Garay gibu-gu: Burraalga

Word of the week [Click for the video]: Brolga.

Garay gibugu sometimes appears on Facebook, sometimes on, which then links to Facebook.

This is a video dhirrabuu/flash. It does illustrate two frequent challenges of pronunciation: rr and double vowels.

The Dictionary has: Ridley said the word comes from burrul (big or high) and ga, perhaps a short form of gawugaa (head). Possible source of English ‘brolga’.

I now think that the derivation Ridley gives is unlikely. More often in such names the adjective follows the noun, e.g. gumbul-gaban bum-light ‘bustard’; birri-bangga chest-white ‘little pied cormorant’. Moreover ga is unlikely to be an abbreviation of gawugaa.

The English word is quite likely from Gamilaraay/Yuwaalaraay. Wiradjuri is a common source of English words, and wanda were in Wiradjuri country earlier, but Wiradjuri has burralgang ‘brolga’, so not so likely to be the source.

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With garay gibugu there will be sometimes be Gamilaraay 1 level sentences. The following is adapted from the Yuwaalaraay story of Emu and Bustard.

Burraalga-gu dhinawan-da guwaa-y: Minya-gu nginda gamil bungun-dhalibaa gi-gi-la-nha.

Brolga said to Emu: What-for you not wing-less getting. [in more standard English: Why don’t you get rid of your wings?/Why haven’t you got rid of your wings?]

Brolga wanted to take over from Emu as the ‘top bird’, so she pretended she had cut off her wings, and convinced Emu that that would make her much stronger, since she would use a lot less energy. Emu didn’t want to be weaker than Brolga, so she and her husband cut off each others wings.

The Langloh-Parker text of the Yuwaalaraay version – Emu and Bustard – is by far the longest GY text we have. Her English and Yuwaalaraay are in Legendary tales, available at > Old sources [Chapter 3 and appendix]. A working interlinear interpretation of Langloh-Parker’s Yuwaalaraay is attached.

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