03 August 2010

NYUNGAR Words: durda: dog / healthy (frisky)

The most common Nyungar word for 'dog' is 'durda':

"door-da" durda = "dog, a" dog: [4] Grey 1840 [:256:10] [NYUNGAR]

"tdoor-da" durda = "dog, a" dog: [4] Grey 1840 [:256:12] [NYUNGAR]

"durda" durda = "dog" dog: [8 (E)] Salvado [:255:49] [Balardung]

"dur-da" durda = "dog" dog: [5] Symmons 1841 [:256:7] [Wajuk]

"door-da" durda = "dog, a" dog: [4] Grey 1840 [:256:10] [NYUNGAR]


There were various spellings:

"dorder" durdir = "dog" dog: [24] Hassell, Edney [:255:50] [NYUNGAR]

"toorrit" durdir = "dingo" dog: [22] Gray 1987 [:162:27] [NYUNGAR]

"doora [[sic]]" dura = "dog" dog: [3] Lyon 1833 [:256:8] [NYUNGAR]

"Toort" durd = "Dog" dog: Nind, Scott [:3:39] [NYUNGAR]


Some recorders did not hear, or note, the 'r' sound:

"dudah" duda = "dog, native" dog: [7] Stokes 1846 [:256:18] [NYUNGAR]

"tutto" dudu = "dog" dog: [8 (N)] Salvado [:255:52] [Balardung]


What emerges from the following is that perhaps the indigenous people did not have in mind 'dog' so much as 'a frisky, alive, vital thing':

"Dor-dâk" durda[a]g = "Alive" healthy: Symmons, Charles [:10:5] [NYUNGAR]

"toortock" durda[a]g = "well" healthy: [2] Nind 1831 [: 435:32] [NYUNGAR]


The '-ag' suffix denotes the possessive, hence a 'dog' was seen as 'frisky-of', 'a frisky thing'.


The same idea of being 'alive' extended into plants, anything 'alive' or 'healthy' being seen as 'green' — here 'durda' combined with the suffix '-ang':

"Durdong" durda[a]ng = "(K.G.S.) Green." green: Moore 1842 [:36:2] [Minang]

"dur-dong" durda[a]ng = "green, colour" green: [9] Moore 1884 [:276:42] [NYUNGAR]


Moore, Brady and Symmons recorded the same concept with another word, 'wangin', probably based on 'wangi', 'speak':

"won-gin" wanGin = "living - applied to trees" healthy: [9] Moore 1884 [:313:30] [NYUNGAR]

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

"Won-gin" wangin = "Alive" healthy: Symmons, Charles [:10:4] [NYUNGAR]


Linking 'healthiness' (or 'friskiness', or 'green-ness') to plants was specifically indicated by Moore above. It can be assumed that the 'green' of 'durdang', meant 'healthy; as much as 'green'.


A final example provided by Moore has 'durda' + '-ag' possessive + '-abin' 'inchoative' (beginning) for 'beginning to become frisky', or 'getting better' (healthier):

"Durdakabbin" durda[a]gabin = "[Getting; becoming. ... Durdakabbin, getting well, recovering from sickness.]" healthy: Moore 1842 [:1:4.2] [NYUNGAR]


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