15 December 2011

NSW WORDS: Yarrangobilly

Meaning of ‘Yarrangobilly’
Yarrangobilly is in the Snowy Mountains, about 40 km west from the southern portion of the ACT. This places it in Ngarigo country. Consequently ‘yarangu-bili’ might be a Ngarigu word. It probably comprises two or three parts:
—yarang (or one of yarang, yarung; yurang, yurung; yirang, yirung)
‘bili’ is a widespread suffix in NSW languages and appears to convey the idea of ‘act’ or ‘do’. ‘-bi’ and ‘-ba’ can do this too.
‘-li’ can indicate reflexive and reciprocal (i.e. to ‘self’ or to ‘each other’): ‘I hurt myself’ (rflx); ‘we spoke to each other’ (recip);
‘-li’ can also indicate continuation: in English, ‘-ing’, as ‘singing’ as opposed to ‘sing’.
Sometimes ‘bili’ might combine the separate functions of ‘bi’ and ‘li’. At other times it seems as if it might be best considered simply as ‘do’ in English. Sometimes, too, ‘bili’ might be preceded by an ‘-m-’, and this is because some of the languages seem to prefer it that way, just as in English we prefer to say ‘an orange’ rather than ‘a orange’. Here are some examples:

English (original)
JSM re-translation

"Boam bill..."
buwa-mbili =
"Shark Island"
blow do :
Larmer (RSNSW) SydHbr [:229:2] [Syd]
garin-ari-bili =
"To cough"
cough having do :
King in Hunter [:408.1:2] [BB]
dunga-bili =
"Did cry"
cry do :
Collins 1 [:511.1:2] [BB]
duwa-bili =
hide do :
KAOL Rowley GeoR [:107:10] [DG]
damila-bili =
"A name sake, or a person with whom the name has been exchanged"
name exchange do :
Anon (c) [c:23:7] [BB]

Da-mbili =
eat do :
Mathews NRGU 1908 [:340:17] [Nrgu]
yanga-bili-ny =
sing do I:
Mathews NRGU 1908 [:340:34] [Nrgu]

dungan-bili-gu =
"for to show as a mark"
mark do :
Tkld AWA Key 1850 [K:21:13.2] [AWA]
durugan-bili-gu =
"to punish."
punish do :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:62:47] [AWA]
yuwa-bili-gu =
"to push away,  to thrust out."
push do :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:64:18] [AWA]

bu-bili =
"blow (as in smoking a pipe)"
blow do :
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:33:11] [KML]
gara-bili =
"return (trans.)"
give back do :
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:34:36] [KML]
wuna-bili =
"To give up"
give do :
SofM 18980221 [13: Parker-YWLYI] [:13.22:2] [Ywlyi]
"yena billi"
yinab-[b]ili =
"To catch (as a fish with hook) (imper. yenabilla)"
hook do :
AL&T Greenway (Ridley) [KML] [:240:23] [KML]
gima-bili =
"To make (in any way)"
make do :
AL&T Greenway (Ridley) [KML] [:240:13] [KML]
"Yunnimebillee goo"
yani-mi-bili-gu =
"To release"
release make do :
SofM 18980221 [13: Parker-YWLYI] [:13.22:1] [Ywlyi]
"[Naia bubillini]"
bu-bili-ni =
"[I am smoking]"
smoke do :
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:39:8.1] [KML]

"[Wiray-dyu gari-dyi winhanggabili-girri.]"
winanGa-bili =
"[I don't credit what you say.]"
believe do :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:114:27.21] [Wira]
buDi-nbili =
bite do :
SofM 19000521 [62 Tibbetts-Ulamogo Pl] [:64:58.1] [Wira]
yu-bili =
rain do :
SofM 18991021 [154.2: Kable/Coe-Cowra] [:154.2:5] [Wira]
gada-mbili =
rinse do :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:61:59] [Wira]
"[Ngadhu birrumbullayambool dhirraubilli]"
Dira-bili =
"[I was throwing a boomerang for play]"
rise do :
Mathews: 8006/3/4- Vol.1 [:89:6.2] [Wira]
"[Karidyidin maindyu winnangabilligi]"
winanga-bili =
"[you will not make me believe that.]"
think do :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:115:30.31] [Wira]
bu-nbili =
tobacco  :
SofM 19000521 [62 Tibbetts-Ulamogo Pl] [:63:118] [Wira]

giyara-bili =
"Milson's Point"
Larmer HARBOUR 1834 [:229:7] [Syd]
war-bili =
"Natives wrestling"
Tyrrell [:42:2] []
yarangu-bili =
UNKNOWN AnthSoc 456:21 [:21:9] [Nrgu]
ngadyan-bili =
"Permanent stream"
creek  :
McCarthy [:5:3] []
yarangu-bili =
"Flowing stream"
water  flowing:
McCarthy [:18:26] []
In the JSM retranslation (fourth) column, nearly all entries end in ‘do’, reflecting the role of ‘bili’. In the very first example, the name of Shark Island in Sydney Harbour, it is suggested that the indigenous name bu-mbili (Boambilly) means ‘blow-do’, because of the winds blowing there.
The last group, headed ANTSOC, are mainly words from The Science of Man, the Australian Anthropological Journal published at the turn of the last century, and placenames. Mostly the recorders of placenames did not provide meanings. Nevertheless, from the preceding examples, it would seem that placenames in the list might have indicated something to do with ‘doing’.
Left out of the above group are certain examples that did not fit that reasoning. They include:

bambili =
"a level cleared space on the margin of the main camp, where all the chief men meet for private consultations"
earth  flat:
M&E: GGA 1900 [:277:1] [Gga]
yibang-bili =
big  :
Mathews NRGU 1908 [:339:58] [Nrgu]
nginduru-bili =
Postcodes [::] []
bu-nbili =
tobacco  :
SofM 19000521 [62 Tibbetts-Ulamogo Pl] [:63:118] [Wira]
It might be possible to attempt some explanation even of these, for the first two most probably are mistranslations (‘earth flat’ and ‘big’). The third might not fit the scheme being a language appreciably distant (Queensland). And the fourth, ‘tobacco’, is a repetition from the first list (Wiradhuri): for rather than ‘tobacco’ the meaning is really ‘blow do’, the same as for Shark Island: for that is what a smoker of tobacco appears to do: blow the smoke out.
If ‘-bili’ means ‘do’, what about the first part of the word, ‘yarang’ (or its variants)?
A y@r@ng computer search (i.e. for ‘yarang’ and its variants) yields a considerable number and variety of results. In the examples below several themes can be identified:
—mouth: tooth
—beard: chin
—pronoun: they-all
—tree: spotted gum
—duck: dive
—youth (young man): wicked, strong, jealous (?)
—hunger: edible grub
—depart: go
—rain: cloud
—other: above, emu, long, splinter
Although the examples provided are numerous, many more were omitted. For, apart from the near duplicates, none of the results with ‘-i-‘ — ‘yirang’ and ‘yirung‘ — were included, as it seemed unlikely that ‘yarangu-bili’ with its ‘yara (as opposed to ‘yira’) stem might have derived from them. Similarly also omitted and for the same reason were examples in the form ‘yaring’, ‘yuring’ and ‘yiring’. Here are the examples:

English (original)
JSM re-translation

yurangayi =
"A wild duck"
duck :
Collins 1 [:512.1:6] [BB]
yurang =
"Mrs. Macquarie's Point"
Mrs Macquaries Point  :
Larmer (RSNSW) SydHbr [:228:32] [Syd]
": Yerúng :"
yarung =
"A tree"
tree  :
Dawes (b) [b:23:7] [BB]
yurang =
"wicked applied to a man with two wives"
wicked  :
Mahroot [:80:27] [Syd]

yurang =
above  :
Tkld KRE c.1835 [:132:32] [Kre]
yarang =
"whiskers and beard"
beard  :
SofM 18980521 [88: Brown-Hastings & Wilson R] [:88.24:7] [Wrmi]
yarang =
dawn  :
SofM 18991121 [192.4 McDougall-Grftn] [:192.4:15] [Gmbgr]
yarung =
"To Go Away"
depart  :
SofM 18991121 [192.4 McDougall-Grftn] [:193.4:35] [Gmbgr]
yurang =
dive  :
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:64:22.1] [AWA]
yurangayi =
"Black duck"
duck, black:
Mathews DARK 1903 [:280.3:32] [Dark]
yarang =
"To Walk"
go  :
SofM 18991121 [192.4 McDougall-Grftn] [:193.4:30] [Gmbgr]
yarang =
they-all  :
SofM 18991121 [192.4 McDougall-Grftn] [:193.4:1] [Gmbgr]

yirany =
beard  :
Mathews NRGU 1908 [:337:14] [Nrgu]
yaruny =
"spotted gum"
gum  spotted:
Mathews 8006/3/7/ - CRITERION [:73:19] [DWL]
yurung =
jealous  :
Mathews KML/Dwl [:279.1:1] [DWL]
yarangan =
long  :
Mathews DGA 1901 [:71.2:5] [DGA]
yur-wa-ng =
strong  :
Mathews 8006/3/7- No 7 [:16:0.2] [Gga]
yuranga =
"Man (young) "
youth  :
SofM 18990921 [146: Larmer-BBay] [:147.1:11] [DGA]

yurang =
cloud  :
Curr v. III Bk 16 §190 [386: Cameron–Forbes] [:365.7:18] [Wira]
yurang =
hunger  :
Curr v. III Bk 16 §190 [384: BENCH–Carcoar (Bthst)] [:385.2:15] [Wira]
yarang =
mouth  :
Curr v. III Bk 16 §190 [374: Keightly–Wellington] [:375.1:1] [Wira]
yurång =
rain  :
Curr v. III Bk 17 §196 [430: du Vé–Moneroo] [:431.1:38] [Nrgu]
yarang =
tooth  :
Curr v. III Bk 16 §190 [396: Gordon–Deniliquin] [:397.1:2] [Wira]
yurang =
"A young man"
youth  :
Curr v. III Bk 17 §193 [418: Ridley–Wollongong] [:418.2:14.21] [Dwl]

yurungawa =
"diver (duck)"
diver  duck:
KAOL Ridley [KML] [:20:34] [KML]
yarungan =
"Edible grub (gum tree)"
grub  edible:
Mathews KML/Dwl [:277.2:7] [KML]

yarang =
chin  :
SofM 19001121 [166: Thomas–Dubbo] [:167.1:36] [Wira]
yurang =
"a cloud"
cloud  :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:109:62] [Wira]
yurang =
emu  :
Larmer (RSNSW) YYeo [:227.1:15] [Wira]
yarang =
rain  :
SofM 18960912 [12.2 JJB-Narrandera] [:12.3:73] [Wira]
yurangGu windayi =
"sheltering from rain"
rain wait  :
SofM 18960912 [12.2 JJB-Narrandera] [:12.3:22] [Wira]
yarang =
splinter  :
Günther WIRA (Fraser) [:108:49] [Wira]
yurang =
tooth  :
SofM 18970227 [16.5: HP-Bland] [:17.5:25] [Wira]

yarangu-bili =
"Flowing stream"
water  flowing:
McCarthy [:18:26] []
yarangu-bili =
UNKNOWN AnthSoc 456:21 [:21:9] [Nrgu]
What did Yarrangobilly mean?
From the above sets of examples, can any deductions be made as to the meaning of Yarrangobilly? Let us consider them under the themes identified earlier.
First, in the Sydney Language, ‘yira’ is ‘tooth’ and ‘yaring’ is beard (both ‘-i-’-words), and so words in the tooth/mouth and beard groups seem unlikely to be candidates for yaranga-bili. The pronoun group seems an inappropriate basis for a placename; and the ‘bili’ (‘do’) suffix seems equally improbable on a pronoun.
As to the other themes listed, in the Yarrangobilly area there is no shortage of trees, and there might be ducks on the Yarrangobilly River. A young man might have had some connection with the place, or indeed anywhere, and someone might have been hungry there. In addition, someone might have departed, gone or walked at Yarrangobilly. Day might have been noticed breaking (dawn), and likewise in the Yarrangobilly mountains, rain and clouds might be frequent occurrences.
This leaves just the remaining ‘other’ theme including ‘long’, for which no link to Yarrangobilly springs to mind; nor were other examples of ‘yarang-’ meaning ‘long’ uncovered. Much the same applies to ‘above’, ‘emu’ and ‘splinter’.
With none of the examples providing an obvious suggestion as to the meaning of Yarrangobilly, where to turn next? Given the southern highlands location of Yarrangobilly, it would seem best to concentrate attention on the ‘yarang’ examples geographically closest to it, Wiradhuri and SOUTH. CURR and ANTSOC comprising words from all around the state might also be more keenly examined. The least likely words are in the Kamilaroi, North and Allsyd collections.
With nothing leaping out, it is time to look seriously at the hitherto dismissed ‘Yarrangobilly’ examples in the ANTSOC group, as well as to one of the Wiradhuri examples. These three are reproduced below:

yurangGu windayi =
"sheltering from rain"
rain wait  :
SofM 18960912 [12.2 JJB-Narrandera] [:12.3:22] [Wira]
yarangu-bili =
"Flowing stream"
water  flowing:
McCarthy [:18:26] []
yarangu-bili =
UNKNOWN AnthSoc 456:21 [:21:9] [Nrgu]
All have the form ‘yurangu’ (or similar).  And the first, ‘yurangGu windayi’ (rain wait), looks as if it might readily be modified to ‘yurangGu-bili’: ‘rain do’, which could lead to a translation ‘it rains’, or ‘rain place’. 
Where McCarthy got ‘flowing stream’ from has not yet emerged from the present ongoing investigation into indigenous words. However, such a meaning does seem plausible, even if not substantiated by any of the examples so far cited. For ‘yara’ may be associated with a ‘river’, or ‘stream’—as is plain to anyone standing on the Swanston Street Bridge in Melbourne. Here are some relevant examples of ‘yara’:

yara =
"A beach in Botany Bay. See Yerrah"
beach  :
AnthSoc 456:42: Walker [:104:28] []
yaru =
"fresh water"
water  fresh:
Tkld/Frsr AWA Aust Voc  [:53:30] [AWA]
"* Yarra Yarra"
yara yara =
"Flowing Water"
water  :
SofM 18991221 [209.1 Gostelow-Bathurst] [:209.2:54] []
yara =
"Water running through trees and shadows"
water  running:
Tyrrell [:47:17.1] []
yarum =
"River or beach shingle"
beach  :
Tyrrell [:47:26] []
Consequently Yarrangobilly might conceivably be:
yara -ngu -bili
stream SFX do
flowing stream
And McCarthy might have been right after all. But equally, Yarrangobilly could have other interpretations, including ‘rain/cloud place’, too.

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