Antidesma ghaesembilla 1
Antidesma ghaesembilla 2
Kudjewk wanjh karrimang mandjurlukkumarlba.
'In the wet season we get mandjurlukkumarlba berries.'
 
It's now the season for mandjurlukkumarlba berries (Antidesma ghaesembila). In Kuninjku they are called mandjurlukkurn. In Kundjeyhmi they are called andjurlukkumarlba and in Kune they are djurlukkurn.
Kuninjku people near Mumeka like to get these berries at this time of year at Bilindje on the Mumeka to Maningrida road on the Tomkinson flood plain.
The plant also has a nickname called kunjkurlba which means 'kangaroo blood'. That's because the old people used to use the juice as part of kangaroo sorcery to hunt kangaroos. They sprayed the juice on to kangaroo tracks on the ground and eventually the legs of the kangaroos would become arthritic and lock up, making it easier to spear them.
Learn about your local foods, learn how to say their names, look after them.
photos by Gary Fox
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Pronunciation guides on signage! Here is a typical problem when using some kind of pronunciation guide on signs for Bininj Kunwok words. When there is no equivalent sound or 'phoneme' in English for the Bininj Kunwok sound, how do you represent it in the pronunciation guide? The 'nj' in Bininj Kunwok sounds like 'ny' in canyon or the 'ni' in onion but it can appear at the start, middle or end of syllables e.g. manj 'not yet' or njale 'what' or nga-kinje 'I'm cooking it'. And what is it about a double 'l' that is better than a single 'l' (bull vs bul)? And in the confusing English spelling system 'u' can have various sounds such as in 'up' or 'put'. In Bininj Kunwok it's always ONLY the u sound in English 'put'.
 
Then there is the issue of different dialects of English spoken by the visitors who look at the signage. Australian English doesn't pronounce 'r' in many words whilst American English does. So if you use an 'r' in the pronunciation guide, it will mean different sounds to different people. The "Nar-" in 'Nar-bull-win-bull-win' is thus confusing. American English speakers will think it rhymes with American English "car" but that is misleading because there is no 'r' sound in the Bininj Kunwok prefix Na- in Na-bulwinjbulwinj.
 
And then there are the visitors for whom English is not their first language. Only the rainbow serpent knows how they would pronounce words in pronunciation guides! In this day and age, best to direct visitors to an audio file online where you can hear a native speaker pronounce words.
Bonj
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Kamalay Kamak = 'Good Morning'. Ngaye Bulanj Linton. Ngarrurrkmirri Manawukan School kunwok Kuninjku. Nganedjarrkdurrkmirri Bangardi Nadukurrdji dja Kamarrang Naborn.
Translation:

Good morning. I am Bulanj Linton (left). I work at Maningrida School teaching Kuninjku language . I work with Bangardi (from Dukurrdji clan, centre) and Kamarrang (from Born clan, right).

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The online Kunwinjku course is going well. There are some great discussions and questions in the forums. Here is an answer to an interesting question:

QUESTION FROM A STUDENT about ngahborlbme 'I am learning':

"I was wondering about the word for learning too as I hadn’t come across that exact phrase. Is there a suffix like -ing? or would you always add in the -h- if currently in the process of doing something?

I am just curious as when I learnt Portuguese there is a suffix -ndo that is the equivalent of our -ing, for example the verb to learn = aprender and if you were to say I learn (as in right now) it would be ‘Eu aprendo’, but you can also say ‘Eu estou aprendendo’ = I am learning.

I am greatly enjoying the experience so far and I find the videos very useful to hear how different speakers say the same words."

ANSWER
For the question about if there is a participle for verbs in BK like 'learning' the answer is no. BK verbs are very different to verbs of European languages and don't have an auxiliary verb 'to be' that precedes a participle (e.g. I am X...ing). That kind of phrase is achieved with one word in BK. BK verbs are organised into themes determined by the final formative suffix (-me, -ke, -men, -kan, -di, -dong, -dung, -re, etc). They must also have a prefix that indicates who is doing the action (the subject) and if they are transitive verbs, also who is the object. So if you want to use the verb 'to learn' you must say who is doing the learning. You can't just say 'learning'. The stem of the verb to learn is -borlbme. It is in the class of verbs that end in -me. So you could say nga-borlbme 'I learn' or ngah-borlbme 'I am learning [now]' or ngarrih-borlbme 'we [exclusive, not you] are learning or karrih-borlbme 'we all are learning'. These examples are all in the non-past tense (that means present and future are the same form). The glottal stop sound -h- has been added to show that the action is happening currently (as opposed to an unspecified present time or in the future).

Bonj

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Don't forget to follow all the posts, language lessons, photos, videos, community news and announcements on our Facebook page:

Bininj Kunwok Language Project

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The Research Unit for Indigenous Languages at the University of Melbourne recently tweeted a nice graphic with various names for the moon in a number of Australian Indigenous languages. Here is their same graphic background reworked with names for phases of the moon in Bininj Kunwok:

phases of moon BK

In Bininj Kunwok dialects ome people call the moon dird and some say karrakbarl. There is an important story about the moon involving two characters, the moon and the quoll. In their human forms in the creation period or 'the dreaming' as some English speakers call it, they both fought over the fate of humanity. The quoll said that when people die, they should die forever and not return to earth but the moon disagreed. As they could not resolve their differences, the moon said he would leave the earth and live in the sky where he could live through a monthly cycle, die, and then return again for another cycle. The quoll stayed on earth and introduced death and so now all humans die but the moon is reborn each month. This is why a waning moon is said to be 'dying' or dird karrowen  [moon it-dies] in Bininj Kunwok. In sign language, the hand sign for the quoll is the same as that used for wayarra 'spirit of a dead person' or 'death'. A beautiful and famous image of the moon spirit with his long arms and long penis is depicted at Ngalurdbirrhmi. The picture below depicts this image with Obed Wurrkkidj standing in front.

moon+Obed

Obed Wurrkkidj at Ngalurdbirrhmi. © Bininj Kunwok Language Project

The most noticeable difference between English and Bininj Kunwok terms for phases concerns the new moon. A new moon in English is announced before any crescent is visible, i.e. on the night when the whole moon in dark. In Bininj Kunwok the very first thin crescent is called lirrk and when that first thin crescent does appear it is said that 'it [the moon] has put lirrk [the first crescent]'. The opposite term, when the last waning crescent is visible, the term is:

kalirrkdangen karrowen 'the crescent stands and is dying'

ka-lirrk-dangen ka-rrowe-n

it-crescent-stands it-die-non-past

The full moon is called either bukkulurl or dird nayuyhmi.

The word for moon is also the word for month, these two concepts being closely related or the same word in many languages of the world.

You can hear the pronunciation of the word dird by clicking here.

 

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Here's a video about women weavers from Injalak and Njanjma Rangers teaching tourists how to do fibrecraft, at Border Store in Kakadu National Park.

Daluhdaluk nawu Injalak beh dja mak nawu Njanjma Ranger kabirridurrkmirri, wanjh kabirrire kore Border Store kore Kakadu, bu kabindibukkan nawu birrikukbele tourist, bu kabirringobarnmang kunngobarn dja mak kabirrimarnbun kunmadj.

Video by Andy Peart. Transcription and translation by Jill Nganjmirra, Andy Peart and Murray Garde, Bininj Kunwok Language Project.

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We are happy to launch new literacy resources. The first is our alphabet chart and phonics books. These feature illustrations by 15 year old Corben Nabanardi from Jabiru.

alphabet long poster

Or if you prefer it in compact layout:

alphabet chart square

The alphabet strip is available for classrooms and community language teaching groups in the Kakadu and Western Arnhem Land region. Each letter of the Bininj Kunwok alphabet is used in a word. Here's the alphabet:

a b d dj rd e h i k l rl m n ng nj rn o r rr u w y

DOB_8863 alphabet chart

Bininj Kunwok alphabet chart. (L > R) Julie Beer, Martina Balmana, Kaylene Djandjomerr, Shannon McLeod, Kestianna Djandjomerr, Christianna Djandjomerr, Marcus Dempsey, Annie Cameron, Murray Garde, Sonya Nango and Dion Hietmann kabirri-karrme Bininj Kunwok alphabet chart. (bim: Dominic O'Brien)

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Nawakadj Don Namunjdja kayolyolme bim nuye.

This video features "same language subtitling" so you can see what the words look like when written. Recording, transcription and subtitles by Andy Peart. English subtitles are in the second screen below.

Now for the English subtitles:

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Balang Djimarr Kebbarurrinj

In this post we will learn the verb -barung 'to cover in paint or ochre, to smear'.

Djimarr.face

In this picture Balang Djimarr (a speaker of Kuninjku) has painted his body and face. His body has a plant design painted in black ochre. This plant is called wurrurrumi in Kuninjku which is a vine that botanists call Tinospora smilacina. This is also the name of a song series that Djimarr sings. That's why he has that design painted on his body. On his face he has white ochre or delek splattered in a design known as bedjek-bedjek.

The verb -barung means to cover with paint or ochre or to smear a surface with some liquid or viscous substance (like paint, glue, oil etc). There is another verb -bimbun which means to draw, write or paint an image. This has a different meaning to -barung which means to smear, cover a surface with paint, ochre or some other similar substance.

Here are some examples of the verb with a few different pronoun prefixes:

nga-barung 'I smear it'

yi-barung 'you smear it'

karri-barung 'we are (all) smearing it'

kabirri-barung 'they are smearing it'

You can incorporate a noun into the verb, between the pronoun prefix and the verb. The word kun-keb means 'nose/face' but when it gets incorporated into the verb you drop off the noun class prefix kun- like this:

kabi-kebbarung 'he is painting/smearing his (another person's) face'. In this example, the prefix kabi-means 'he/she acting on another single person' (third person singular subject acting on a third person singular object). If you wanted to say he/she is painting their faces you would use:

kaben-kebbarung

The prefix kaben- means that a single person is acting on a plural (three or more) object i.e. 'he/she acting on them'.

If you are painting your own face, then you need to use the reflexive form of the verb which is -barurren [baru-rr-en]. This is the present or future tense form. In the past tense the reflexive is -barurrinj. 

If I want to say 'he painted his face' then in the third person singular past tense, there is no prefix on the verb. It is what linguists call a zero prefix. We need to keep the noun 'face' incorporated however so we end up with this:

kebbarurrinj

ø-             keb- baru-  rr-             inj

3sg.past-face-smear-reflexive-past

Then we can change the "mood" to an event that is not real, i.e. something that didn't happen, or what is known as "irrealis mood". This form of the verb occurs with the negative marker minj 'not'. If you wanted to say 'she didn't smear/cover it with paint' you would say:

minj baruyi

But if Balang didn't paint his face with the ochre in the above picture, you would say this:

Balang minj kebbarurremeninj.

Balang did not paint/smear his/her (own) face.

Bonj

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