Yinggarda Lesson 2

In the previous lesson we looked at how to say “hello” to someone you do not know. We saw that one way to begin is to ask:

Ngana nyinda?

This means ‘who are you?’ and is made up of:

ngana which means ‘who’

nyinda which means ‘you’

In Yinggarda there are three ways of saying ‘you’: nyinda means ‘you’ when talking to one person, nhubalu means ‘you’ when talking to two people, and nhurra means ‘you’ when talking to three or more people. So we have:

  • Ngana nyinda? means ‘Who are you?’ (to one person)
  • Ngana nhubalu? means ‘Who are you?’ (to two people)
  • Ngana nhurra? means ‘Who are you?’ (to more than two people)

As an alternative to Ngana nyinda? we can also ask the following question when speaking to someone you don’t know:

Ngana nyindangu yini? ‘What is your name?’ (literally ‘Who your name?’)

Notice the new words: nyindangu ‘your’ (speaking to one person) and yini ‘name’.

As you might have guessed, when speaking to more than one person we use different words:

  • Ngana nyindangu yini? means ‘What is your name?’ (to one person)
  • Ngana nhubalungu yini? means ‘What are your names?’ (to two people)
  • Ngana nhurrangu yini? means ‘What are your names?’ (to more than two people)

Notice that yini translates in English as ‘name’ or ‘names’ — in Yinggarda words for things that are not alive do not change for singular or plural.

To answer this question you simply say ngadhangu yini, which means ‘my name’ plus your name. Like we saw above, in English we have to use a linking word (this time it’s ‘is’) but in Yinggarda we do not — just place them side by side:

Ngadhangu yini Peter ‘My name is Peter’
Ngadhangu yini Mary ‘My name is Mary’

The same structure can be used to express ‘your name is …’, as in:

Nyindangu yini Peter ‘Your name is Peter’
Nyindangu yini Mary ‘Your name is Mary’

If you raise the tone of your voice at the end, then this becomes a question:

Nyindangu yini Peter? ‘Is your name Peter?’
Nyindangu yini Mary? ‘Is your name Mary?’

In the next lesson we will learn how to say hello to someone that you already know.

New words

ngadha or ngadharna ‘I’
ngadhangu ‘my’

nyinda or nyindanba ‘you’ (to one person)
nyindangu ‘your’ (to one person)

nhubalu ‘you’ (to two people)
ngubalungu ‘your’ (to two people)

nhurra ‘you’ (to more than two people)
nhurrangu ‘your’ (to more than two people)

ngana ‘who’
yini ‘name(s)’