[Lingtyp] Australian languages

Peter Austin pa2 at soas.ac.uk
Thu Jan 12 23:00:45 UTC 2023

As Jane says, many Pama-Nyungan languages have a nominal for sympathy, used as a head or in apposition to another nominal -- in Kanyara and Mantharta languages (Western Australia) this is gardulya.

Ngiyampaa, New South Wales, has a VERB suffix -guwa-y which encodes sympathy for an intransitive verb subject -- I don't have Donaldson's published grammar to hand but see (page 234) in her PhD thesis.


From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Jane Simpson <jansimps at gmail.com>
Sent: Friday, January 13, 2023 8:59:39 AM
To: LINGTYP at LISTSERV.LINGUISTLIST.ORG <lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: [Lingtyp] Australian languages

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  Warlpiri

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! ◆ Wiyarrparlunpaju yungu. That was kind of you to give it to me. ◆ Ngajuku- purdangka wiyarrpa, milpa wijini. My poor brother, his eyes are sore. ◆ .. ◆ Kalalu-nyanu 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 dog.

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
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