Here is the children's literacy video about magpie goose eggs by Jill Nganjmirra, Seraine Namundja and Andy Peart. This version has English subtitles.


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Here is an old Kunwinjku children's reader from 1973 by Hannah Mangiru, Rachel Maralngurra and Meryl Rowe. Drawings by the brilliant artist Namerredje Guymala.


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Ngalwakadj Jill Nganjmirra and Ngalkangila Seraine Namundja made a video about magpie geese eggs and the season with which they are associated (artwork by Jill Nganjmirra, subtitling by Andy Peart). Key terms from the voice-over appear in the subtitles and are provided for children learning to read and write in Kunwinjku.



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Mahni manberrk.

This is savanna woodland.

Kamarrang Nabarabba kaburdebme kunak kamarnbun.

Kamarrang Birdibob is twirling a fire stick to make fire.


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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.
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Kamalay Kamak = 'Good Morning'. Ngaye Bulanj Linton. Ngarrurrkmirri Manawukan School kunwok Kuninjku. Nganedjarrkdurrkmirri Bangardi Nadukurrdji dja Kamarrang Naborn.

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."

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 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).


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