[Lingtyp] Australian languages

Jane Simpson jansimps at gmail.com
Thu Jan 12 21:59:39 UTC 2023

Many Australian Pama-Nyungan languages have a nominal which semantically
expresses both sympathy and affection, and syntactically is used as an
expression of sympathy to an interlocutor (roughly equivalent to English
'Poor you!' or 'Poor thing'!), and to refer to third parties, whether as an
argument or in apposition to an argument.  Here are some examples from

wiyarrpa (N): (La,Ny,Y) dear (term of affection), unfortunate, poor thing.
[expression of sympathy, concern, affection and closeness with some being].
◆ *Wiyarrpa* nyurnu-jarrija kurdu. The poor baby got sick. ◆ *Wiyarrpa*
nyinaka kulu-wangu. Don’t get into a fight, you poor thing! ◆
yungu. That was kind of you to give it to me. ◆ Ngajuku- purdangka
*wiyarrpa,* milpa wijini. My poor brother, his eyes are sore. ◆ .. ◆
payurnu: “Yungkaju waja, wiyarrpaku.” “Nganja *wiyarrparlu*. Wiyarrparlu
waja, nganja.” They would ask each other for things, “Give me (some) – to
my poor self!” “Eat it you poor thing. You poor thing, I say, eat it.” Note:
Also used to refer to deceased person in a way that expresses the speaker’s
sympathy.◆ *Wiyarrpa*-ngurlu-nyanu muku pajurnu. He cut himself all over
grieving over the poor (deceased) person.

and other examples  .. Kamparru- warnu-patulpalu nyinaja jalya-nyayirni –
*wiyarrpa*.  The people from before were really naked, those dear people.

*Wiyarrpa* ngula nyangkalu jarntu larrpa-larrpa. Look at that poor skinny

Laughren, Mary, Hale, Kenneth, Egan, Jeannie Nungarrayi, Patrick, Marlurrku
Paddy Jangala, Hoogenraad, Robert, Nash, David, and Simpson, Jane.
2022. *Warlpiri
Encyclopaedic Dictionary: Warlpiri yimi-kirli manu jaru-kurlu*. Canberra:
Aboriginal Studies Press.

Jane Simpson
Private e-mail
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