Nhawuya kurikantyi

In the previous blog post we mentioned words like mawa ‘hunger’, thardi ‘thirst’ and kuri ‘stealth’ that are nouns in Dieri. These words are special because not only can they modify a verb, as we saw in that blog post, they also take the ending -li or -yali when used with ngana-rna ‘to be’ to express an internal state of affairs (discussed in this blog post), as in:

Nganhi mawali nganayi ‘I am hungry’
Yini thardiyali nganayi ‘Are you thirsty?

This set of words have another special characteristic. They can all take the ending -kantyi to describe a person who habitually always has the characteristics described by the noun root. Here are some examples:

mawa-kantyi ‘someone who is always hungry’
thardi-kantyi ‘someone who is always thirsty’
yardi-kantyi ‘someone who always lies, liar’
kuri-kantyi ‘someone who always steals, thief’
yapa-kantyi ‘someone who is always afraid, timid person’

There is one more useful ending for describing people in Dieri (in addition to -kantyi, and the -rnayitya ending discussed in this blog post). This is -lha which is added to locations or names of places to refer to a person who comes from that place. Examples are the following:

mardalha ‘hill person’ (from marda ‘hill, stone’)
pantulha ‘salt lake person’ (from pantu ‘salt lake’)
kudnarralha ‘person from Cooper Creek (from kudnarri ‘Cooper Creek’)

Notice that this ending causes the final i or u vowel of a three-syllable root to change to a (as in kudnarralha above), just like we have seen when endings like -li ‘transitive subject’ or -nhi ‘in, at’ are added to such roots.

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