A discourse marker to show that the speaker believes something is imaginary, illusory, or hard to believe.
Kriol – 30,00 speakers – Central Northern Australia (Barunga region)
Example of use for (1) an imaginary scenario and (2) an illusionary belief:
(1) Im, gemen mardi reken lil beibi darran dei
Trans.: “[About someone treating a teddy bear as if it was a real baby.]
She is like, pretending to think that this is a little baby.”
(2) imin jis hapi ba luk im mami gemin bat najing
Trans.: “[About a little girl who believes (wrongly) that she is going to find her mother.]
She was so happy to see her mum she thought, but it didn’t happen.”
Gemen is a discourse particle, and as such it is invariable. It is relatively flexible as to where it can be placed in the sentence.
Source: Data from speakers in Beswick, Barunga, Weemol. See also Schultze-Berndt, Eva, Maïa Ponsonnet and Denise Angelo. In prep. The semantics of modal markers in Northern Australian Kriol.
Credit: Maïa Ponsonnet and Denise Angelo