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The Story of Nisham, the Flood, and the Creation of the Different Peoples

Told by Li Yaohua (nəwɑ̄ŋzɑ̀r bɹɑ̄ʑì)


tɕɑ̄ pɑ̄ɹ tɕɑ̄ pɑ̄ɹ ə̌tsə̀ŋ kɹɔ̀ŋ dɔ̌
long.ago time long.ago time human village *LOC*
! 'Long ago, in a human village,'


niɕɑ̀m lɑ̄:n ə̀l tɕìwɑ̌,
(name) named have/exist *HS*
! 'there lived a person named “Nisham”.'


ə̌jɑ̀ niɕɑ̀m nɯ1 zɛ̄ɹ kɯɁ sɔ̄, nìtɕɔɁ kɯɁ kɔ̄ tɕìwɑ̌
that (name) *TOP* fly also know.how tail also grow *HS*
! 'That Nisham could fly and had a tail.'


niɕɑ̀m tɛ̄ ə̌tsə̀ŋ ə̌ŋzɑ̄ kəì mə̌-ʑɯ̄:ɹ wɑ̀,
(name) *AGT* human food eat *NEG*-allow *HS*
! 'Nisham didn’t allow the people to eat their food,'


ə̌tsə̀ŋ ə̌ŋzɑ̄ kə̄i-kə̄i pəwɑ̄ mə̌nə̄ŋ,
human food eat-*REDUP* just.about.to follow
! 'just as they were about to eat their food,'


ə̌ŋzɑ̄ lɑktɑ̄ ŋɔ̀ lɛ̌ ɕɯ̄ŋzɯ̄ŋ lɛ̌
food pot above *DAT* tree *DAT*
! 'he would take the pot up a tree'


tə̌cɯ̄:ɹ ʑīn kɑ̄:i wɑ̌,
snatch *LNK* eat *HS*
! 'and eat it,'


pə̌mɑ̄ kə̌ɹɑ̄-kə̀ɹɑ̄ də̌gɹɑ̀ŋ ɕɯ̄ŋzi lɛ̌ rɯp ʑīn ɔ̀: (tɕì)wɑ̌.
girl which-*REDUP* beautiful tree *DAT* grab *LNK* do *HS*
! 'and would grab whichever girls were beautiful up to the tree and do (rape) them.'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ nɯ̄, ə̌tsə̄ŋ sə̌-dɯ̀-dɯ̀-ɕɯ̌
that follow *TOP* human *CAUS*-get.together-*REDUP*-*R/M*
! 'Therefore, the people got together'


niɕɑ̀m sət sɑ̄ blū wɑ̀ wɑ̌.
(name) kill *NOM* discuss do/make *HS*
! 'and discussed killing Nisham.'


ə̌jɑ̀ niɕɑ̀m cɯ̀m (lɛ̌) ɕùl-ɕùl,
that (name) house *DAT* invite-*REDUP*
! 'They invited Nisham into the house,'


tɕɑ̌lɯ̄ŋ pɛ̄ ɛ̄-wɑ̄ gɹɯ̄ŋ wɑ̌,
below.the.house *ABL* *DEM*-*ADV* say *HS*
! 'and said from below the house,'


“ə̌-kɯ̀ niɕɑ̀m, nitɕɔɁ pə̌-ɕɑ̀:m ɹət.”
1-uncle (name) tail IMP-hang.down come
! '“Uncle Nisham, please hang your tail down.”'


nitɕɔɁ ɕɑ̀:m pɑ̄ɹ, də̌gɯ̄ ɟɔɁ kɹɑ̄pū tɛ̌ tə̌kɯk-kɯk,
tail hang.down time nine *CL* strong(man) *AGT* pull-*REDUP*
! 'When he hung his tail down, nine strong men pulled on it,'


nəptɕɯ̄ŋkɑ̀n pɛ̄, mə̌gɹɯ̄ŋ tɛ̄ ə̌zɔ̀:ɹ wɑ̌.
doorway *ABL* pike *INST* spear(v.) *HS*
! 'and from the doorway speared him with a pike.'


sət tɔ̄n mə̌nə̄ŋ, niɕɑ̀m ɕì gɯ̄ ŋɑ̄ŋ lɛ̌ tɕɑt wɑ̌.
kill finish follow (name) dead body water *DAT* throw *HS*
! 'After killing him, they threw Nisham’s body into the water,'


cɛ̄ tɕə̄ŋ dū bɛ̄, sɔt təì
one (unit of measure of distance) reach *LNK* the.more big
! 'with each “tɕeŋ” that it moved down the water,'


cɛ̄ tɕə̄ŋ dū bɛ̄ sɔt təì,
one (unit of measure of distance) reach *LNK* the.more big
! 'it got bigger and bigger,'


dɛ̄lɑ̄ ɟɔ̀ ŋɑ̄ŋ tɯ̄m (gɯ̌) mə̌lì,
finally below water without *NOM* place
! 'finally, it got to the place where there was no more water (where the water goes down)'


niɕɑ̀m ɕì gɯ̄ tɛ̌ ŋɑ̄ŋ sɯ̀ tɕìwɑ̌.
(name) dead body *INST* water stop.up *HS*
! 'and the body stopped up the water,'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ ŋɑ̄ŋ təì tɕìwɑ̌,
that follow water big *HS*
! 'therefore the water got bigger.'


ə̌jɑ̀ pɑ̄ɹ, ə̀ŋɲī nə̄m
that time, 3dl brother.and.sister
! 'At that time, a brother and sister'


mə̌ʑɛɁ kɔɁ lɛ̌ ɟì tɕìwɑ̌.
mushroom pick *DAT* go *HS*
! 'went mushroom picking,'


mə̌ʑɛɁ ɛ̄-bɛ̄-nɯ̌,
mushroom *DEM*-*LNK*-*TOP*
! 'as for the mushrooms,'


sɔt ŋɔ̀ lɛ̌ dū bɛ̄, sɔt ə̀l wɑ̌,
the.more above *DAT* reach *LNK* the.more have *HS*
! 'there were more and more the higher they went.'


xɹɑ̄ kə̄ɹwɑ̄ ɕɯ̄ mə̌-də̀m wɑ̌.
basket how also *NEG*-full *HS*
! 'No matter what the basket wouldn’t fill up.'


pə̌tɕhɯɁ kɯɁ “cì-zɯ̀ɹ-ʑɯ̌ɹ cì-ʑɯ̀ɹ-ʑɯ̌ɹ” gɯɁ ʑīn,
bird also water-flood-*REDUP* water-flood-*REDUP* say *LNK*
! 'The birds said “there’s a flood, there’s a flood!”,'


ŋɔ̀ lɛ̄ ŋɔ̀ lɛ̄ zɛ̄ɹ wɑ̌.
above *DAT* above *DAT* fly *HS*
! 'and flew higher and higher.'


dɛ̄lɑ̄, kə̌wɑ̄kə̄ɹpū mə̌lì lɛ̌ ə̌plɑɁ tɕìwɑ̌.
later (place name) place *DAT* arrive *HS*
! 'Finally, the people arrived at “kə̌wɑ karpu”.'


cìzìn ŋɑ̄ŋ tɛ̌ ɕɯ̌ ɛ̄-lɛ̄ dū: wɑ̌.
flood.water water *AGT* also *DEM*-*DAT* reach *HS*
! 'The flood water also reached there.'


ə̀ŋɲī nə̄m lǔŋbuɁ dɔ̌ ɹɔ̀ŋ wɑ̌.
3dl brother.and.sister cliff.side *LOC* sit *HS*
! 'The brother and sister sat at the bottom of a cliff.'


cìzīn ŋɑ̄ŋ tɛ̌ ə̌ŋɲī nə̄m ɹɔ̀ŋ lɛ̌ tsɛ̄nmɑ̀ cɛ̄ təp tɛ̌ tɕɛ̄ mə̌-dū: wɑ̌.
flood.water water *AGT* 3dl brother.and.sister sit *DAT* batten one *CL* *INST* only *NEG*-reach *HS*
! 'The flood water stopped just one batten’s width away from where the brother and sister were sitting.'


ə̌tsə̀ŋ mə̌nə̄ŋ ə̌xɹɑp gɯ̌ bɯ̌ kɯɁ cɛ̄ zɯ̄m ɛ̄ tɕìwɑ̌.
human *COM*(follow) arrive *NOM* snake also one pair be *HS*
! 'There was a pair of snakes that went with the humans.'


ə̌jɑ̀ bɯ̄ ŋɑ̄ŋ lɛ̄ tɕɑt lɛ̄ ɔ̀ bɛ̌,
that snake water *DAT* throw *DAT* do *LNK*
! 'When the people were going to throw the snakes into the river,'


“ə̌jɯ̀ŋ ni-tɕət bɛ̄,
1pl *NF*-throw+1pl *LNK*
! '(The snakes said) “If you throw us into the river,'


nə̌jɯ̀ŋ kɯɁ lɑɁ-mɛ-ə̀l jɯ̌ŋ.” ɛ̄-wɑ̄ gɯɁ tɕìwɑ̌.
2pl also let-*NEG*+*NF*-exist pl *DEM*-*ADV* say *HS*
! 'you won’t live either,” the snakes said.'


bɯ̄ ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ ə̀l gɛ̄ tɕìwɑ̌.
snake that follow exist *NOM*+be *HS*
! 'Therefore snakes still exist.'


ə̌jɑ̀ cìzìn cì də̌gɯ̀ ɲī də̌gɯ̀ ɟɑɁ cɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ bət tɕìwɑ̌.
that flood.water water nine day nine night become follow recede *HS*
! 'The water receded after nine days and nights.'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ, ə̀ŋɲī nə̀m
that follow 3dl brother.and.sister
! 'Then the brother and sister'


ɟɔ̀ kɹɔ̄ŋ lɛ̌ ə̌tsə̀ŋ lɑ̄ lɛ̄ lɔɁ tɕìwɑ̌.
below village *DAT* human look.for *PURP* return(vi) *HS*
! 'returned to the village to look for people.'


kɑ̄-dɔ̄ kɑ̄-dɔ̄ lɔ̄ bɛ̄ ɕɯ̌, ə̌tsə̀ŋ mɑ-də̌gɹɑ̀ tɕìwɑ̌.
*WH*-*LOC* *WH*-*LOC* look.for *LNK* also human *NEG*-have *HS*
! 'Wherever they looked, there were no people.'


tɑ̄lɔ̄ŋ tɑ̄lɔ̄ŋ nɯ̄ lɑ̄ lɛ̌ ɟì bɛ̄ ɕɯ̌m
that.way that.way *TOP* look.for *PURP* go *LNK* also
! 'They each went their own way to look,'


ə̌xrɯī-ə̌xrɯī ɔ̄lɔɁ ə̌dɯ̀-ɲī tə̌xɹɯ̀m mɑɁ wɑ̀.
night-*REDUP* again self-dl get.together *RECIP* *HS*
! 'and then came back together each night.'


tə̌nī ɕɯ̌ mɑ̀l wɑ̄ ɕɑ̄ kəì bɛ̄,
fire also *NEG*+have *ADV* meat eat *LNK*
! 'They had no fire, so when they ate meat,'


pə̌mɑ̄ pə̌mɑ̄ nə̀mgɑ̄ŋ lɛ̌ də̌gɑ̄ŋ ʑīn kəì tɕìwɑ̌,
woman woman sunlight *DAT* roast *LNK* eat *HS*
! 'the woman cooked (her meat) in the sun and ate it,'


lə̄ŋlɑ̀ lə̄ŋlɑ̀ ə̌k-tɯ̄ŋ kəì tɕìwɑ̌.
man man *PREF*-raw eat *HS*
! 'but the man ate it raw (lit: ‘ate raw ones’).'


ə̌xɹī ɟɯp-ɟɯp mə̌nə̄ŋ,
night sleep-*REDUP* follow
! 'Every night, when it was time to sleep,'


(ə̀ŋɲī) ə̌lɑ̀ŋ dɔ̄ dɔ̄ŋ sə̌kə̄m dɔ̌
(3dl) between *LOC* water.carrying.tube lid.of.tube *LOC*
! 'in between them they would put water in a cup (the lid of a carrying tube)'


ŋɑ̄ŋ ɹɑ̄ ʑīn ɟip wɑ̌.
water put *LNK* sleep *HS*
! 'of water and sleep.'


sə̌ɹɑ̄ŋ dū-dū wɑ̄ mə̌nə̄ŋ,
morning reach-*REDUP* *ADV* follow
! 'In the morning,'


ŋɑ̄ŋ sə̌kə̄m mɑ-də̌gūl bɛ̄ ɕɯ̌,
water lid.of.tube *NEG*-move *LNK* still
! 'that cup of water wasn’t moved (no one moved the cup),'


tɑ̄l lɑ̄i ɔ̄ŋ, tɑ̄l lɑ̄i ɔ̄ŋ dɔ̄ lɑ̄ sə̌-ɹɔ̄ŋ-ɕɯ̌ wɑ̌.
back side *LOC* back side *LOC* *LOC* naturally *CAUS*-sit-*R/M* *HS*
! 'but it ended up behind them (moved itself).'


ə̀ŋɲī cɛ̄ kət cɛ̄ kət lɑ̄ ə̌-ɟip-ɕɯ̌ wɑ̌.
3dl one time one time naturally *PREF*-sleep-*R/M* *HS*
! 'The brother and sister ended up sleeping together unintentionally.'


ə̌xrɯī ɟip mə̌tɕɔ̀, ɛ̄-wɑ̄ sə̌mɔt tɕìwɑ̌,
night sleep prepare *DEM*-*ADV* swear(hope) *HS*
! 'At night when they were preparing to sleep,'


“ə̌jɯ̄ŋ ə̌tsə̀ŋ ə̌ŋɟɯ̀ ɹɔ̄ bɛ̄m
1pl human seed put/leave *LNK*
! 'they swore “If we are the seeds of human-kind,'


ŋɑ̄ŋ də̌gɯ̀ wɑ̀ŋ lɑɁ-ə̌ɟɯ̀ ə̀mmɯ̄.”
water nine *CL* let-flow *EMPH*
! 'let nine rivers flow.”'


sə̌ɹɑ̄ŋ dū mə̌nə̄ŋ,
morning reach follow
! 'When the morning came,'


ɟɛ̄sə̄ŋ də̌gɯ̀ wɑ̀ŋ ŋɑ̄ŋ ə̌ɟɯ̀ tɕìwɑ̌.
really nine *CL* water flow *HS*
! 'nine rivers really did flow.'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ nɯ̌ ɛ̄-wɑ̄ gɯɁ wɑ̌,
that follow *TOP* *DEM*-*ADV* say *HS*
! 'Therefore they said,'


“ə̌jɯ̀ŋ lɑ̄ gə̌mɯ̄ nə̀m lɑ̄ tɛ̌ ə̌tsə̀ŋ ə̌ŋɟɯ̀ ɹɔ̄ gɛ̄ mɯ̄.”
1pl god (name) heaven god *AGT* human seeds put/leave *NOM*+be *EMPH*
! '“We are the human seeds left by the god of heaven Gə̌mɯ̄.”'


ɛ̄-wɑ̄ gɯɁ ʑīn mɔ̄wɑɁ wɑ̀ tɕìwɑ̌.
*DEM*-*ADV* say *LNK* husband.and.wife do *HS*
! 'Saying like this they then became husband and wife.'


ə̀ŋɲī mɔ̄wɑɁ wɑ̀ tɯ̄m,
3dl husband.and.wife do after
! 'After the two became husband and wife,'


ə̌ktɕə̀l lə̄ŋlɑ̀ də̌gɯ̀ ɟɔɁ pə̌mɑ̄ děgɯ̀ ɟɔɁ ɔ̀: tɕìwɑ̌.
child boy nine *CL* girl nine *CL* do *HS*
! 'they gave birth to nine boys and girls.'


ə̌jɑ̀ ə̌ktɕə̀l pūŋ ɲī nə̄ŋ,
that children eldest.boy and eldest.girl
! 'Those children (paired off) with the oldest boy marrying the oldest girl,'


cīn ɲī ɲɛ̄n, cɯ̀lcɯ̀l mɔ̄wɑɁ wɑ̀ wɑ̌.
second.eldest.boy and second.eldest.girl one.after.another husband.and.wife do *HS*
! 'the second boy marrying the second girl, etc.'


mə̌lì ə̌-tɔ̀n mɑɁ bɛ̄,
place *PREF*-divide *RECIP* *LNK*
! 'When it was time to divide up (go to) different places,'


pə̌ɕīn ə̌-sə̄i mɑɁ wɑ̌.
heart/liver *PREF*-spicy *RECIP* *HS*
! 'they were jealous of each other.'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ nɯ̄, tə̌lī ɑp də̌də̀m mɑɁ ʑɯ̄:ɹ tɕìwɑ̌.
that follow *TOP* bow hoot compete *RECIP* *CAUS* *HS*
! 'Therefore (the parents) had them compete in shooting the bow.'


tə̌lī ɑp bɛ̄,
bow shoot *LNK*
! 'When they shot the bows,'


pūŋ ɲī nə̄ŋ (tɛ̌) tɕɛ̄ təì ə̌tù tɕìwɑ̌.
eldest.boy and eldest.girl *AGT* only very(big) accurate *HS*
! 'only Pung (eldest boy) and Nang (eldest girl) shot accurately.'


ə̌jɑ̀ mə̌nə̄ŋ, pūŋ ɲī nə̄ŋ
that follow eldest.body and eldest.girl
! 'Therefore the oldest'


ɟɑ̀ mə̌lì wɑ̀:l wɑ̌.
Chinese place allocate/divide *HS*
! 'were given (sent to) the Chinese area.'


cīn ɲī ɲɛ̄n
second.eldest.boy and second.eldest.girl
! 'The second oldest,'


məkpəì mə̌lì (lɛ̄) wɑ̄:l wɑ̌.
Tibetan place *DAT* allocate/divide *HS*
! 'were given (sent to) the Tibetan area.'


tə̌ɹùŋ mə̌lì,
Dulong place
! 'The Dulong area,'


kwɛ̄n ɲī cə̄ŋ ɛ̄ tɕìwɑ̌.
third.eldest.boy and third.eldest.girl be *HS*
! 'was (given to) the third oldest.'


mə̄nʑū ə̌-tɔ̀n mɑɁ bɛ̄,
song *PREF*-divide *RECIP* *LNK*
! 'When they divided up the songs,'


ɟɑ̀ ɲī məkpəì tɛ̌ ɟɯ̄ŋ (tɛ̌) tək tɕìwɑ̌.
Chinese and Tibetan *AGT* bag *INST* collect *HS*
! 'the Chinese and the Tibetans used bags to get their share.'


tə̌ɹùŋ tɛ̌ tə̌ɹɔ̀ŋ (tɛ̌) tək tɕìwɑ̌.
Dulong *AGT* type.of.basket *INST* collect *HS*
! 'The Dulongs used a basket with holes to get the songs (and they came out).'


tə̌ɹùŋ tɛ̀ ə̌jɑ̀ nɯ̄ mə̄nʑū mə̌-sɔ̄: wɑ̌.
Dulong *AGT* that *TOP* song *NEG*-know.how *HS*
! 'So the Dulongs don’t know how to sing (don’t know any songs).'


mə̌gɯ̀ ə̌-tɔ̀n mɑɁ bɛ̄,
horse *PREF*-divide *RECIP* *LNK*
! 'When (they) divided up the horses (among themselves),'


tə̌ɹùŋ tɛ̌ tə̌ŋɔ̄l zū:-zū,
Dulong *AGT* walking.stick make-*REDUP*
! 'the Dulong made a walking stick (and said),'


“ə̌gɔ̀ mə̌gɯ̀ ɟɑ̀ lɑɁ-ɛ̄” (gɯɁ ʑīn) gɹɯ̄:ŋ wɑ̌.
1sg horse this let-be say *LNK* say *HS*
! '“Let this be my horse,” he said.'


tə̌ɹùŋ mə̌lì ə̌jɑ̀ nɯ̌, mə̌gɯ̀ mɑ̀l gɛ̄ tɕìwɑ̌.
Dulong place that *TOP* horse *NEG*+have *NOM*+be *HS*
! 'Therefore the Dulong place is one without horses.'


tə̌ɹùŋ dɔ̄ ɹɔ̀ŋ gɯ̄
Dulong *LOC* exist/sit *NOM*
! 'Since the Dulong place is lived in'


kwɛ̄n ɲī cə̄ŋ ɛ̄ mə̌nə̄ŋ,
third.eldest.boy and third.eldest.girl be follow
! 'by the third oldest,'


“cəkkɹɑì lɔ̄ŋ” lɑ̄:n tɕìwɑ̌.
third.eldest river.valley called *HS*
! 'it is called “cəkkhɹɑi lɔŋ” (“third eldest river valley”).'