can just use the root of the word by itself to make a command:

Ngama! ‘Sit down!’

Wapa! ‘Go!’

or we can add a word (pronoun) to indicate the person we are addressing. Here are the words we use for simple actions that just involve a person or thing doing an action (intransitive verbs):

Yini ngama! ‘You sit down!’ (said to one person)

Yula ngama! ‘You sit down!’ (said to two people)

Yura ngama! ‘You sit down!’ (said to three or more people)

For an action that involves an agent doing the action and an entity affected by the action (transitive verbs) we must use a different form corresponding to English ‘you’ when speaking to one person:

Yundru pipa daka! ‘You write a letter!’ (said to one person)

When addressing two or more people the form is the same as for intransitive verbs:

Yula pipa daka! ‘You write a letter!’ (said to two people)

Yura pipa daka! ‘You write a letter!’ (said to three or more people)

When the verb root root ends in i or u then we need to add the ending -ya to make a command:

Wirri-ya! ‘Come in’

Paku-ya ‘Dig!’

Again, you can put in the pronoun showing who you are addressing with your command:

Yini wirriya! ‘You come in!’ (one person)

Yundru kurdu pakuya ‘You did a hole!’ (one person)

Yura wirriya ‘You come in!’ (said to three or more people)

and so on. Another very common way to make a command in Dieri is to add the ending -mayi to the verb to emphasise that you really want the other person or people to do the action:

Ngamamayi! ‘Sit down!

Yura wapamayi! ‘You (all) go!’

Yundru nhayiyamayi! ‘You (one) look!’

We can of course add further information to our commands. Two particularly useful words are yara ‘towards me’ and yarra ‘away from me’ (remember that Dieri has three ‘r-sounds’ and here the difference between r and rr makes a big difference in meaning!)

Yara wapamayi! ‘Come here!’

Yarra wapamayi! ‘Go away!’

Yara thika! ‘Come back here!’

Yarra thika! ‘Go back over there!’

Finally, you can leave out the word for the person you are speaking to (the second person pronoun) and still show how many people are being addressed. We do this by adding the ending -lu for two people and -ni for three or more people at the end of the command word. If we want to use the emphasiser -mayi it comes after these elements which show how many people are being ordered to do something. Here are some examples:

Yarra thikalu! ‘You two go back over there!’

Kupa nhayiyanimayi! ‘You all watch the children!’

Can you work out what the title of today’s post means?

Yarra wapanimayi! is made up of yarra ‘away from me’ and wapa ‘to move, go’ plus -ni ‘you (three or more)’ plus -mayi ’emphasis’

This gives us: ‘You all go away!’ (a useful command to have when annoying people come around)


8 thoughts on “Yarra wapanimayi!

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