Nhawuya kinthala ngurra yathayi

In Dieri it is possible to modify the meaning of a verb by adding words like ngurra ‘always’ or marla ‘more’ before the verb. We call these adverbs because they “add to the verb”.

Examples are:

Nhawuya kinthala ngurra yathayi ‘This dog is always barking’

Nhani paku ngamayi ‘She is sitting down quietly doing nothing’

When we use one of these elements to describe a situation that involves two participants and the verb is a transitive verb then we have to add the ending -li (or -yali if the root is two syllables and ends in i or u) to the adverb, as in:

Nhuluya kinthalali karna ngurrali mathayi ‘This dog always bites people’

Nhandru nganha pakuyali nandrarna warayi ‘She hit me for no reason’

Notice that is also possible to use nouns like mawa ‘hunger’, thardi ‘thirst’, or kuri ‘stealth’ to modify verbs, and these also take the -li or -yali ending when tthe verb is transitive. Here are some examples:

Thana kupa mawa ngamayi ‘Those kids are sitting down hungry’
Thanali nganthi mawali thayiyi ‘They are eating the meat hungrily’

Nhawu kuri thikalha nganayi thinkanhi ‘He will come back secretly at night’
Nhulu marda kuriyali pardalha nganayi ‘He will take the money stealthily’ or ‘He will steal the money’

As we have seen many times before, Dieri pays particular attention to the difference between intransitive and transitive verbs, and this applies when we want to express modifying meanings using adverbs as well.

Note: the verb yatha-rna in the title of this blog post is a very versatile word. When we use it to talk about humans we can translate it as ‘speak’ (as in nhawu karna yathayi ‘the man is speaking’) but with animals it refers to the characteristic sounds that the animal makes, so we get kinthala yathayi ‘the dog barks’, tyukityuki yathayi ‘the chickens cheep’, or nhantu yathayi ‘the horse neighs’.

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