Waranhaya wakarayi

In a previous blog post we introduced how to say ‘who?’ in Dieri when we want to ask about the identity of a person. Here is a reminder of all the different forms we looked at:

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 another recent blog post we saw that the ending -ya can be added to minha ‘what?’ to express the meaning ‘something’. The same ending can be used with forms for ‘who?’ in Dieri to mean ‘someone’, such as waranhaya ‘someone’ (intransitive subject or transitive object). The different forms of ‘someone’ that contain this -ya are then used in statements and do not have to be at the beginning of the sentence, unlike how we use ‘who?’ in questions. Here are some examples:

waranhaya wakarayi
‘Someone is coming’

waranhaya thurarayi ngakarni pangkanhi
‘Someone is sleeping in my bed’

ngathu waranhaya nhayirna warayi thinkanhi
‘I saw someone in the night’

warliya nganha nandrarna warayi
‘Someone hit me’

nhaniya thurarayi warniya pangkanhi
‘This one is sleeping in someone’s bed’

pula pirkiyi waranguya
‘They two are playing with someone’

thana nandramaliyi warangundruya
‘They all are fighting because of someone’

Of course, it is possible to use both ‘someone’ and ‘something’ in the same sentence, if you really are unsure what is going on:

warliya minhaya thayiyi
‘Someone is eating something’

minhayali waranhaya matharna warayi
‘Something bit someone’


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