Nhawuya mawakantyi

Today we look at the dialogue in the continuation of the cartoon story we presented in the previous blog post (click to open a larger version in a new window):


Did you work out what the boy wants from his mother now?

Here is the dialogue and the English translation:

Boy: ngandri! ngandri! ‘Mother! Mother!’
Mother: minha yundru ngantyayi karari? ‘What do you want now?’
Boy: yini mardanthu? ‘Do you have any money?’
Mother: minhandru? ‘Why?’
Boy: ngathu ngantyayi minha kurnu thayilha ‘I want to eat something’
Mother: matya yundru thayirna warayi puka pirna ‘You have already had a lot to eat!’
wapamayi ngathatamara pirkilha ‘Go and play with your older sister’

We have seen all the grammatical structures here before, except for one new thing, and that is minha kurnu ‘something’ — we use this when we are thinking of something but don’t want to name it (in this example the boy is thinking of pizza). If we don’t know what the thing is then we use minhaya ‘something or other’ (we also have waranhaya ‘someone or other’).

Finally, notice that the last thing that the mother says is difficult to translate into English — ngathatamara means ‘a group of two or more people one of whom is called ngathata ‘younger sibling’ by the others’ (the uses of -mara are explained near the bottom of this blog post. We know from the previous cartoon that the boy has an older sister so I have translated this sentence as ‘Go and play with your older sister’, but depending on the context it could also mean ‘Go and play with your older (or younger) brother(s) (or sister(s))’. If the mother wanted to be a bit clearer she could have said kaku-mara instead, which would have meant ‘a group of two or more people one of whom is called kaku ‘older sister’ by the others’.

And the title of the previous blog? We can translate it as ‘The greedy boy’ since kanku means ‘boy’ and mawakantyi means ‘someone who is hungry all the time’. The title of today’s blog post can be translated ‘He is a greedy one’.

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