The 4000th Bardi dictionary word

Drumroll… I just added the 4000th headword to the Bardi dictionary. It’s wajarrgi, a little hawksbill turtle. The original dictionary was about 1800 words. There was another draft dictionary, compiled by Toby Metcalfe, with not much overlap in content with the published dictionary, so getting to 3000 words was pretty easy. The file stayed around 3500 for a while before starting to compile stuff from the Laves materials. There’s probably another few hundred headwords sitting in my fieldnotes and the remaining Laves texts. [The headwords don’t count all the different complex predicate formations; if we’d included all the preverb-inflecting verb possibilities as different headwords rather than as subentries we’d already be well over 5000.]

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16 responses to “The 4000th Bardi dictionary word

  1. I take it wajarrgi are good to eat, like most endangered species.

  2. NI didn’t like them. I didn’t ask the others. They’re ‘muddier’ than the green turtles.

  3. I thought Bardi would be a primitive language with only a few hundred words.

    Just kidding. Good work Claire.

  4. yeah well actually it’s the same 50 words over and over again… they all mean ‘meeting place’.

  5. do you know the word for community?

    • Maybe use “gandoorrman” (countryman)? I don’t know a word that means community on its own. People from the old days talked about “ambooriny arongon booroo” (people from the same booroo).

  6. Can anyone tell me the name for horseman, and brother.

  7. Brother is oombarn for older brother and bola for younger brother. I don’t know a word for horseman, but horse is yaawarda.

  8. Thank you;
    The Bardi people in Fitzroy Crossing considered a great horseman as there
    brother.
    My daughter has a horse she would like to name after him and felt it she would like to name him in Bardi.
    Just a foot note, when having a session with a well known medium.
    The medium asked me why is this man surrounded by Australian Aboriginals.
    only after asking his wife did I realise why.
    Again Thank you

  9. You could use yaawardiidi. That would mean someone who is good with horses.

  10. Do you know the word for family or the family?

  11. I don’t think there is one – not one that directly translates “family” in English. But booroo is the group of people who come from the same place or area within Bardi country, and there’s gandoorrman.

  12. Can someone tell me how wajarrgi (above) is pronounced? I came across this site looking ups ome Bardi words for a novel I have coming out in September 2014 and would love to include this word. Thanks!

  13. Hi Kylie,
    Have you talked to anyone at One Arm Point about using Bardi words in your novel? It would be polite to do that.
    Claire

  14. Ward – jard – ga

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