This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. As the NAIDOC website states:
The 2017 theme – Our Languages Matter – aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.
On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.
This story was recorded by Peter Austin with Leslie Russell and Rosa Warren at Maree in 1974 and checked with Rosa Warren in 1976. The first version we have of it is Story VIII that was written down by Sam Dintibana and published by H. K. Fry with the assistance of Ted Vogelsang in 1937 (in the journal Folklore volume 48).
We will publish the story in parts over the coming days this week. Here is Part One. First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.
Dieri Story — Part One
Thari ya mankarra pula nganarna wanthiyi nhuwamara.
Ya kankuyali pakarna ngantyayi wapalha kakunhi yarla kakunhi kardinhi.
Yini ngamamayi ngaldrarni ngandrinhi.
Yaruya pakarna nhungkarni kardi yathayi.
Nhulu kankuyali wata ngantyayi ngamalha.
Nhawu dalkiyi pulangu ya nhungkarni ngandrinhi.
Nhawu kanku ngupara mindrirna.
Ya waparna ngupara.
Ngardanhi thana yarla wapayi.
Ya kardiyali wama ya kapirri ya kadni nandrayi.
Ngarla kankuyali windri nandrayi kartiwarru.
Kardiyali partyarna nganthi wayiyi.
Ya pakarna kankuyali wayiyi kartiwarru.
Kankuyali kartiwarru thayiyi.
Ya kardi yathayi.
Kardi mara wirrirna kankuya marnanhi.
Ya kartiwarru partyarna mandrandru dukararna.
Kankuyali wata yaniya thayirnanthu nganthi waka.
Walya karlkamayi, karari wama thayilha.
kankuyali wata ngantyayi.
Ya mawali nganayi.
A young man and a girl were married long ago.
And there was a boy who also wanted to go together with his elder sister and brother-in-law.
The elder sister said.
“You stay with our mother!”
His brother-in-law said the same thing.
The boy didn’t want to stay.
His disobeyed them and his mother.
The boy ran ahead.
And went ahead.
Then they all went together.
And the brother-in-law killed carpet snake, and goanna, and stumpy tail lizard.
But the boy only killed a kartiwarru lizard. [The kartiwarru is a small lizard that is not normally eaten. In his Dieri vocabulary Samuel Gason describes it as “a red-backed lizard, about 3 inches long”.]
The brother-in-law cooked all the meat.
And the boy cooked the kartiwarru lizard also.
The boy ate the kartiwarru lizard.
And the brother-in-law said.
“Don’t eat (that)!”
The brother-in-law’s hand went into the boy’s mouth.
And took all the kartiwarru lizard out of (his) stomach.
“Boys shouldn’t eat small animals like this.”
The brother-in-law said.
“Wait a while to eat carpet snake (later) today.”
The boy didn’t want (to wait).
The boy cried.
And was hungry.
<To be continued …>