Nganhi marda padni — yini mardanthu — nhawu mardamara

I yesterday’s blog post we presented another cartoon in the Dieri language. Here it is again:

comic2

Here is the dialogue, together with the English translation — did you work it out for yourself also?

Boy: ngandri! ngandri! ‘Mother! Mother!’
Mother: minha yundru ngantyayi? ‘What do you want?’
Boy: nganhi mawali nganayi ‘I am hungry’
nganha marda yingkiya ‘Give me some money!’
Mother: nganhi marda padni ‘I’m broke’
karari wata ngathu marda ngamalkayi ‘I don’t have any money now’
yini karlkamayi thangkuparnayarlu ‘You wait until tomorrow!’

We have seen all the grammatical structures here before, except for one new thing, and that is how to express a situation where you don’t have something.

In Dieri to say ‘don’t have X’ where X is a thing (a noun) you simply say X padni where padni means ‘no, none’. You can use this as a statement or a question, as in these examples:

  • nganhi marda padni ‘I don’t have any money, I’m broke’
  • yini mutuka padni? ‘You don’t have a car?’
  • karna tyata padni ‘The man does not have a shirt’
  • ngaldra nhuwa padni ‘We two are without a spouse, we two are unmarried’ (Dieri nhuwa means ‘wife’ for a man, and ‘husband’ for a woman — we use the English word ‘spouse’ to cover these meanings)
  • ngayana warli padni ‘We all don’t have a house, we have nowhere to live’

Alternatively, we can use the particle wata ‘not’ plus the verb ngamalka-rna ‘to have’ in a transitive sentence with a subject and an object, as in (notice that for some words the transitive subject has a different form from the intransitive subject that we saw above):

  • wata ngathu marda ngamalkayi ‘I don’t have any money, I’m broke’
  • wata yundru mutuka ngamalkayi? ‘You don’t have a car?’
  • wata karnali tyata ngamalkayi ‘The man does not have a shirt’
  • wata ngaldra nhuwa ngamalkayi ‘We two don’t have a spouse, we two are unmarried’
  • wata ngayana warli ngamalkayi ‘We all don’t have a house, we have nowhere to live’

To express having something, there are again two possibilities. We can just use ngamalka-rna ‘to have’, as in:

  • ngathu marda ngamalkayi ‘I have money’
  • yundru mutuka ngamalkayi? ‘Do you have a car?’
  • karnali tyata ngamalkayi ‘The man has a shirt’
  • ngaldra nhuwa ngamalkayi ‘We two have spouses, we two are married’
  • ngayana warli ngamalkayi ‘We all have a house’

The second way to express this is to use the ending -nthu attached to the thing that is owned — there is no verb here so we use the intransitive subject form for the person who is the owner, as in:

  • nganhi mardanthu ‘I have money’
  • yini mutukanthu? ‘Do you have a car?’
  • karna tyatanthu ‘The man has a shirt’
  • ngaldra nhuwanthu ‘We two have spouses, we two are married’
  • ngayana warlinthu ‘We all have a house’

There is another alternative as well, and that is to use the ending -mara instead of -nthu — both -mara and -nthu mean exactly the same:

  • nganhi mardamara ‘I have money’
  • yini mutukamara? ‘Do you have a car?’
  • karna tyatamara ‘The man has a shirt’
  • ngaldra nhuwamara ‘We two have spouses, we two are married’
  • ngayana warlimara ‘We all have a house’

When -mara is used with a word that refers to a relative, like nhuwa ‘spouse’ or kaku ‘older sister’ then X-mara creates a noun that means ‘two or more people, one of whom is called X by the others’. So we have:

  • nhuwa-mara ‘a married couple’
  • kaku-mara ‘an older sister and her brothers and/or sisters’
  • ngandri-mara ‘a mother and her children’
  • ngapiri-mara ‘a father and his children’
  • kadnhini-mara ‘a grandmother and her grandchildren’

To be clear about the number of people involved, we can use pula ‘they two’ or thana ‘they all’ together with these words:

  • pula kakumara wakarayi ‘an older sister and one younger sister or brother are coming’
  • thana kakumara wakarayi ‘an older sister and two or more younger sisters or brothers are coming’

And so on for the other relationship terms.

Note: The title of this blog means ‘I have no money — you have money — he has money’.

2 thoughts on “Nganhi marda padni — yini mardanthu — nhawu mardamara

  1. Pingback: Kanku mawakantyi | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

  2. Pingback: Nhawuya mawakantyi | Ngayana Diyari Yawarra Yathayilha

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