In the previous blog post we learned how to say ‘who?’ in Dieri and saw that there were a number of different forms to use, depending on the function of the ‘who?’ word in the sentence. In this post we continue learning about how to ask questions, but this time we are going to look at how to ask ‘which?’.
In English, when we have a number of possible options in mind we can ask someone to identify the one that meets a particular description by using the word ‘which’ together with the noun referring to the options, for example:
Which man came to my house? (When we know some man came, but not which particular one)
Which children are playing in the river? (When we know some children were playing, but not which particular ones)
Which woman is the girl sitting with?
Which house did the kids run away from?
Which stone did they throw at you?
If it is clear from the context what we are asking about we can just say ‘which one?’, as in:
Which one came to my house?
Which ones are playing in the river?
Which one is the girl sitting with?
Which one did the kids run away from?
Which one did they throw at you?
Let’s look at how to do this in Dieri. But first, we need to do some revision, and go back to a previous blog post where we looked at how to say ‘he’ and ‘she’ in Dieri and learnt that there are different forms for intransitive subject, transitive subject and transitive object, as in:
nhawu wapayi ‘He is going’
nhani wapayi ‘She is going’
nhulu kinthala nhayiyi ‘He sees the dog’
nhandru kinthala nhayiyi ‘She sees the dog’
kinthalali nhinha nhayiyi ‘The dog sees him’
kinthalali nhanha nhayiyi ‘The dog sees her’
There are also separate forms to express the possessor, the location and the source, as in the following examples:
nhungkarni kinthala wapayi ‘His dog is going’
nhangkarni kinthala wapayi ‘Her dog is going’
kinthala wapayi nhungkangu ‘The dog is going with him’
kinthala wapayi nhangkangu ‘The dog is going with her’
kinthala mindriyi nhungkangundru ‘The dog is running away from him’
kinthala mindriyi nhangkangundru ‘The dog is running away from her’
Notice that these different words for ‘he’ and ‘she’ can also be used with nouns in Dieri to indicate ‘this’, and they can take the endings -ya ‘near to the speaker’ and -wa ‘far from the speaker’ that we saw in the previous blog post. This gives us:
nhawuya ngura ngakarni ‘This camp is mine’
nhungkarniya karnaya ngura nhaka kararranhi ‘This man’s camp is there at the creek’
nhawuwa karna wapayi nhankanguya widlhanhi ‘That man is going with this woman’
nhawuya kupa mindriyi nhangkangundruwa widlhandru ‘This child is running away from that woman’
Now, in order to ask ‘which’ we use the word warda in combination with the correct form of ‘he, this/that’ and ‘she, this/that’ together with the noun referring to person or thing we are thinking of (all three being placed at the beginning of the sentence):
warda nhawu karna wakarayi? ‘Which man is coming?’
warda nhanha widlha yundru nhayiyi? ‘Which woman did you see?’
warda nhulu kupali yinanha nandrayi? ‘Which child hit you?’
warda nhandru mankarrali nganthi wayiyi? ‘Which girl is cooking meat?’
warda nhulu mardali thanaliwa kupali nganha diyayi? ‘Which stone did those kids pelt me with?’
warda nhungkangu karnanhi nhawuya kupa wapayi? ‘Which man is this kid going with?’
warda nhungkangundru warlindru thanaya kupa mindriyi? ‘Which house are these kids running away from?’
To say ‘which one’ in Dieri we just use warda plus the appropriate forms of ‘he, this/that’ and
‘she, this/that’, as in:
warda nhawu wakarayi? ‘Which one is coming?’
warda nhanha yundru nhayiyi? ‘Which one did you see?’
warda nhulu yinanha nandrayi? ‘Which one hit you?’
warda nhandru nganthi wayiyi? ‘Which one is cooking meat?’
warda nhulu thanaliwa kupali nganha diyayi? ‘Which one did those kids pelt me with?’
warda nhungkangu nhawuya kupa wapayi? ‘Which one is this kid going with?’
warda nhungkangundru thanaya kupa mindriyi? ‘Which one are these kids running away from?’
So, now can can work out what the title for this blog post means? (It means ‘Which one is going?’)