Minha yundru waltharna parlkayi?

In some areas of vocabulary the Dieri language has many more words and expressions than we find in English. One of these are words having to do with carrying things — Dieri has several different verbs, depending on how the object or person is carried. Here they are with examples:

  • pardaka-rna means ‘to carry in the hands’, as in:

    nhulu ngardanhi pardakayi yinka ‘Then he carried the string in his hands’

  • thuka-rna means ‘to carry on the back’, as in:
    nhantuyali nganha thukayi ‘The horse carries me on its back’

    Notice that the intransitive verb thukatharri-rna derived from this root is how we express ‘to ride on’ in Dieri (it literally means, ‘to be carried on the back of’), as in:

    nganhi thukatharriyi ngandrinhi ‘I ride on my mother’s back’

  • waltha-rna means ‘to carry on the head’, as in:
    katyi nhulu waltharna wanthiyi ‘He used to carry spears on his head long ago’

  • wanpa-rna means ‘to carry on the shoulder’, as in:
    nhandru pirlipirli wanparna parlkayi ‘She carries a little bag on her shoulder as she goes along’

The title for this blog post can be translated into English as ‘What are you carrying on your head as you go along?’, and is made up of these words:

minha meaning ‘what?’

yundru meaning ‘you (one person)’ — this is the transitive subject form

waltharna means ‘carrying on the head’

parlkayi means ‘is going along’ and consists of the root parlka ‘to go along, to go on a journey’ and the ending -yi present tense, indicating that the event is happening now. The combination of two words at the end of the sentence here waltharna parlkayi is called a compound verb and we will discuss this type of combination some more in a later blog post.

One thought on “Minha yundru waltharna parlkayi?

  1. Pingback: Folsom Prison mandru-mandru | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

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