19 July 2010

NYUNGAR Words: igan / yagan

dog / wild / bad / turtle // arouse/ alarm /startle / disturb / drive / chase

"yockine" yagan = "bad" bad: [10 (p)] Curr [:208:23] [Kaniyang]

"yokine" yagan = "dingo" dog: [17] Markey 1942 [:191:50] [NYUNGAR]

"yuckine" yagan = "wild dogs" dog: [11 (a)] Hassell, A.A. [:195:24] [NYUNGAR]

"yakkine" yagan = "dog, wild" dog: [10 (m)] Curr [:257:1] [Kaniyang]

"yockine" yagan = "wild" wild: [23] Buller-Murphy [: 442:12] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"yekyn" yigan = "dog, wild" dog: [9] Moore 1884 [:257:11] [NYUNGAR]

"yek-kain" yigan = "wild dog" dog: [4] Grey 1840 [: 442:15] [NYUNGAR]

"yiee-kain" yigan = "wild dog" dog: [4] Grey 1840 [: 442:16] [NYUNGAR]

"yik-kan" yigan = "arouse, to; to awaken; to startle" arouse: [4] Grey 1840 [:204:39] [NYUNGAR]

"Yekan" yigan = "To drive; to chase; to tend cattle." chase: Moore 1842 [:113:8] [NYUNGAR]

"yookin" yugin = "hungry" hungry: [10 (i)] Curr [:293:17] [Wajuk]

"yakkan" yagan = "turtle" turtle: [12 (b)] Bates [: 423:42] [Pinjarup]

"ye-kyn" yigan = "turtle, fresh-water" turtle: [5] Symmons 1841 [: 423:45] [Wajuk]


"Igan" igan = "...To alarm; to disturb; to drive." disturb: Moore 1842 [:47:23] [NYUNGAR]

"Igan" igan = "Disturb, to" disturb: Moore 1842 [:129:25] [NYUNGAR]

"igan" igan = "drive, to" drive: [9] Moore 1884 [:258:46] [NYUNGAR]


From the above record extracts it would seem that 'yagan/yugan/yigan' are effectively the same word.

Second, 'igan' is probably also the same word. In common with many Australian Indigenous languages, it is possible that there were no, or few, Nyungar words that began with a vowel. Words so recorded might have in reality begun with 'y-', 'w-' or 'ng-': in this case, with 'y-'.


Most of the quoted records, the nouns, relate to 'dog', specifically to 'wild dog'.

Several of the other records, the verbs, relate to behaviour.

The behaviour in question is typical of dogs, especially in relation to game: dogs 'startle', 'arouse', 'chase' and 'drive' game (much as do sheep dogs in a European context).


One of the records for 'yagan' is 'bad'. Yet a dog doing such chasing might be classed 'bad'.

Another, 'hungry': likewise a dog might chase game because it was 'hungry'.

Not so readily explained are the two records for 'turtle'. Perhaps they required some 'chasing' to catch them.

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