Goodies from grammar reading returns - also: wallabies!

I've noticed that there are way too few posts with Goodies from Grammar reading on this blog nowadays. When we posted only on tumblr, that tag was quite common, but since we've moved to blogger, we've only got one post tagged (goodiefromgrammar-tag). Let's do something about that, after all we are humans who read grammars!
For newcomers: we're interested in systematic cross-linguistic comparison (aka linguistic typology). To get at some of the information needed for that kind of research, one needs to consult already existing descriptions of language, preferably grammars. Of the 7000+ languages in the world, more than 4000 have at least a grammar sketch or even a longer grammar. There's tons to read.

We're humans who read grammars because one could also have computers reading grammars or get similar information from comparing parallel texts. We're less interested in large languages like Swahili, Hindi, Spanish, Punjabi Arabic and Russian and more interested in a diverse sample of smaller languages.  We're not (necessarily) reading grammars to learn the language ourselves, but to understand and study it appropriately.  There are special grammars called "reference grammars" that are written in special linguist-lingo for us to communicate clearly with each other. We sometimes use those, but for many languages without reference grammars, we have to use whatever there is.

So, this time I bring you two goodies from a conversational course (not a grammar per se, but still) on Gupapuyngu [guf, gupa1247]. One about a coping mechanism of a lot of adults and the second one about a desire to improve ones life. Gupapuyngu is a Pama-Nyungan language of Australia spoken in the Northern Territory of Australia. Ethnologue counts 300 native speakers and 950 second language speakers.  The language is spoken by Yolŋu people, who are happy to talk to you here on the internet at this website.

Just like many other languages of Australia, this language is no stranger to nasals, [r]s and [l]s ^^! Underscored l and t means that they're retroflexed. I won't go through the other orthographic conventions, that's the main one for these two examples.

(1) Gupapuyngu (Lowe 1975: lesson 94, page 1)
Original: moŋalana ŋarra ŋunhiyinydja ŋunhi barpuru ŋali ga ŋarrtjunmirri
Translation: I have forgotten what (lit. that which) we were arguing (about) yesterday

(2) Gupapuyngu (Lower 1975:lesson 99, page 2)
Original: ŋarra yurru marrtji Bälmalili märr (ga) wetimirrilili
Translation: I'm going/I'll go to Bälma because there are wallabies there (the adjective wetemirri 'having wallabies' describes the place Bälma and has the same suffix -lili. The idea seems to be "I'm going to Bälma because I want to go to a wallaby-inhabited place")

Below is a picture of a wallaby in the Gurian National Park at Arnhem Land in Australia's Northern Territory. For the curious, Bälma is a place close to the Koolatong river in Arnhemland. You can see its exact position here

Lowe, Beulah M. 1975. Gupapuyngu conversational course. 102 lesson Adult Education Centre (Galiwinku, N.T.)


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