22 July 2010

NYUNGAR Words: murdu, murda: high/deep hard/firm bald rat young night

There seem to be two distinct concepts here, one or the other possibly underlying several of the additional ideas presented below.


"mor-da" murda = "high; steep; deep" high: [4] Grey 1840 [:289:6] [NYUNGAR]

"moorda" murda = "blue mountains" high: [3] Lyon 1833 [:221:4] [NYUNGAR]

"marda" mada = "hill" hill: [10 (q)] Curr [:289:30] [Natingero]

"Mordo" murdu = "A mountain. ..." hill: Moore 1842 [:77:5] [NYUNGAR]

"Mordak" murda[a]g = "Deep" deep: Moore 1842 [:129:8] [NYUNGAR]

"moodark" murda[a]g = "deep; depth" deep: [23] Buller-Murphy [:253:17] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"Mordak" murda[a]g = "Deep; steep, or high." deep: Moore 1842 [:77:1] [NYUNGAR]

"mor-dak" murda[a]g = "hole in ground that by-yu is buried in" hole: [4] Grey 1840 [:290:36] [NYUNGAR]

"Murdong" murdang = "A mountaineer." mountaineer: Moore 1842 [:79:11] [NYUNGAR]

"Murdar" murda = "(K.G.S.) A species of fish." fish: Moore 1842 [:79:8] [Minang]

"[muda, murdo]" murdu = "whiting (fish)" whiting: [13] Rae [: 440:14.2] [NYUNGAR]

'high' suggests 'hill', and 'mountaineer';

'deep', which is another way of considering the vertical dimension, suggests a 'hole in the ground'; and 'fish', insofar as the indigenous informant might have been pointing at one and said it was 'deep', this word having been mistaken for the word for 'fish'.

"Mordakanan" murda[a]ganan = "Drown, to, active verb" drown: Moore 1842 [:130:14] [NYUNGAR]

"Mordakal-ap" murda[a]galab = "Drowned, to be drowned" drown: Moore 1842 [:130:15] [NYUNGAR]

To 'drown' is likewise associated with 'deep', the above 'murda' examples featuring the possessive suffix '-ag', and the continuative '-an' (in the first instance repeated as '-anan'.


"murdoin" murduwin = "firm" firm: [9] Moore 1884 [::] [NYUNGAR]

"moor-doo-een, moordoo-een" murduwin = "hard; unpleasant to lie on" firm: [4] Grey 1840 [:282:43] [NYUNGAR]

"moor-doo-een" murduwin = "strong; powerful" firm: [4] Grey 1840 [:398:18] [NYUNGAR]

"murrt" murd = "penis" penis: [22] Gray 1987 [:348:16] [NYUNGAR]

While there are fewer sources for 'hard/firm', error nevertheless seems unlikely in view of the 'expressions' provided at the end of this post.

Linking 'hard'firm' to 'penis' is speculative, but might be apt under certain circumstances.



"mordie" murdi = "young" young: [24] Hassell, Edney [: 452:34] [NYUNGAR]

"mordie moragut" murdi muragad = "young man" young male: [23] Buller-Murphy [: 453:12] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"mordie boona" murdi buna = "sapling (young tree)" young stick: [23] Buller-Murphy [:367:2] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"mordie yorger" murdi yagir = "young woman" young woman: [23] Buller-Murphy [: 453:22] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"{marleet, mardung} " madang = "{brother, younger}" brother: [10 (s)] Curr [:228:4.2] [Minang]

"mardial" madyal = "brother, younger" brother: [10 (k)] Curr [:228:5] [Kaniyang]


"Marda" mada = "Nut, York nut" nut: Moore 1842 [:148:29] [NYUNGAR]


"marda" mada = "bald" bald: [6] Brady 1845 [:209:5] [NYUNGAR]

"Marda" mada = "Bald ..." bald: Moore 1842 [:70:8] [NYUNGAR]

"mardi" madi = "bald" bald: [9] Moore 1884 [:209:7] [NYUNGAR]

"mur-da" murda = "bald" bald: [4] Grey 1840 [:209:8] [NYUNGAR]

"moordu" murdu = "head, back of" head: [3] Lyon 1833 [:285:21] [NYUNGAR]

'young' things might be perceived as 'firm';

A 'nut' might be 'hard';

and a 'bald' head might be regarded, like a stone which it somewhat resembles, as 'hard' too; the same would apply to 'the back of the head'.


The following resemble 'murdu/murda' but do not seem linked by meaning to the foregoing.

NIGHT / DARK [ERROR [?] ‘night’ words: mand..., mara..., maya...]

"moordong" murdang = "dark" night: [10 (e)] Curr [:250:24] [NYUNGAR]

"Mard-angwin" madangwin = "Hunting, by moonlight" hunt: Moore 1842 [:140:18] [NYUNGAR]

"mardangwin" madangwin = "hunting by the light of the moon" hunt: [6] Brady 1845 [:293:34] [NYUNGAR]


"mort" murd = "kangaroo rat, kind of" kangaroo rat: [11] Hassell AA 1894 [?] [:302:48] [NYUNGAR]

"moor-da" murda = "mouse, ground" rat: [19] Isaacs 1949 [:328:35] [NYUNGAR]

"mardo" madu = "mouse sp." rat: [9] Moore 1884 [:328:28] [NYUNGAR]

"morder" murdir = "rat, marsupial" rat: [24] Hassell, Edney [:359:22] [NYUNGAR]

"Murdo" murdu = "In vain." futile: Moore 1842 [:79:9] [NYUNGAR]

It is possible that the 'night' references were poorly recorded, as there are numerous examples in the word lists based on such stems as 'mand...', 'mara...' and 'maya...' So these 'night' instances, including 'hunting', might perhaps be disregarded in the present context.

In the case of 'rat/mouse', the only possible link would seem to be through 'deep', these animals perhaps making use of holes in the ground.

As for 'in vain', so far no support for this has arisen from the word lists.


It is intriguing to see how the indigenous people combined words to describe concepts.

"kattidj murdoinan" gadidy murduwinan = "fix the attention upon" hear firm-ing: [6] Brady 1845 [:267:49] [NYUNGAR]

"Kattidjmurdoinan" gadidy murduwinan = "To mind; to fix your attention upon." hear firm-ing: Moore 1842 [:58:5] [NYUNGAR]

"Kattamordo" gada murdu = "...The mountains; the high head. The ... Darling range of hills..." head high: Moore 1842 [:57:21] [Wajuk]

"Katta Marda" gada mada = "[Bald; as Katta Marda, bald-headed.]" bald: Moore 1842 [:70:8.1] [NYUNGAR]

"katta marda" gada mada = "bald headed" bald: [6] Brady 1845 [:209:11] [NYUNGAR]

"bidimurduin" bidi murdwin = "powerful" strong: [9] Moore 1884 [:354:46] [NYUNGAR]

"bidi-murduin" bidi murdwin = "strong" strong: [6] Brady 1845 [:398:15] [NYUNGAR]

"ngan-ga moor-doo-een" nganGa murduwin = "sun is powerful, the" sun firm: [4] Grey 1840 [:400:13] [NYUNGAR]

'gadidy' is of the 'mind': 'hear', 'know', 'listen', 'understand', 'think' and the like. So 'hear firm-ing' is 'fixing the attention upon'.

'gada murdu' and 'gada mada' appear to be the same expression. 'gada' is 'head'. So is the second word 'high' or 'hard'. Were the Darling Ranges perceived as a 'high head' (or a 'hard' one?). If they were the same expression, then perhaps 'hard' is the better interpretation, for 'bald' could only realistically be linked to 'hard' (head).

Thursday 22 July 2010


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