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‘ DIFFERENT TALK FOR DIFFERENT RELATIVES: RELATIONSHIPS SHOWN IN RESTORED STORIES FROM THREE GUMBAYNGGIRR (N. COAST NSW) DIALECTS.’ Gary Williams, Michael.

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Presentation on theme: "‘ DIFFERENT TALK FOR DIFFERENT RELATIVES: RELATIONSHIPS SHOWN IN RESTORED STORIES FROM THREE GUMBAYNGGIRR (N. COAST NSW) DIALECTS.’ Gary Williams, Michael."— Presentation transcript:

1 ‘ DIFFERENT TALK FOR DIFFERENT RELATIVES: RELATIONSHIPS SHOWN IN RESTORED STORIES FROM THREE GUMBAYNGGIRR (N. COAST NSW) DIALECTS.’ Gary Williams, Michael Jarrett, Dallas Walker, Steve Morelli Muurrbay Language Centre, Nambucca Heads Nymboidan (Shannon- Laves) yaˑŋgabularguragaˑraweguraiñ therecome2 bro.backmessengers Ya=anggabula-gurrgaarla-wa-ygurraany. here=EVIDpair-M[SBJ]back-IVZ-NFmessenger[SBJ] Here they are! The two messenger brothers are coming back. Southern (Buchanan) Yaam=agaywaruungga-duyanigurra-nggamayngilina. this.here=EMPHup.LOC-ERGgo.CAUS-PSTspearthis. Bawga-ng=agayBirrugan-aya. poke-PST=EMPHBirrugan-OBJhere Well the man dropped this spear and speared Birrugan right here

2 Northern (Smythe) Ja:mandibu:nmiwjilánnamilgánjara yaam=andibuunmi-wyilaa-namilga-nyarr this=iffall-FUThere-ABLridge.pole-ABL ŋanjani:gadugammaidjubaugaŋ ngaanyaniigadugamay-jubawga-ng 1SG.OBJGoori.ERGspear-INSpoke-PST If these should fall from the ridge pole here, men will have speared me.

3 Northern Nymboidan Southern

4 Semantically, (see page 4) Nymboidan and Southern are most distant. Smythe’s story material shows that N. shared some vocabulary with Ny. (red) and S. (black) while having unique lexemes of its own (green). At the morphological level Nymboidan is most divergent, for instance making an allative / purposive case distinction never found in the other two dialects. *Syntactically Nymboidan and Northern share at least two sentence level constructions. Southern diverges on this level.

5 Gumbaynggirr Kinship Gumbaynggirr had a section system: with four male and four female section names. It was patrilocal and exogamous.: one had to marry a classificatory cross-cousin; distant both in blood and geographically. The section names aligned with kinship terms like ngaji: ‘cross-cousin’ or barran ‘cross-aunt / potential mother-in-law’. Kinship and communication styles in Aboriginal Australia Kin relationships largely constrain communication styles. There is a continuum within groups: *from extreme avoidance; *through partial avoidance, e.g. Brother-in-law language; *through to what Goddard (1992, 99) terms ‘The oblique speech style Tjalpawangkanyi’; through a relaxed style; to the speech used in a joking relationship

6 Grammatical respect structures The ‘let’ suffix on imperative forms of verbs The moderating suffix -la… (5)Yanaa  Yanaa-la go-IMP ‘Go!’  go.IMP-let‘Let’s go’ …In Nymboidan can produce the equivalent of ‘please’: (6)Yilaa-mi-la! here-IAVZ[IMP]-let! ‘Please come (closer everyone)!’

7 Respect Plural on pronouns Avoidance / politeness through pluralising second person pronouns, and through use of the third person In the Nymboidan story-plays the plural ‘you’ in address is invariably used between brother and sister, E.g. the blind boy tells his older sister: (7) Ngaaja juun.gu jinda-ama ngujiny-ing bumaa-ygu. 1SG.ERG tell.FUT o.sister-OBJ 2PL.AVOID-OBJhit-PURP ‘I'll tell big sister to hit you.’ Laves in a marginal note writes: ‘Second pers. Sing. Between brother and sister; also to mo. bro. and reciprocal.’

8 To express ‘we two’, between a brother and sister the first person plural, not dual, is used. In the following, older sister is talking to the same brother: (8)Yanaa=gay ngiyaa yaarri mangga! go.IMP=EMPH 1PL.[AVOID]SBJ CHGE ahead Come on! Let’s move on! When the blind boy tells the senior sister to leave the other one to her fate, the speaker together with the one addressed are marked as plural but the sister referred to is not marked for number. (9)Ngiyaa-lawananga ngarri! Bayabuumguyuunggu gadila! 1PL-ERGleave.IMP 3SG[OBJ]let hit.FUT bad ought. ‘Let’s you and me leave her. That evil one deserves to be killed’ When the older sister addresses her brother and sister together a different politeness strategy is used: she addresses them in the third person. (10) Ngarribularriyanaawarriibuujurr 3two[SBJ]go.IMPdown.eastlittle.boy ‘You and the boy [Literally: ‘Those two …] go down-river!’ This resembles the ‘Sie’ (3PL; ‘they’) used for formal ‘you-one’ in German. It contrasts with the address of two non-related others: (11)Bulaayilaabaguurli 2DU.SBJherelie.down[IMP] ‘You two, lie here!’

9 The simple second person dual pronoun is also used when brother says to his sister ‘you two’, referring to her and an absent relative: (12) Jugi-dabulaa-lanyayagijalumbaw? where-LOC2DU-ERGsee.PRSlong.ago ‘Where did you and that other one see it long ago?’ The term between a classificatory mother’s brother and nephew is also the reciprocal ngujin plural. Moon-man to nephew: : (14)Yaarringujilingmaani ngaanya CHGE2PL.AVOID.ERGcarry[IMP]1SG.OBJ ‘Now you carry me’ Surprisingly, the relationship between a man and his classificatory cross-aunt (a potential mother-in-law) does not normally use ngujin. ‘Aunt’ and ‘nephew’ simply speak to each other as ngiinda: 2.SG.. However, the ngujin term is used in one passage. The background is that the wicked Porcupine is waiting for his promised bride from a woman (an ‘aunt’ / mother-in-law to be) who hides her sole girl-child from him. She says to him: (15) Waarriya ngujiny! Yaam ngaaja giibarr gurray ngarrwa-ng. wait.IMP 2PL.AVOID.SBJ here 1SG.ERG boy[OBJ] all bear-PST ‘Keep waiting, Sir. I’ve been having all boy-babies.’ This formal address may formerly have been the norm.

10 Respect Plural on nouns There are several instances in Nymboidan of plural being marked on a noun and used to mark politeness. It can be used in reference to a single person, but also in address. However this usage is not simply determined by the kinds of relationships mentioned above. It can connote as much pity as respect. In the following, younger brother is sorry for his sleeping elder brother and thinks respectfully (16)Gurraam=adi yaam gagu-urra baguurli-ng. unfortunate=Q here brother-PL.POL lie.down-PST ‘Isn’t he unfortunate?! My poor brother is lying down here.’ In the following a woman promises to get help for another (no relationship mentioned) who has been abused and hurt: (17)Ngii=barr! Ngaaja juun.gu gawnggarr yes=then 1SG.ERGtell.FUTy.woman.VOC.PL.POL ‘OK, I’ll tell them, young woman.’ The ordinary word would be gawnggan.

11 Respect Plural on demonstratives The same effect is produced by pluralising demonstratives associated with a third person referent. In (18) the speaker is referring to his potential mother-in-law although this structure can be used for non-relatives. (18)Yaam-anga jurruy-a gaarla-wa-y! this.here-PL.RESPECT o.woman-FAM.SBJ back-IVZ-NF ‘Here’s the elder-woman coming back’ Yaamanga here is a term of a respect which is reinforced by the use of the optional family-noun subjective suffix jurruy-a. In the following both the demonstrative and the person are pluralised. In a canoe on the way back to his homeland, a young man is pointing out to his aunt and wives to be: (20)Wa! Yarrang-anga gagu-urra ngayinggi-ng! oh that.there-PL.INDF o.brother-PL.POL sit-PST ‘Oh! Oh! That’s about where my brother lives.’ The gaguurra is about polite reference to his absent brother. But the plural yarranganga above is used to make the location indefinite : ‘That’s about where …’ in polite deference to his aunt. This accords with practices elsewhere. Goddard (1992, 102) cites Sutton, (1982) to reinforce the idea that respectful speech styles often include ‘generality of reference’ which occurs, e.g., among the Yankunytjatjara.

12 Semantic respect structures: Haviland (1979, 366) had clear examples of ‘…highly codified vocabularies of respect and avoidance’ in his study of Guugu-Yimidhirr brother-in-law language. Similarly R.M.W. Dixon – among several others – referred to an ‘avoidance speech style’ or ‘mother-in-law language’ which must be used in the presence of a taboo relative. (Dixon, 2002, 58-59) There is little evidence from Gumbaynggirr of such language: a few lexemes have been found, as shown below. In Nymboidan Juulu is a word for ‘brother’ used by, or in the presence of, a person who is of the right section to marry the ‘brother’ (usually gagu). Man to woman marriagable to brother (22)Yang nganyu juulu. that 1SG.GEN brother.AVOID ‘That’s my brother’ Similarly when a woman and a person marriageable to her are present she may not be referred to by the ordinary word for ‘sister’: jinda-: (24)Yangiindamaanajaluganda! here2SG[ERG]take.IMPsister.AVOID[OBJ] ‘Here, you take her sister’

13 The avoidance pronoun maarri is sometimes used instead of the ordinary 3rd person pronoun ngarri: ‘that one’. In one story, Moon-man, referring in part to his ‘uncles’, his classificatory mother’s brothers, says to a group not including such kin. (25)Maarri-mbing niigarr; ngarri=da waali-w. that.AVOID-PLman 3SG[SBJ]=but die-FUT ‘But those men, they’ll surely die.’ Thus ‘uncles’ who are given respect-plural in address are given the maarri pronoun in reference. Similarly, where a man jealously accuses his wives of having danced closely with a classificatory brother of his: that is, one who could have married them, he uses maarri instead of normal ngarri: ‘that one’; a ‘distancing’ reference. (26)Bulaa marriija-girr yiliwiya-y niigada. 2DU.SBJ that.one.AVOID.LOC-only dance-PRSman-LOC ‘You two danced the whole time with that man.’ The two other uses of maarri are in reference to sacred beings and sites. It is probable that there was once a more extensive list of avoidance and respect lexemes but the evidence does not point to specialised ‘mother- in law’ or ‘brother-in-law’ languages.

14 Stylistic respect structures Elements of the Gumbaynggirr story-plays show that devices indicating avoidance are rather similar to those of Yankunytjatjara, where, although no lexemically distinct avoidance or brother-in-law language exists, the oblique speech style, Tjalpawangkanyi, uses a set of stylistic structures to obtain the same effect. The stylistic structures... include a variety of devices for achieving indirectness of reference and obliqueness of style, and for conveying uncertainty and disinterest.’ (Goddard, 1992, 99) Much of the Yankunytjatjara oblique speech style mentioned in Goddard (1992, 110), and the lexemes that go with it have echoes in the Gumbaynggirr story texts, although the kinds of relations requiring ‘oblique speech’ differ somewhat. Goddard (1992, 102) gives examples of the difference between ordinary and Tjalpawangkanyi style. (Neutral style): ‘I haven’t got any firewood. Stop and I’ll load some on.’ (Tjalpawangkanyi): ‘Oh, some firewood, I see. I’d rather like to get some.’ The morphemes mentioned for Yankunytjatjara to produce such a ‘don’t- put-the-other-one-on-the-spot’ style have many parallel or similar morphemes in Gumbaynggirr. [SEE notes p10]

15 Some morphemes used in Gumbaynggirr ‘sideways-talk’ -di question clitic can be used to mark a question or show hesitancy in making a decision. However It is also clearly used like the ‘eh?’ in Aboriginal English, inviting the listener to share in sentiments expressed. (34)Ngarri=di barluwirrjan gambuny. 3SG[SBJ]=eh? Tiger.Cat.promiscuous ‘He’s a predator, isn’t he, eh?, that Tiger Cat.’ (35)Ngalii=barr garlugun=di yiliwiya-rra gawnggan. 1DU[SBJ]=then one=Q dance-COM.IMP y.woman ‘OK then; we’ll have one more dance young woman, eh? gunda gunda: ‘merely’, moderates the forcefulness of a declarative statement. An Eagle man being hunted away from the family camp says (36) Gunda yilaa-mi-ng nguraala ngaligay nyayagi-gu ngujiny-ing. merely here-IAVZ-PST camp.ALL 1DU.EXCL see.PRS-PURP 2PL-OBJ ‘We just came to see you all.’

16 -(a)nda This enclitic is mainly found as a verbal suffix: ‘if you please’. It can turn commands into suggestions or act as a politeness marker as in the following (sole) Southern example. A stranger, a cannibal woman, wishes to ingratiate herself with a young man and asks: (36)Galang! Dawa, jugana=nda yaam ngiinda? gee y.brother where.ABL=POL this.here 2SG[SBJ] ‘Could you please tell me where you might be from, young brother? –(a)nda is not primarily used to mark politeness required by a particular relationship; but rather to gain favourable treatment from anyone. It is found in Nymboidan between several relations including married couples and brothers. It is sometimes used for comic effect. For example the Elder Eagle politely invites his cowardly brother to test glowing embers with his hands. (37)Maana=nda marlaanggu julaarr! Balgaarr-amba=nda julaarr! touch.IMP=POL hand.INS ash[OBJ] wide-TVZ.IMP=POL ash[OBJ] ‘Please touch the embers with your hands and spread them out?’ –(a)nda can be used to mark deference by the younger to the older. Thus a young man asks for directions from the older men in regard to the day’s hunt: (39)juway yaanda where.ALLgo.POL.IMP ‘Where would you like us to go?’

17 The following dialogue shows kin-based politeness is quite marked between a man and his potential mother-in-law, including an indirectness shown by using the contrastive ga(ː)la rather than a direct question. In the ‘Wild women’ story, older brother wants to ward off the visiting ‘barran’ aunt, who means to abduct his younger brother to marry him off to her daughters. (40) Nephew Ya=di ngiinda barran? here=Q 2SG[SBJ] aunt You’re here, eh, auntie? Aunt Ngii, yang ngaya, baarri. yes here 1SG.SBJ dear.nephewYes, I'm here, dearie. Nephew Juway ngarri ngiinda yarraang, barran? where.ALL 3SG2SG[SBJ] go.PST aunt Which way are you headed, auntie? Aunt Gaala nginu gambirr? CONTR2SG.GEN y.brother What about your younger brother? Nephew Ngaya-girr=di yaam ngayinggi! 1SG.SBJ-only=Q here sit[PRS]I'm all alone here, eh? Aunt Yanaa=nda ngalii nguraala-mi! go.IMP=POL 1DU[SBJ]camp.LOC-IAVZ[IMP] We might go to your camp?

18 When elder brother stays uncooperative, the ‘auntie’s’ politeness language, including indirectness, disappears; showing again that language is not entirely constrained by kinship!: Aunt Yanaa! Yanaa! Ngiinda yanaa! go.IMP go.IMP2SG[SBJ] go.IMP ‘Go! Go! You go!’ So –(a)nda and other Tjalpawangkanyi- style politeness devices are often used in response to the events between interlocutors and their wants and needs rather than in response to the kin-relationship between them.

19 Joking Relationships among Gumbaynggirr Haviland (1979, 378) notes that: ‘…avoidance language accompanying restrained and respectful relationships had its parallel in joking language, organised obscenity, which accompanies relaxed, familiar ‘joking relationships’. People may only joke, or swear in jest, with specific relations. The Gumbaynggirr Moon Story and Jack Larrigo’s comments about it in Laves’ notes (p1214), both give an explanation for whom one jokes with. Larrigo explains joking relationships as they obtain in Gumbaynggirr society: ‘Joking of Garrbuung with Wambuung [i.e. cross-cousin/brother-in-law] less with Maruung [mother’s brother /potential father-in-law] not with Wiruung [father or son]. (L. 1222)’ These notes also show sisters-in-law joke with each other, but mothers and daughters never joke. The stories themselves show that brother- brother joking is common too. In the Moon Story, Moon-man (Garrbuung section) rejects his brothers and uncles for not carrying him to his island in Coffs Harbour. One result is that he plays tricks, especially on anyone of the Garrbuung section, i.e. his ‘brothers’ and to some extent anyone of the Wambuung section i.e. his ‘uncles’ who attempt to go to his island. ‘Just in fun’ (L. 1222), he makes the tide come up and ‘…fisher has to swim back’.

20 The Moon Story tells us that brothers can have some joking. The Goanna Brothers in one story mock each other. (41)Nganyu gagujalaany guuru 1SG.GEN o.brother mouth black Minya-agu waandingiinda bindarrga, gagu? what-ALL climb[PRS] 2SG[ERG] pine[OBJ]o.brother Juwa, juwa gagu! Juwa! Jali-julu gulburr-a! (baulk) (baulk) o.brother (baulk) bottom-side rock-IVZ.IM ‘My black-mouthed brother, why do you climb the pine-tree, brother. [baulking curse]! brother. [baulking curse!] Let the ground below you turn to rock! Black Mouth, why do you climb it.’ This kind of banter goes downhill from here. The older brother then retorts (42) Wa! Wanaa ngiinda ngaanya bayaa maruwan~maruwan Oh don’t 2SG[ERG] 1SG.OBJ curse initiated.one~ATT ‘Oh, don’t you bad-mouth me, you half-baked man!’ So the two brothers start wrestling. Joking between brothers can lead to fights. Underlying tensions and sibling rivalries are evident here.

21 Joking relationships between cross-cousins / brothers-in-law As Laves’ notes show, brothers-in-law more than others are expected to joke with each other. Quoll jokingly threatens to cut down his brother’s- in-law (Koala’s) magic string-bridge on which the whole tribe is travelling. [Quoll] (43)Ngaaja=da ya gaygi-w nandiirr ngajii-ngundi. 1SG.ERG=on.the.other.hand here cut-FUT string brother-in-law-GEN ‘But I think I'll cut brother-in-law's string here.’ [Koala] (44) Wanaa ngiinda gaygi nandiirr nganyundi, buujurr! don't 2SG[ERG] cut[IMP] clever.string 1SG.GEN little-boy ‘Don't you cut my string, you little boy.’

22 In this brother-in-law joking there are kinds of harsh language not ordinarily found in conversation. The contradictory –da: ‘but’ is not found in polite talk. Similarly, Koala would never call another adult buujurr: ‘little boy’. If the joking relationship gets out of control it may result in death as in the Southern version of the Sea Story where brother-in-law is drowned for threatening to flood the entire tribe in a tidal wave. Conclusion: Speech styles and kinship. We have not discussed all the possible categories of relationships, but merely used evidence from the Gumbaynggirr story-plays for some of these. We see that apart from a few examples like the avoidance pronoun ngujin between brother and sister, kin relationships strongly influence but do not determine the speech style (polite, everyday or joking) that is used between people.


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