25 November 2011


The local zoo was looking for guidance for a name for a walking tour of the zoo, and offered its preliminary ideas:
1 Burraga Nura ... Zoo’s Aboriginal Discovery Tour
Language words burraga: long nosed bandicoot;  nura: country; 
2 Yana Nura ... Zoo’s Aboriginal Discovery Tour
Language words yana: walk; nura: country
What follows is the reply sent to the zoo.
I would like to suggest a walking tour name such as :
manyinyi guwalang
I do not know for sure that Mr Bennelong would fully approve of the words, but I think he might just understand them if I could say them to him. I think he might understand something along the lines that . . . several of us are going to look for animals.
With regard to your two proposals

Burraga Nura
bandicoot camp
baraga ngura
Yana Nura
go camp
yana ngura
I would suspect Bennelong might not understand, or even recognise the language were intended to be his — because of the words chosen, possibly pronunciation, and the absence of appropriate suffix(es).
Of all the local animals in the zoo, why choose bandicoot?
The only Sydney language word I have for bandicoot is the one you provide, which is a 1901 Dharug word, by which time the language records were of doubtful reliability because the language itself was degraded.
"burraga" baraga = "Bandicoot" bandicoot  : Mathews DG 1901 [:158.2:31] [DG]
There are better attested words for kangaroo, for example.
There are also numerous words for ‘bandicoot’ in other languages in the region (but not ‘baraga’).
COUNTRY (‘place’, camp’)
‘Nura’ is an inaccurate spelling for the word for ‘camp’, if the examples below are a guide:

Original record
Original translation
new translation
source details
ngurang =
"A place"
camp  place:
Collins 1 [:507.2:17] [BB]
"we-ree no-rar"
wiri nura =
"a bad country"
bad camp  :
Anon (c) [c:21:3] [BB]
nura =
"a place or country"
camp  :
Anon (c) [c:21:2] [BB]


ngara =
camp  place:
Lang: NSW Vocab [:8:208] [DG]
ngara =
"Place of abode or possession"
camp  place:
Lang: NSW Vocab [:8:228] [DG]
ngura =
"a camp"
camp  :
Mathews 8006/3/5 -5 [108–Dharug] [:110:16] [DG]
ngura =
camp  place:
Mathews DG 1901 [:158.2:1] [DG]
"[Waree yannibee ngurreegoo]"
nguri-gu =
"[going away from the camp]"
camp to :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [23–DG] [:33:19.3] [DG]


ngura =
camp  :
Mathews DWL 1901 [:129:14] [DWL]
ngura =
"a camp; "
camp  :
Mathews DWL Grmr 1901 [:2:18.1] [DWL]
ngura =
"Hut "
camp  :
Mathews KML/Dwl [:277.1:8] [DWL]
"[ngura or ...]"
ngura =
"Camp "
camp  :
Mathews KML/Dwl [:277.1:2.1] [DWL]
ngura =
camp  :
Everitt, Mary: Folder/Doc Afa [:[84]:9] [Gga]
nguru =
"a camp"
camp  :
Mathews 8006/3/5- No 2 [Vol. 2:46:3] [Gga]
nguru =
camp  :
Mathews NGWL [:303:96] [Gga/Ngwl]
"[Ngurìnì-munnagai ]"
nguri-ni =
"[Dative | to the camp come]"
camp to :
Mathews 8006/3/5- No 2 [Vol. 2:46:4.1] [Gga]


ngara =
camp  :
Mathews DARK 1903 [:280.2:37] [Dark]
nara =
"a camp"
camp  :
Enright GDG 1900 [:113:71] [Gdg]
ngara =
camp  :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [7:2:28] [Dark]
ngara =
"A camp"
camp  :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [7:76:14] [Dark]
"[Ngaragoo yanna]"
ngara-gu =
"[Come to the camp]"
camp to :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [7:76:15.1] [Dark]
"[nguragu yung]"
ngura-gu =
"[to the camp go]"
camp to :
Mathews D-GDI 1904 [:233:28.1] [D-DGI]
There are 19 ng--- examples in the above table but only 3 (really only 2) n--- examples, and one of those is from the Port Macquarie region.
The table also shows examples of how to say ‘to the camp’, which the second proposal implies (yana nura: go camp; it probably should be ‘yana ngura-gu’.
This would seem to be a correct form of the imperative ‘Go!’. Here is one example of it:
"Yan´na" ya-na = "to send any one" go  : Mathews 8006/3/5 -5 [108–Dharug] [:115:9] [DG]
On the assumption that what is intended on the zoo tour is to find animals, I have suggested:
manyinyi guwalang
The following table presents the reasoning for the suggestion.
William Dawes presents a word for find, ‘man’ (take) or ‘man-wari’ (lit. take away).
Whether he was right or wrong no-one can now say, but he was by far the best student of the language among the First Fleeters.
In the third example below he provides the word on which I have based the first word in my suggestion. All I have done is change the pronoun at the end from ‘-mi’ (thou, or you singular) to ‘-nyi’ (we-all).
The justification for this change is in line 8, which is the line where Dawes discovers the correct form of the ‘we-all’ pronoun (instead of we-two, which is all he had known prior to this moment). That is, -nyi rather than -ngun (we-two).

Original record
Original translation
new translation
source details
man-wari =
"To find (literally to take abroad)"
take  away:
Dawes (b) [b:17:7] [BB]
man-wari-dya-wu =
"I found or did find"
find did I:
Dawes (b) [b:17:8] [BB]
"[Wårími manyémi buk?]"
man-yi-mi =
"[Where did you find the book?]"
find did thou:
Dawes (b) [b:26:13.2] [BB]
guwalang =
"The Emu (Maroang), the Patagorang, & ye “Menagine” (a small animal), are named "Goa-long". It is thought he [[Wolarewarrè]] means an animal, ..."
animal  :
King MS [:408:5] [BB]
guwalang =
"“ “Goa-long”, which term is supposed to mean an animal, as Wolarewarrè uses it in contradistinction to a bird or a fish: on being asked, if the Emu was a bird, (Binyan), he shook his head, and said, "Goa-long.” ”"
animal  :
King in Hunter [:413:12] [BB]
gulang =
"Anything hunted — game."
animal  :
Lang: NSW Vocab [:9:236] [DG]
dyangu =
"[Beasts) Common name"
animal  :
Collins 1 [:511.2:17] [BB]
"[“Bial nangadyíngun; Nangadyínye”]"
nanga-dyi-nyi =
"Hence nangadyíngun is dual We, & nangadyínye is Plural We"
sleep did we-all:
Dawes (b) [b:29:9.2] [BB]
Lines 4-7 are examples of ‘animal’. The explanation in line 5 is specific, though I own up to  a misgiving about it, partly from the following two words:

badagurang =
kangaroo  :
Collins 1 [:455:19] [BB]
barugarang =
"THE WORD "BURRU," —Kangaroo. Burru-ga-rang—Burragorang."
kangaroo big [?]  :
Russell: Recollections [:14:2] [Gga]
Both these words end in -gurang / -garang, and this is similar to the word suggested by me for ‘animal’, and makes me wonder if it is ‘animal’ at all, but rather an idea of ‘purpose’, or ‘what something is for’.
The stem of bada-gurang is bada, and this means ‘eat’. Did the Indigenous people look at a kangaroo as ‘eat-for’—something to be eaten?
The stem of the second example, baru-garang, is baru, possibly buru, meaning ‘kangaroo’:

buru =
kangaroo  :
AL&T Rowley GeoR [:259:1] [DG]
buru =
kangaroo  :
King PP Syd [:635:6.6] [Syd]
How -gurang fits in here I do not know, but ‘purpose’ does not seem right.
It would seem that it might be safe to use line 7 instead of ‘guwalang’, although I would have thought that its real meaning were not ‘animal’ but ‘dog’ (dingo). But animal / dingo ought to suit the zoo’s purpose equally well.
So my preferred suggestions would be:
manyinyi guwalang
and alternatively:
manyinyi dyangu
The spellings used by the original recorders were mostly those of amateurs of goodwill, and show variety, evidenced in the first column of the examples above. I personally think it does not do justice to the language of the Indigenous inhabitants of the time to perpetuate such renderings. Accordingly my preferences are given in the second column of the above examples.
Most of the examples are drawn from a database I have compiled over the past decade or more consisting of over 9000 entries. It has enabled me to find all these entries quickly.
This database for the Sydney language is supported by several others covering languages to the north and south of Sydney, for inland NSW, and another for interstate languages, as well as one for south-west WA. The total number of entries is probably around a quarter of a million.
Perhaps if you should be seeking further such assistance you might contact me at the outset rather than just use the Troy resource. The information within that resource is contained within the databases, constituting a minor portion of them.
Should you wish to see more on the grammar of the Sydney Language, I refer you to <http://hdl.handle.net/1959.14/738>
Friday 25 November 2011

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