I promised some more on the pictures I mentioned. This work is being done in conjunction with Susanne Borgwaldt, who designed the initial experiment with Arpita Bose. The rose flamingo* pictured here is an example of the stimulus materials.
Speakers are asked to name and discuss the picture. In this case, I initially asked anggi jarri ‘what’s this?’ Bardi doesn’t have much in the way of comparative structures (although it does have a semblative morpheme -marr) so it was interesting to see what resources speakers used for describing this and what aspects of the picture they concentrated on. This was, of course, the point of the experiment!
So, what did Bardi speakers do? There were a couple of options for describing blended creatures like this:
1. compound the words: this would make this a picture of a maarroo garrabal ‘flower bird’. This was sort of ok but not preferred.
2. describe the parts of the item: something like niyambala garrabal, niyarda maarroo, nalma garrabal inin ‘the feet are a bird, the body is a flower, and the head is a bird’ (**note, I made this language up because this type wasn’t used for this picture, but this was the style of some of the descriptions)
3. Use of the semblative –marr. Interestingly, and unexpectedly for me, it wasn’t possible to describe this as ‘a bird like a flower’ or ‘a flower like a bird’; speakers just about always used the semblative on a body part. For this example, it was garrabal niyarda maarroomarr ‘the bird’s body is like a flower’
Susanne and I are writing a conference paper or two on this. For further information about the pictures, please contact Susanne directly.
*Photo copyright Andreas Depping