11 October 2011

What does ‘yela’ mean?

William Dawes of the First Fleet wrote, on page 35 of his notebook ‘b’:
P. Mr Faddy yéla Mr Clark yenyában Norfolk Island
Mr Faddy with Mr Clark went to Norfolk Island

This sentence arose in relation to the following journey to Norfolk Island recorded at the time by others:
March, 1790. [The Sirius] was ordered, in concert with the Supply, to convey major Ross, with a large detachment of marines, and more than two hundred convicts, to Norfolk [39] Island: ....... She sailed on the 6th of March. [Tench, 163]
[Tench, Watkin. 1979 [1789, 1793]. Sydney's First Four Years, being a reprint of 'A narrative of the Expedition to Botany Bay; with an account of New South Wales, its Productions, Inhabitants, &c., to which is subjoined, A List of the Civil and Military Establishments at Port Jackson' and 'A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson in New South Wales, including an accurate description of the Situation of the Colony; of the Natives; and of its Natural Productions'. Sydney: Library of Australian History in association with the Royal Australian Historical Society.]
Wednesday, 17th February [1790]
John Cobley in his summary of events through journal extracts recorded that Ralph Clark wrote in his diary on 17 February 1790 that Ross had approached him about going to Norfolk Island, and mentioned the ‘Faddy’ of Dawes’s sentence, among others.

The following are further verbatim extracts from Cobley [Cobley, John. 1963. Sydney Cove 1789-1790. Sydney: Angus & Robertson.]:
Friday, 26th February [1790]
Clark: “By the orders of yesterday, I see the officers that goes with Major Ross to Norfolk Island are Viz Capt Lieut Johnstone, 1st Lieut Kellow, Johnstone and Clark, 2 Lieuts Faddy and Ross, see the Orderly Book, and Creswell, is to remain there; so that there will be seven of use, beside Major Ross.” [Cobley, 1789-1790: p.154]
Sunday, 28th February [1790]
Clark: “By the Battn orders of this day I see on board what ships we are to embark for Norfolk. On board the Sirius, with the Commanding Officer, 1st Lieut Kellow, Johnstone and Clark, and 2d Lieut Ross. On board the Supply Capt Lieut Johnstone and 2d Lieut Faddy. Major [155] Ross asked in what ship I should wish to goe. I told in that ship he went in. He said that is the ship I should wish you to goe in.” [Cobley, 1789-1790: p.154]
Wednesday, 3rd March [1790]
Easty wrote: “Major Ross with Captn Lieut G Jonstone first Lieuts Kellow, J Jonstone and Clarke and 2d Lieuts faddy and Ross with 3 Serjts 4 Corpls 3 drums and 46 privts Embarked on bord the Sirous and Supply to Join first Lieut Creswel and 1 serjt and 14 privt now Doing Duty att Norfolk.”
Bradley: “Received on board the Sirius Major Ross, 4 Lieuts, 2 Serj, 2 Corpls, 2 Drums and 20 private Marines: The Supply received 1 Captain, 1 Lieut, 2 serjeants, 2 corporals and 26 private.” [Cobley, 1789-1790: p.158]
The ‘P.’ at the beginning of the sentence in question indicates that it was uttered by Dawes’s teenage informant Patyegorang.
‘yenyában’ can be analysed yan-ya-ban, in which ‘yan’ means ‘go’ and ‘-ya’ is a past tense indicator. The meaning of the suffix -ban is unclear, but the sentence suggests that it is a bound pronoun for ‘they-two’. However, the suffix -ban also occurs in several other examples which throw doubt on this interpretation. Nevertheless, for the present review of ‘yela’ -ban can be taken to signify ‘they-two’.

yila: a pronoun?
Could ‘yela’ be a pronoun?  Consider the following examples, especially the second column.  Given that early list compilers often either did not hear, or did not know how to record, an initial ng- sound, ‘yela’ written by Dawes might well have in reality been ‘ngyila’, ‘nyila’ or similar. Pronoun possibilities abound in the Sydney region, and elsewhere.

ngyílu =
"We three only"
we-all only  :
Dawes (b) [b:27:6] [BB]

nyila =
"this (agent) (past & future]"
this fellow  :
Mathews DWL 1901 [:140:10.3] [Dwl]
[many examples];
nyili =
"If the individual represented by the pronoun is doing some act, nyilli is used "
this fellow  :
Mathews DWL 1901 [:140:8.1] [Dwl]
 [many examples];
nyila =
"[we sit (excl.)]"
we-all  :
Mathews GGA 1901 [:154:16.1] [Gga]
[30 examples]
waba-lu-nyili =
"We all [are beating each other]"
beat  RECIP we-all:
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [:99:5] [Gga/Ngwl]
 [4 examples]
ngiyin =
"the plural pronoun, we."
we-all  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Spec Dial (G.) [G:135:10] [Awa]

-nyang =
"[We-all] [pl, incl.]"
we-all  :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [7:75:10.2] [Dark]

"[Ngullea bondillittanyang]"
ngaliya =
"[We are eating]"
we-two  :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [7:77:3.1] [Dark]

 But if ‘yela’ were a pronoun, the above examples suggest the translation of the sentence would need to be one of:
—Faddy we-two Clark went to Norfolk Island
—Faddy this/that (fellow) Clark went to Norfolk Island
It could hardly have been ‘we-two’, because Patyegorang was talking about others, and not ‘we’. So the demonstrative pronoun ‘this/that’ might be considered a possibility.
yila: meaning ‘with’?
Dawes gives the translation ‘with’, and indeed in Aboriginal languages a suffix occurs termed ‘comitative’, meaning ‘in company with’—which could apply in this case. (There are other uses of ‘with’, one being known as ‘instrumental’ as in ‘I hit him with a stick’.) Unfortunately there do not appear to be any examples in the Sydney language records of a comitative suffix—other than possibly this one of going to Norfolk Island ‘with’ Faddy/Clark.
Languages of the region do have examples of comitative ‘with’; but they are regrettably few (in Wiradhuri), and while plentiful to the north and south of Sydney, all instances look nothing at all like ‘yila’.
yila: as an adverb?
Several ‘yila’-type records were found in Kamilaroi, as an adverb. These looked promising. The following are a few examples:

yila =
AL&T Greenway (Ridley) [KML] [:242:11] [KML]
yila =
"then (at once)"
recently  soon:
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:35:27] [KML]
yila =
"soon: often used before this tense of the verb [future]"
soon  :
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:8:23.1] [KML]
yila =
soon  :
Mathews KML/Dwl [:268:2.2] [KML]
yilada =
now  :
AL&T Greenway (Ridley) [KML] [:241:6.1] [KML]
yiladu =
now  :
Mathews KML/Dwl [:268:2.1] [KML]
yilamba =
"Before long, or not long ago"
presently  just now:
AL&T Greenway (Ridley) [KML] [:242:12] [KML]
Here is ‘yila’ as an adverb of time: just a little ahead or behind the present — so either ‘presently’ or ‘just now’. In pursuing this line of enquiry your researcher uncovered two adverb-of-time examples from Wiradhuri, featuring the closely related ‘yala-’:

yalul =
always  :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:107:38] [WIRA]
"[Ngindu yallabul wibiagirri]"
yalabul =
"[you shall sit down always]"
always  :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:110:36.1] [WIRA]

And to the south of Sydney, ‘yila’ appeared to crop up once again as an adverb, but of place rather than time:

yilanga-dyin =
"Behind me"
behind  me:
Mathews 8006/3/5 -5 [:128:31] [Dwl]
yilanga-li =
last  :
Mathews DWL 1901 [:149:25.2] [Dwl]
Finally, a trace of a 'yila' lookalike was encountered to the north, in the Gadang language north of Newcastle:

yalidin =
after  :
Enright GDG 1900 [:114:29] [G:dg]

So, in conclusion, what does ‘yela’ mean in the sentence:
Mr Faddy yéla Mr Clark yenyában Norfolk Island
Given that Dawes translated it in the past tense:
Mr Faddy with Mr Clark went to Norfolk Island

it would seem that rather than as ‘presently’, ‘yila’ might in fact be translated as ‘just now’, or ‘recently’. And certainly not as ‘with’.

[JS: Tuesday 11 October 2011]

08 October 2011

SYDNEY: Warrang or Warrane — OR ngurang?

One of the earliest recorded names for Sydney, or Sydney Cove, was provided by Philip Gidley King:
"Warrane" waran = "The tribe of Wallumede inhabit the north shore opposite Warrane, or Sydney-Cove, and are called Walumetta. [Sydney Cove]"   : King in Hunter 1968 [:275:11] [BB]
This was derived from King's 1790 manuscript:
"Warrane" waran = " The tribe of Wallumede inhabit the North shore opposite Warrane or Sydney Cove & called Walumetta." Sydney Cove—: King MS [:406:5] [BB]
[King, Philip Gidley. 1786-90. Journal of P.G. King, 1786-1790. Sydney (Mitchell Library).]
There are various other references to Sydney spelt ‘Warrane’, by H. Haywood Richardson, George Thornton, McCarthy, Tyrrell, and Attenborough, but all appear to be copies of this original King entry.
Dawes provided "Worrong-woóree" warang-wuri = ": On this side (the water) :" side  near: Dawes (b) [b:22:3] [BB]

The spelling ‘warang’ also occurred, first used by Dawes.
"Wåráng" warang = "I then told her that a whiteman had been wounded some days ago in coming from Kadi to Wåráng & asked her why the black men did it.—" Sydney Cove  : Dawes (b) [b:33:4.3] [BB]
"Warrang" warang = "Sydney Cove"   : Meehan 1807 [::] [BB]
"Warang" warang = "Rose Bay"   : Wentworth, D’Arcy, papers [::5] [BB]
The surveyor James Meehan used it in 1807, and Darcy Wentworth sometime before he died in 1827, though he ascribed the meaning to Rose Bay.
In the Anon notebook of around 1790-91 there is:
"Warrangi" warangi = "Right hand" right  : Anon (c) [c:12:8] [BB]
which, if Dawes were to be correct about the meaning of ‘side’, might suggest the settlement were perceived as being on the right-hand side of Sydney Cove, and hence the reference provided by the unknown informant.
Also in the Anon notebook is:
"War-ran-jam-ora" waran dyamara = "I am in Sydney Cove" Sydney Cove, I am in  : Anon (c) [c:18:4] [BB]
The ‘jam’ (dyam) or possibly  ‘dyamu’ part of this might have meant ‘here’, from: 
"D'iamŏ" dya-mu = "Here I am; Here I come" here  I: Southwell [:149.1:25.1] [BB]
In about 1832, a generation or so later, by which time the Sydney language was largely lost, Larmer recorded:
"Warung áréá" Warangariya = "Billy Blues Point" side  xxx [?]: Larmer (RSNSW) SydHbr [:229:5] [Syd]
This contribution, apparently linked in some way, does not add any clarification.
It is probably the case that ‘warrang’ and ‘warrane’ are two ways people in about 1790 recorded the same word they heard. If one said the word to a group today, similar discrepancies in the spelling of it would probably occur.
“Warang’ might have genuinely been a genuine placename for the location on Sydney Cove where the settlement was established. Or it might have been a casual reference to the side of the cove on which the settlement was springing up; or the side from which a boat at the time was about to leave for some harbour journey.
Or it might have meant something else entirely, as will be considered shortly. But first a comment about the early recorders transcribing what they heard.
Early recorders apparently commonly experienced difficulty in making out the precise sound of a word they heard, that they were trying to write down. No indigenous words in the Sydney region began with a vowel, and yet there are written records from all over with words starting with a vowel. It was probable that in some regions of Australia a consonant once there might have begun to be dropped, but even so it seems reasonable to be suspicious of words lacking an initial consonant. Often in such cases a particular consonant can be tried to see if it might result in a word more like others recorded for the same meaning. The best consonants to try are ‘w’ and ‘y’, referred to by linguists as ‘semi-vowels’. There is also one other sound that appears to have been omitted because of its difficulty for English speakers: ‘ng’ at the start of a word. In English the 'ng' sound is very common at the end of a word or in the middle (as in ‘singing’, ‘banging’), but never at the start of a word. But is is very common there in Australian indigenous languages. Sometimes such Indigenous Australian words were spelt beginning ‘Kn-’ or ‘Gn-’ — or the problematic sound was just omitted altogether, leaving a word apparently beginning with a vowel.
The following pairs of examples show a consonant present in the first and omitted in the second.

"Woongarra" wungara = "Little boy" boy  little: Lang: NSW Vocab [:5:144] [DG?]
"Oongra" wungara = "Boy" boy  : Paine, Daniel [:41.1:9] [BB]
"wuttha" wuDa = "Ear" ear  : Mathews NYMBA 1904 [:225.3:48] [NYMBA]
"utha" wuDa = "ear" ear  : KAOL Ridley [WIRA] [:122:24.2] [WIRA]
"Yan-ne-dah" yanada = "moon" moon  : Phillip, Arthur: Ltr 3 Dec. 1791 to Banks [:9:6.1] [Syd]
"anarda" yanada = "moon" moon  moon: Monkhouse [:34.1:14] [Syd]
"Ngalawáu" ngalawa = "To sit down Or Sit thou" sit  stay, to: Dawes (b) [b:14:5] [BB]
"al-lo-wah" ngaluwa = "Stay here, or sit down" sit  stay, to: Collins 1 [:511.1:15] [BB]
Sometimes a record from some other place sets off a new train of thought. A case in point is the following from a Wiradhuri list:
"Oorabooga" ngura buga = "A stinking camp (Oarong–a camp. Booka–stinking.)" camp stinking  : SofM 18991221 [211: Richardson-Bathurst] [:212.1:20] [WIRA]
This example can be further analysed:
"[Oarong]" ngurang = "[(Oarong–a camp. . .)]" camp  : SofM 18991221 [211: Richardson-Bathurst] [:212.1:20.1] [WIRA]
"[Booka]" buga = "[(. . . Booka–stinking.)]" stinking  : SofM 18991221 [211: Richardson-Bathurst] [:212.1:20.2] [WIRA]
From the first of the two examples immediately above it seems just possible that the ‘Warrane / Warrang’ in Sydney might have been a case where a ‘w’ was substituted for an initial ‘ng’ not properly heard, and that instead of ‘warang’ what had been said might actually have been ‘ngurang’
In Wiradhuri ngurang is the word for ‘camp’:
"Ngurang" ngurang = "camp, nest" camp  : Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:93:59.1] [WIRA]
In Sydney Collins recorded the same word as meaning ‘place’:
"Gno-rang" ngurang = "A place" camp  place: Collins 1 [:507.2:17] [BB]
‘Place’ could well have been ‘camp’, and indeed ‘camp’ was often recorded — as ngura / ngara, as in:
"Ngur´ra" ngura = "a camp" camp  : Mathews 8006/3/5 -5 [:110:16] [DG]
Could the real meaning of Warang for ‘Sydney’ actually be ‘camp’? 
On the one hand this seems improbable as Dawes meticulously captured and recorded words beginning with ‘ng’ even introducing a special symbol akin to /ŋ/ to spell them. Accordingly he appears unlikely to have made an error in in recording "Worrong-woóree" as quoted above. It is interesting to note that he placed colons around his translation of this expression: “: On this side (the water) :”; this was a device he employed to indicate that he was unsure of the actual meaning. Consequently, any suggestion that ‘warang’ recorded as the name for Sydney might really have been ‘ngarang’ (camp) is doubtful. Nevertheless it remains an interesting possibility, particularly as the settlement at Sydney Cove might easily have been referred to by the indigenous population as a ‘camp’, and hence as ‘ngarang’, or ngura / ngara, rather than as ‘warang’.