Birribengwarreminj mako-ken

That Didjeridu Has Sent them Mad

An article that originally appeared in 2000. I. Chance (Ed.), Kaltja now : Indigenous arts Australia (pp. 12-25). Kent Town (SA): Wakefield Press.

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The Bininj Kunwok Language Project is very excited to announce the appearance of our new book Something About Emus: Bininj Stories From Western Arnhem Land. It's a bilingual Kunwok and Kunbalanda (English) edited volume with lots of stories from dabborrabbolk— the old people, and lots of full colour photos and illustrations. We will be having several launches of the book in the coming weeks: Melbourne (3 May 2017 at Uni. Melbourne) & Jabiru (date TBA). Great curriculum materials for schools, useful for land management programs, tourists, National Park mob etc. Published by Aboriginal Studies Press (AIATSIS).

SAE front cover flyer

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Ngalwakadj Jill Nganjmirra talks in Kunwinjku about the two wet seasons Kudjewk and Bangkerreng and the environmental changes that tell Bininj (Aboriginal people) what foods are available at different times of the year. Key words in Kunwinjku are given as subtitles for the benefit of those learning to read and write in Kunwinjku. The version with English subtitles is below the Kunwinjku screen.

Drawings and voice over by Jill Nganjmirra. Subtitling and video by Andy Peart.

 

And here's the English subtitled version:

Bonj

That is all.

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

Bonj.

That is all.

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.

Bonj

That is all.

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.

 

Bonj

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manberrk

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
bonj
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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
That is all.