Language name and location: Dalabon (Ngalkbun), Australia [Refer to Ethnologue]

言名称和分布地区达拉邦语 (恩加尔克本语), 澳大利亚北部


1. wanjinɡh [waɲiŋʔ]   

2. burrkubh [ burɡunʔ] or yabbunh [yapunʔ] 

3 and 4. worrbbamh [wɔrpamʔ], also mean 'a few'

5. lanɡu-wanjinɡh-walunɡ [laŋ-waɲiŋʔ-waluŋ] hand-one-ABL = one hand, hand
   from one side


Linguist providing data and dateː Dr. Maïa Ponsonnet, School of Culture, History and Language, College of Asia & the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, November 18, 2012.

供资料的语言学家: Dr. Maïa Ponsonnet, 2012 年 11 月 18 日.


Other comments: Dalabon or Ngalkbun has few words for numerals. Worrbbamh is used for both 3 and 4. My interpretation is that it really means "a few". A plausible hypothesis is that it was also used for 5 until a ?recent? past but then langu-wanjingh-walung came in as an innovation.
 A couple of remarks:

- These numerals behave like other Dalabon nominals. i.e they can modify another
  nominal, be the head of an NP, or be used predicatively.

- Burrkunh and yabbunh are relatively interchangeable for *two*. I haven’t been able to
  identify a difference between them. I think burrkunh is more standard, e.g., if you
   count you’ll use burrkunh.

 - Langu-wanjingh-walung is the standard expression to say “on one hand” eg. in “one of
   my hands is dirty—but the other one is not”. I’ve never heard any expression with
   langu “hand” being used for ten.

- After 5, people use baka (or reduplicated form bakabaka), also a nominal, or the
   suffix -ngong.

- A possible explanation for this funny counting pattern wanjingh, burrkunh, worrbamh,
   worrbamh, langu-wanjingh-walung
, would be that worrbamh means “a few”, with a
   series wanjingh (one), burrkunh (two), worrbamh (a few), baka (several/a lot). And
   langu-wanjingh-walung may be a recent borrowing imposed over this pattern.
   Counting goes:
wanjingh, burrkunh, worrbbamh, langu-wanjingh-walung, that is,
   worrbamh is not repeated twice. Langu-wanjingh-walung is far less frequent than the
   other numerals.


Back >> [ Home ] >>  [ Australian Aboriginal ] >> [ Trans-New Guinea ] >> [ Sepik ] >>
 [ Ramu-Lower-Sepik ] >> [ Torricelli ] >> [ West Papuan ] >> [ Other Papuan languages ] >>
[ Other Euro-Asian languages ]