30 July 2010

NYUNGAR Words: manga connections

What can 'nest', 'barb', 'spear', 'leaf', 'hair' and 'shoulder' have to do with one another? They all appear to be linked through 'manga / munga'.

The basic idea appears to be 'strand', 'thread'.


A nest is composed of many strands:

"munga" manga = "a nest" nest: [4] Grey 1840 [:120:45] [NYUNGAR]

"Mân-ga" manGa = "Bird, (nest of)" nest: Symmons, Charles [:7:55] [NYUNGAR]


Grey, below, links 'barb' and 'hair'. A barb is a single point, and a hair a single strand.

"mun-gar" munGa = "barb, a; hair" barb: [4] Grey 1840 [:210:11] [NYUNGAR]

"Man-gar" manGa = "Barb of a spear ..." barb: Moore 1842 [:68:21] [NYUNGAR]


Whether Hassell below was correct or not in stating 'munga' meant a type of 'spear' is not known. The reference could have been to 'barb', a feature of the spear concerned:

"mungar" munga = "hunting spears" spear: [11] Hassell AA 1894 [?] [:293:36] [NYUNGAR]

"mungay" manga = "fishing spears" spear: [11] Hassell AA 1894 [?] [::] [NYUNGAR]

Salvado defines 'reed spear': 'gidyi' is a common word for 'spear'; and 'reed' is yet another 'strand'.

"mangarghichi" manga gidyi = "spear, reed" barb spear: [8] Salvado 1851 [:388:45] [NYUNGAR]


Symmons in describing fig leaves uses 'leaf' ('manga") with a plural marker: '-ra':

"Mân-ga-ra" manGara = "Hottentot fig (leaves of)" leaf: Symmons, Charles [:7:29] [NYUNGAR]


The following examples indicate that 'manga' also stood for hair. 'gada' means 'head:

"munga" munga = "hair" hair: [23] Buller-Murphy [:279:43] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"mungar" munga = "hair of the head" hair: [10 (n)] Curr [:280:23] [Kaniyang]

"karta munga" gada manga = "hair (on head)" hair: [23] Buller-Murphy [:280:5] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"katta mangara" gada mangara = "hair of the head" hair: [6] Brady 1845 [:280:11] [NYUNGAR]


This last example would suggest that the wordlist compilers might have erred. 'Hair' might have reached the 'shoulder', giving rise to misunderstanding. But who is to say now whether they were right or wrong?

"monga" manga = "shoulder" shoulder: [3] Lyon 1833 [:375:28] [NYUNGAR]

"mongo" manga = "shoulder" shoulder: [8 (E)] Salvado [:375:29] [Balardung]

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