Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. eBook

John MacGillivray
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 302 pages of information about Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850..

Generally, the first person is more constant than the second, and the second than the third; indeed, the third is frequently no true personal pronoun at all, but a demonstrative employed to express the person or thing spoken of as the agent or object to a verb.  Now, as there are frequently more demonstratives than one which can be used in a personal sense, two languages may be, in reality, very closely allied, though their personal pronouns of the third person differ.  Thus the Latin ego = Greek ego; but the Latin hic and ille by no means correspond in form with os, auto, and ekeinos.  This must prepare us for not expecting a greater amount of resemblance between the Australian personal pronouns than really exists.

Beginning with the most inconstant of the three pronouns, namely, that of the third person, we find in the Kowrarega the following forms: 

3.

Singular, masculine :  nu-du = he, him. 
Singular, feminine :  na-du = she, her. 
Dual, common :  pale = they two, them two. 
Plural, common :  tana = they, them.

In the two first of these forms the du is no part of the root, but an affix, since the Gudang gives us the simpler forms nue and na.  Pale, the dual form, occurs in the Western Australian, the New South Wales, the South Australian, and the Parnkalla as foIlows:  boola, bulo-ara, purl-a, pudlanbi = they two.

2.

Singular :  ngi-du = thou, thee. 
Dual :  ngi-pel = ye two, you two. 
Plural :  ngi-tana = ye, you.

Here the root is limited to the syllable ngi, as shown not less by the forms ngi-pel, and ngi-tana, than by the simple Gudang ngi = thou.

Ngi, expressive of the second person, is common in Australia:  ngi-nnee, ngi-ntoa, ni-nna, ngi-nte = thou, thee, in the Western Australian, New South Wales, Parnkalla, and Encounter Bay dialects.

Ngi-pel is probably thou + pair; a priori this is a likely way of forming a dual.  As to the reasons a posteriori they are not to be drawn wholly from the Kowrarega tongue itself.  Here the word for two is not pel but quassur.  But let us look further.  The root p-l, or a modification of it, = two in the following dialects; as well as in the Parnkalla and others:  pur-laitye, poolette, par-koolo, bull-a, in the Adelaide, Boraipar, Yak-kumban, and Murrumbidge.  That it may stand too for the dual personal pronoun is shown in the first of these tongues; since in the Adelaide language purla = ye two.  Finally, its appearance amongst the pronouns, and its absence amongst the numerals, occurs in the Western Australian.  The numeral two is kardura; but the dual pronoun is boala.  The same phenomenon would occur in the present English if two circumstances had taken place, namely, if the Anglo-Saxon dual wi-t = we two had been retained up to the present time amongst the pronouns, and the word pair, brace, or couple, had superseded two amongst the numerals.

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Narrative of the Voyage of H.M.S. Rattlesnake, Commanded By the Late Captain Owen Stanley, R.N., F.R.S. Etc. During the Years 1846-1850. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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