29 July 2010

NYUNGAR Words: windu: old

It often happens that a word appears in a list, with alongside it a simple translation, such as ‘windu’: ‘old’


"Win-do" windu = "Old" decrepit: Symmons, Charles [:10:31] [NYUNGAR]

"windo" windu = "man, an old" decrepit: [5] Symmons 1841 [:319:48] [Wajuk]


There being several additional examples in the wordlists of ‘windu’, an idea emerges that ‘windu’ is not so much ‘old’ as a characteristic of ageing — ‘bad’, ‘thin’, ‘useless’ or ‘worn out’:

"win-do" windu = "old; useless; worn out" decrepit: [4] Grey 1840 [:339:46] [NYUNGAR]

"windo" windu = "bad" bad: [9] Moore 1884 [:208:7] [NYUNGAR]

"uindo" windu = "thin" thin: [8 (N)] Salvado [:410:16] [Balardung]

"windo" windu = "useless" decrepit: [6] Brady 1845 [: 427:46] [NYUNGAR]

"windo" windu = "worn out" decrepit: [9] Moore 1884 [: 447:21] [NYUNGAR]


Investigation of the root ‘win’ yields additional insights:

"bal wenat" bal winad = "He is dead (he dead)" he dead: Bates Grammar [:71:23] [Wajuk]

"bal wenin" bal winin = "he is dead" he dead: [14 (n)] Bates [:284:12] [Kaniyang]


In the above examples, ’win’ is about ‘death’‘

bal is the pronoun ‘he’, ‘him’, while ‘-ad’ is a suffix attached to nouns, and ‘-in’ is another often attached to verbs.


Another example confirms the ‘death’ connotation:

"Winatding" winading = "(N. E. dialect.) Dead; derived from or connected in some way with Wynaga, dead." dead: Moore 1842 [:106:8] [NYUNGAR]


Moore indicated in numerous other instances that the suffix -aga is the past tense marker. Two of these follow:

"Bimban" bimban = "Pres. part., Bimbanwin, or Bimbanan; past tense, Bimban-agga. To kiss." kiss: Moore 1842 [:12:9] [NYUNGAR]

"Yilbin" yilbin = "Pres. part., Yilbinin; past tense, Yilbinagga, To glance off; to graze." graze: Moore 1842 [:113:18] [NYUNGAR]


Consequently ‘ wanaga’ may be taken to mean ‘die did’ (did die, died):

"Wynaga" wanaga = "...dead.]" die did: Moore 1842 [:106:8.1] [NYUNGAR]


The root ‘win’ now appears to be ‘wan’. The following suggest it might be the same with an altered sound or spelling:

"wain" wan = "die" die: [11] Hassell AA 1894 [?] [:254:15] [NYUNGAR]

"wanign" wanan = "fear; fright; terror" fear: [23] Buller-Murphy [:171:46] [NYUNGAR]

"waininger" waningir = "coward" coward: [23] Buller-Murphy [:245:1] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]

"wanni" wani = "die, to" die: [6] Brady 1845 [:254:21] [NYUNGAR]

"waining" waning = "dead" dead: [10 (r)] Curr [:252:15] [Balardung]

"waining" waning = "thirsty" thirsty: [10 (p)] Curr [: 411:9] [Kaniyang]


So far all the associations with ‘win’, ‘wan’ have been negative. In the above examples, ‘die’, ‘fear’, ‘coward’ and ‘thirsty’,are all negative, the last perhaps representing ‘dying of thirst’.


In the next example the expression ‘wan yurdu’ continues the negative outlook. Its literal translation might be ‘bad forehead' rather than the ‘indisposed’ Moore has offered:

"Wan-yur-du" wan yurdu = "Indisposed." ill: Moore 1842 [:100:14] [NYUNGAR]

"yoordo" yurdu = "forehead" forehead: [3] Lyon 1833 [:268:52] [NYUNGAR]

"yurdo" yurdu = "forehead, the" forehead: [6] Brady 1845 [:269:2] [NYUNGAR]


However, ‘wan’ does not always have negative connotations:

"won-gin" wangin = "living; green - when applied to wood, leaves" green: [4] Grey 1840 [:313:31] [NYUNGAR]

"wang-en" wangin = "well" healthy: [6] Brady 1845 [: 435:34] [NYUNGAR]

"wanjin" wandyin = "sound" sound: [23] Buller-Murphy [:387:20] [Dordenup [Wardandi]]


‘sound’ in the last example, would appear to have the meaning opposite to ‘rotten’. The last example, spelt ‘wanjin’ raises the recurring problem of how to transcribe ‘g’ of the wordlist compilers, notably in the two preceding examples, as in ‘gift’ and ‘gibbon’ —or sounding as ‘j’ as in ‘gist’? and ‘giblet’?


In summary, the root ‘win/wan’ seems to have the connotation of ‘languish’, different suffixes elaborating on the meanings. In the case of the suffix ‘gin/dyin’, it appears to have the opposite connotation: ‘flourish’.

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