Warli nhinhaya nhayiyi?

This blog was set up in February 2013 to support the language revitalisation project of the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation (DAC). The project is funded by an Indigenous Languages Support (ILS) grant from the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sport. The project runs for the period July 2012 to September 2013. The ILS project is co-ordinated by the Dieri Language Committee set up by the DAC, and includes as consultants linguists Peter K. Austin and Greg Wilson.

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The title of today’s blog post means ‘Who is looking at this?’ and consists of:

warli ‘who?’ — this is the transitive subject form which we use to ask about the person who is doing an action

nhinhaya ‘this (one)’ — this consists of the pronoun nhinha ‘him, it’ and the ending -ya which indicates something close to the speaker. Together nhinhaya means ‘him here, it here, this one here’. Note that nhinha is the transitive object form ‘him’ which we use to indicate the person affected by an action. We use nhawu for the intransitive subject, as in nhawu wapayi ‘He is going’. There is a separate word nhulu for the transitive subject, as in nhulu nhinha nhayiyi ‘He sees him’. Both of these can also take the -ya ending, so nhawuya and nhuluya.

nhayiyi ‘is looking at’ consists of the verb root nhayi ‘to look at, see’ and the ending -yi which marks present tense and refers to something that is happening right now.

Notice that warli ‘who?’ is only used to ask about the person doing an action (the transitive subject). To ask about who is affected by an action we use waranha as in:

Waranha yundru nhayiyi? ‘Who are you looking at?’

We also use this form for the intransitive subject, that is, to ask about someone sitting, moving etc. (actions that do not affect someone or something else), as in:

Waranha wapayi nhaka? ‘Who is walking over there?’
Waranha ngamayi nguranhi? ‘Who is sitting in the camp?’

To ask about the possessor of something we use warni ‘whose?’, as in:

warni ngura nhawuya ‘Whose camp is this?’
warni kupa nhani ‘Whose child is she?’

If we want to ask about the person that someone or something is with or near we use warangu ‘with who? near who?’, as in:

warangu nhawu ngamayi ‘Who is he sitting with?’
warangu nhani wapayi ‘Who is she going with?’

Finally, when we ask about the person from whom someone or something is moving we use warangundru ‘from who?’ as in:

warangundru nhawu mindriyi ‘Who is he running away from?’

Notice that the question word always come first in the sentence in Dieri.

Here is a summary of all the new words for ‘who’ that we discussed here:

Dieri English Function
warli who? transitive subject
waranha who? intransitive subject and transitive object
warni whose? possessor
warangu with who? location
warangundru from who? source

In a later blog post we will discuss how to ask ‘what?’ in Dieri.

2 thoughts on “Warli nhinhaya nhayiyi?

  1. Pingback: Minha nhawuya? | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

  2. Pingback: Waranhaya wakarayi | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

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