All languages in the world have short expressions that can be used by themselves to express emotions or feelings, or to fill up silence when we can’t think of a word or anything to say. We can call these interjections or exclamations.
Here are some useful expressions of this type in Dieri, firstly, to fill in space while you think:
|aa||‘um, ah, er’ (when you can’t think of anything to say)|
|minhaya||‘what’s-it, whatchamacallit, thingummy’ (when you can’t remember the name of something)|
|waranhaya||‘who’s-i-whatsit, someone-or-other’ (when you can’t remember the name of someone)|
Here are some words to express emotions or feelings. To disagree with someone:
malhantyi marla! ‘Really bad!’
madlhantyi marla! ‘Really bad!’
matya ngumu! ‘That’s good!’
To express sorrow and sympathy for someone who has suffered from something bad:
nguyala! ‘Poor thing!’
To express surprise at something unexpected happening:
yakayayi! ‘Oh heck!, oh my goodness!’
Even if you don’t speak much Dieri you can still express yourself with these useful little words.
Note: Thanks to Greg Wilson and the Dieri Language Committee for sharing the sound recordings used in this post.