Learning the Diyari language – Songs

The Diyari Language Blog is not a series of language lessons, and is not meant by itself to teach you how to speak or learn Diyari. The best way to do that is to work together with a member of the Dieri community and follow their pronunciation and expression as a model. Audio recordings can also be a useful help. However, with a bit of effort you can learn about the vocabulary and structure of Diyari, and how the language is used by working your way through the various blog posts on topics you might be interested in (see the list of Categories on the bottom left of this page).

Today, we present a listing of posts about songs, arranged according to their context and their level of difficulty – we suggest you work through them in the order of this listing. If you click on the links you will find sound recordings for most of them that you can listen to and/or download for yourself.

Let us know in the comments below if you enjoyed the songs or if you have any questions about them, or anything to do with the Diyari language.

Children’s songs

  1. Naidoc 2017: kupaya wima – “Children’s song” link
  2. Mangathandra, pilpiri, pantya, thidna – “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” link
  3. Diyari wima – “Diyari songs” translation of “Old MacDonald had a farm” link
  4. Ngayani Australiamara – “We are Australian” link

Adult’s songs

  1. Ngayani yathayatharna warrayi – “We talked to each other” includes the Diyari translation of the chorus for the song “The Cooper’s coming down” by Chris Dodd link
  2. Folsom Prisonanhi – translation of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash link
  3. Folsom Prisonanhi mandru – second part of translation of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash link
  4. Folsom Prisonanhi parkulu – third part of translation of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash link
  5. Folsom Prisonanhi mandru-mandru – fourth part of translation of “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash link

A traditional song

  • Kudnarri wima – “Curlew song” link

Ngatyani yawarra The Lord’s Prayer

The Diyari translation by Reuther and Strehlow in 1897 of the New Testament of the Christian Bible contains the verses known as The Lord’s Prayer. They appear in Matthew Chapter 6 verses 9 to 13, as follows, written in the missionary spelling:

9. Jeruja ngatjianau: “Ngaperi ngaianini, jidni pariwilpani ngamala wapaia; Tala jinkani kulikiri pantjiatimai;

10. Milila jinkani wokaraiatimai; Jertapaterina jinkani pantjiatimai, worderu pariwilpani jeruja bakana mitani;

11. Buka ngaianini ngaianingu karari jinkiamai;

12. Madlentji ngaianini woramai, worderu bakana ngaiani kana nguruja madlentji worala wapaia;.

13. Ja wata ngaianina wontjanilani wirilkamai, a-ai, ngaianina madlentjani kulkamai; Ngangau jinkangu milila nganai ja ngurula ja pirnala ngurali. Amen.”

We can rewrite this in the modern spelling as follows:

  1. Yaruya ngatyiyanawu:
  2. Ngapiri ngayanirni, yini pariwilpanhi ngamalha wapaya”
  3. Tharla yingkarni kurlikirri pantyiyathimayi.
  4. Mirlilha yingkarni wakarayathimayi.
  5. Yathapatharrirna yingkarni pantyiyathimayi.
  6. Wardaru pariwilpanhi yaruya pakarna mithanhi.
  7. Puka ngayanirni ngayaningu karari yingkiyamayi.
  8. Madlhantyi ngayanirni waramayi.
  9. Wardaru pakarna ngayani karna nguruya madlhantyi waralha wapaya.
  10. Ya wata ngayaninha wantyanilhanhi wirrilkamayi.
  11. A’ayi ngayaninha madlhantyanhi kurlkamayi.
  12. Ngangawu yingkangu mirlilha nganayi.
  13. Ya ngurrulha ya pirnalha ngurrali.
  14. Amen.

We can also assign meanings to each of the words in the prayer, and give the lines a literal translation:

like thatyou all pray
‘You all pray like this!’
fatherouryouin the skylivedo
‘Our father, you live in the sky’
nameyourcleanmay become
‘May your name become clean’
place of followersyourmay come
‘May your place of followers come’
supportingyoumay become
‘May it become that (people) support you’
howin the skylike thatalsoon the ground
‘Just like in the sky also like that on the ground’
vegetable.foodourto ustodaygive
‘Give our vegetable food to us today!’
badourthrow away
‘Throw away our badness!’
howalsowepersonto otherbad
‘Just like we also habitually  throw away the badness of other people.’
andnotusinto the place of tryinggo in with
‘And do not take us into places of trying!’
nousfrom badsave
‘No, save us from badness!’
?? becauseto youplace of followersis
‘Because(?) your place of followers exists.
‘And strength and greatness for ever.’


  1. thanks to Fritz Schweiger for prompting me to present this material for people interested in the Lord’s Prayer, and for picking up errors in the first draft.
  2. the title of today’s post is “Prayer Words” made up of ngatyi- ‘to pray’ plus the ending -ni which creates a noun ‘prayer’. The word yawarra means ‘word, language, speech’.
  3. line 1 – the verb ngatyiyanawu is in the order (imperative) form containing the ending -ya-, with the ending –ni– that indicates speaking to many people, plus the -wu ending that is usually occurs in shouted speech
  4. line 2 – the Diyari form for ‘our father’ uses the ngayani which is the exclusive second person pronoun, ‘we all excluding you’, presumably because the prayer is addressed to God
  5. line 3 – the missionaries extended the term kurlikirri ‘clean’ to mean ‘holy’. They also used the ending -yathimayi to express a wish, but it never occurs in the spoken language
  6. line 5 – the verb yatha- means ‘to scold, dress someone down’, while -pa- is the altruistic ending meaning ‘do something for the benefit of someone other than the subject’, here indicated as yingkarni ‘for you’, so literally the verb plus pronoun means ‘continuously scold someone for the benefit of you’
  7. line 7 – the noun puka means ‘vegetable food’ (bread, seeds, greens) in contrast to nganthi ‘meat food’
  8. line 8 – this seems to be a literal translation of ‘take away evil’.
  9. line 9 – the verb waralha wapaya is the habitual form of ‘throw’, that is ‘throw all the time, every day’
  10. line 10 – the verb wirrilka ‘go with’ implies that the subject (God) enters somewhere with the object ‘us’ (which is not controlling the motion)
  11. line 12 – a form like ngangawu which is used by the missionaries for ‘because, rather’ does not occur in my Diyari recordings. It occurs 30 times in example sentences in Reuther’s dictionary of Diyari, always in the second sentence in a sequence. He did not include a headword entry for this word, which is strange given that he has entries for all other words in the dictionary examples.
  12. line s 12-13 – this is the doxology, which appears in English as ‘For thine is kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever and ever’.

Reuther. J. G. & Carl Strehlow. 1897. Testamenta marra. Jesuni Christuni ngantjani jaura ninaia karitjimalkana wonti Dieri jaurani. Adelaide: G. Auricht.

Wata nhawu puka padni

In today’s post we learn how to say “no” in Diyari.

The English word “no” corresponds to a number of different expressions in Diyari and it is important to learn how to use them. In answer to a question or a demand we can use the word wata for ‘no’, as in:

Yini wapayi karari? Are you going now?

Wata. No.

Yundru nganthi thayirna warayi? Did you eat the meat?

Wata. No.

Nganha yingkiyamayi! Give it to me!

Wata. No.

We also use wata at the beginning of sentence to negate it, that is, to say ‘do not …’ or ‘did not …’, as in:

Wata nganhi wapayi. I’m not going.

Wata yundru nganthi thayirna warayi. You didn’t eat the meat.

Wata nganha yingkiyamayi! Don’t give it to me!

We also use this to express ‘no-one, nobody’ or ‘nothing’, like the following examples:

Wata karna wakararna warayi. No-one came. (literally, ‘not person came’)

Wata ngathu thayirna minha kurnu. I ate nothing. (literally, ‘not I eat something one’)

When talking about not having something, or lacking something (without X, or X-less), then we use padni after the thing we don’t have rather than wata at the beginning, as in:

Nganhi marda padni. I have no money.

Nhawu puka padni. He has no food.

Nhani mankarra nhintha padni. That girl is shameless (OR That girl has no shame).

Karna thidna padniyali nganha nandrarna warayi. The man with no shoes hit me (OR The man without shoes hit me) .

Kupanhi nhani yatharna warayi kathi padninhi. She spoke to the child with no clothes on (OR I spoke to the child without clothes).

If someone asks if you have something and you don’t have it, then you can simply answer padni, as in:

Yidni mardanthu? Do you have any money?

Padni. ‘None’

Diyari people, like many other Aboriginal groups, can use a hand gesture together with or instead of padni to indicate they have nothing — place one spread hand in front of the body at a 45 degree angle with palm facing away and then rotate it away from the body. (There is a video of a Wangkatjungka man demonstrating this hand sign here — it’s the second one he shows.)

Notice that we can use both expressions in the same sentence, so the title of today’s blog post can be translated as ‘No, he doesn’t have any food’.

Kararaya yawarra — word of the week: mudlha

Today we look at the Diyari word mudlha (also pronounced mulha) which can be translated into English as ‘face’ and ‘nose’, but also has a wider range of other uses. It is also found in a lot of idioms — ways of speaking where the parts do not necessarily add up to the meaning of the whole (like English ‘kick the bucket’ to mean ‘to die’).

Here are some examples showing the different uses:

  1. ‘nose’
    • thanali muku kurrarna wanthiyi mudlhanhi ‘They used to put a bone in their noses long ago’
    • mudlha kilthi ‘snot, nasal mucus’
    • mudlha murru ‘dried crust of snot under the nose’
    • mudlha kumarri ‘nosebleed’
    • mudla wirlpa ‘nostril, hole in nose’
    • mudla durru ‘hook of the nose’
    • mudlha ngankarna ‘to rub the nose’ (ngankarna generally means ‘to do, make’)
    • nganhi mudlha pununu parrayi ‘my nose is itching’. People believe that when your nose itches then someone must be talking about you behind your back.
  2. ‘tip of a body part’
    • mara mudlha ‘tip of the finger’ (mara means ‘hand, finger’)
    • thidna mudla ‘tiptoe’ (thidna means ‘foot, toe’)
  3. ‘tip or edge of something in nature’
    • ngarrimatha mudlha ‘the edge of rising flood waters’
    • wathara mudlha ‘the edge of an approaching windstorm’
    • daku mudlha ‘the point of a sandhill’
    • karirri mudlha ‘the line of trees marking the edge of watercourse or creek’
    • pirta mulha ‘the thick end of a fallen tree’
    • kalku mudlha ‘the bottom end of a reed where is is broken off the root or stalk’
  4. ‘tip or end of something that people make’
    • katu mudlha ‘the end of a windbreak’
    • palthu mudlha ‘the end of a road or path’
    • marda mudlha ‘the pointed end of a grinding stone’
  5. ‘face’
    • mudlha ngumu ‘beautiful, attractive face’
    • mudlha manyu ‘friendly face’
    • mudlha kurlikirri ‘clean washed face’
    • mudlha dulyardulya ‘dirty face’
    • mudlha malka ‘stripes painted on the face’. Traditionally, when someone died the women would paint their faces with black and white stripes using charcoal and gypsum

Here are some idioms that use mudlha where the overall meaning is not predictable from the other words in the expression:

  • mudlha putyu (literally ‘face blind’) ‘not paying attention when something bad could be predicted to happen’, for example, minhandru yundru kupa yinparna warayi ngapa padninhi? Yidni mudlha putyu?. ‘Why did you send the children out without any water? Couldn’t you see (they would nearly die of thirst)?
  • mudlha yarkirna (literally ‘face burn’) ‘to look angry’
  • mudlha pirtarirna (literally ‘face become wood’) ‘to become sullen, surly, glum’
  • mudlha wararna (literally ‘face throw’) ‘to pull a long face, to look sad or disapproving’
  • mudlha thiri pardakarna (literally ‘face angry take’) ‘to make up, become reconciled with someone’. When two people are upset with each other meet and make up then they take the angry faces away.
  • mudlha wathirna (literally ‘face search’) ‘to look for someone among a group of people’
  • mudlha punthiparna (literally ‘face separate’) ‘to separate people into two groups and send them on their way’
  • mudlha matharna (literally ‘nose bite’) ‘to give someone the cold shoulder, for a woman to turn down an offer of marriage’
  • mudlha murruwarna (literally ‘nose scratch’) ‘to beat around the bush, to ask for something indirectly’
  • mudlha ngurdarna (literally ‘face stretch’) ‘to hurry ahead of someone’
  • mudlha kutya (literally ‘face feather’) ‘leader of a revenge expedition’. Traditionally, when someone died a group of men called a pinya would be sent out to avenge the death by killing someone from another group. The leader of the pinya is called mudlha kutya because they have feathers stuck on their face with blood.

Words in the examples :

durrubent over
karirricreek, watercourse
kilthijuice, liquid
kupachild, children
kurrarnato put
kutyafeather of a bird (not emu)
malkamark, line, stripe
manyugood, sweet
marahand, finger
mardastone, rock, money
matharnato bite
murruwarnato scratch
ngankarnato make, to do
ngurdarnato stretch
padninone, nothing
palthuroad, path
parrayiis lying down (of inanimate objects)
pinyarevenger expedition
pirtatree, wood
pirtarirnato be come wood
punthiparnato separate, divide in two
thidnafoot, toe
wararnato throw
wirlpahole in solid object
yarkirnato burn
yinparnato send

Kararaya yawarra — word of the week: thaparna

This is the first of a series of posts discussing Diyari words, roughly one each week.

Diyari has two important words: thayirna, which generally translates as ‘to eat’ and thaparna, which we are going to look at today.

The Diyari word thaparna is generally used when we would say ‘drink’ in English, for example:

  • Ngathu ngapa thapayi ‘I am drinking water’
  • Yundru kupula thaparna warayi ‘You drank beer’
  • Nhulu thirti thapalha nganayi ‘He will drink tea’

However, it is used more widely in Diyari in situations where English might use ‘eat’, ‘suck’ or some other word. Here are some examples showing its wider use:

  • to suck liquid or soft matter out of a container, as in:
    • Kupali ngama thapayi ‘The child is sucking the breast’
    • Thanali paya kapi thapayi ‘They are sucking (the contents out of) the (raw) bird’s eggs’
    • Kankuyali thurintyi thapayi mukundru ‘The boy is sucking marrow out of the bone’
  • to eat, slurp up, or chew on soft or semi-liquid food or fruit [for hard food we use thayirna ‘to eat’], as in:
    • Ngathu ngantyayi kilthi thapalha ‘I like to eat stew’
    • Thanali pawa thapayi ‘They are slurping up ground seed (mixed with water)’
    • Nhandru danyu thapayi ‘She is eating danyu fruit’ [for all soft fruits like grapes or ripe peaches we would say thaparna but for hard fruits like apple then we use thayirna]
  • to kiss, as in [notice the word marna for ‘mouth’]:
    • Ngandriyali kupa marna thapayi ‘The mother is kissing the child’
    • Ngathu yinha marna thapalha nganayi ‘I will kiss you’
    • Karnali parru thapayi ‘The man is kissing a fish’. The missionary Reverend Reuther reports that in the old days when men when fishing with yama ‘nets’ if no fish are caught in the net, one man would go down into the water, whistle into a hollow bone, and sing his mura ancestral song. After this, the first fish to be caught is kissed while the man has bread in his mouth, and then released to swim again, in order to entice other fish into the net.

So remember, thayirna is used for eating hard foods like meat, bread or hard fruit and vegetables, while thaparna is used for eating soft or semi-liquid food and fruit, for kissing, and for drinking liquids.

Words in the examples

danyutype of fruit
kankuyaliboy (active subject form)
kilthijuice, stew
kupalichild (active subject form)
kupulabeer, alcohol, grog
ngamamilk, breast
nganayi‘to be’, also used to indicate future ‘will do’
ngandriyalimother (active subject form)
ngantyarnato like, want’
ngathuI (active subject form)
pawaground seed, flour
thaparnato drink, suck, slurp, kiss
thayirnato eat
thurintyisinew, marrow
yinhayou (one person), object form
yundruyou (one person), active subject form

Saying hello in Diyari

In many languages in the world there are special expressions called “greetings” that are used when we meet someone. For example, English has “hello” or “hi” or “good day”, or we can use expressions that relate to the time of day, like “good morning”, “good afternoon” or “good evening”.

In Diyari, there is nothing equivalent to this, and if you meet someone you don’t know then you would begin the conversation with:

Waranha yini

This means ‘who are you?’ and is made up of:

waranha which means ‘who’

yini which means ‘you’

In the Diyari language there are three ways of saying ‘you’: yini (which can also be pronounced yidni) means ‘you’ when talking to one person, yula (or yudla) means ‘you’ when talking to two people, and yura means ‘you’ when talking to three or more people. So we have:

  • Waranha yini? means ‘Who are you?’ (to one person)
  • Waranha yula? means ‘Who are you?’ (to two people)
  • Waranha yura? means ‘Who are you?’ (to more than two people)

To answer, you simply say nganhi, which means ‘I’ plus your name. In English we have to link these with the word ‘am’ but in Diyari we do not — just place the two words side by side:

Nganhi Peter ‘I am Peter’
Nganhi Mary ‘I am Mary’

The same structure can be used to express ‘you are …’, as in:

Yini Peter ‘You are Peter’
Yini Mary ‘You are Mary’

If you raise the tone of your voice at the end, then this becomes a question:

Yini Peter? ‘Are you Peter?’
Yini Mary? ‘Are you Mary?’

Notice that English requires the order of words to be switched around and ‘are’ to be placed first. In Diyari the question is indicated by a rising tone at the end only.

As an alternative to Waranha yini? we can also say the following:

Waranha yingkarni tharla ‘What is your name?’ (literally ‘Who your name?’)

Notice the new words: yingkarni ‘your’ (speaking to one person) and tharla ‘name’.

As you might have guessed, when speaking to more than one person we use different words:

  • Waranha yingkarni tharla? means ‘What is your name?’ (to one person)
  • Waranha yularni tharla? means ‘What are your names?’ (to two people)
  • Waranha yurarni tharla? means ‘What are your names?’ (to more than two people)

Notice that tharla translates as ‘name’ or ‘names’ — in Diyari words for things that are not alive do not change for singular or plural.

To answer this question you simply say ngakarni tharla, which means ‘my name’ plus your name. Like we saw above, in English we have to use a linking word (this time it’s ‘is’) but in Diyari we do not — just place them side by side:

Ngakarni tharla Peter ‘My name is Peter’
Ngakarni tharla Mary ‘My name is Mary’

The same structure can be used to express ‘your name is …’, as in:

Yingkarni tharla Peter ‘Your name is Peter’
Yingkarni tharla Mary ‘Your name is Mary’

If you raise the tone of your voice at the end, then this becomes a question:

Yingkarni tharla Peter? ‘Is your name Peter?’
Yingkarni tharla Mary? ‘Is your name Mary?’

In the next blog post we will learn how to say hello to someone that you already know.

New words

nganhi ‘I’
ngakarni ‘my’

yini ‘you’ (to one person)
yingkarni ‘your’ (to one person)

yula ‘you’ (to two people)
yularni ‘your’ (to two people)

yura ‘you’ (to more than two people)
yurarni ‘your’ (to more than two people)

waranha ‘who’
tharla ‘name(s)’

Ngayani Australiamara

In 1987 Bruce Woodley, who had been a member of the famous The Seekers singing group, together with Dobe Newton, lead singer of The Bushwackers band, wrote a song (with music by Bruce Woodley) to celebrate the history and diversity of Australia called “I am Australian” (for the lyrics and other details see here).

The chorus of this song has now been translated into a number of languages, including Yawuru from the Kimberley region of Australia — there is an enthusiastic rendition by Broome Primary School students available on the ABC Kimberley Facebook page (click the picture to watch the video).

Here is a translation of the chorus of the song into Diyari, together with the original English words:

ngayani kurnu, ngarla ngayani marpu
ya mitha partyarnandru ngayani nganayi
ngayani ngapitya pardayi ya wima wangkayi yarla
nganhi, yura, ngayani Australiamara

We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian

Here is what each word means in the Diyari version:

ngayani we all (including you)
kurnu one
ngarla but
ngayani we all (including you)
marpu many
ya and
mitha country, land
partyarnandru from all (made of partyarna ‘all’ and the ending -ndru ‘from’)
ngayani we all (including you)
nganayi are (made of ngana ‘to be’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
ngayani we all (including you)
ngapitya dream
pardayi hold (made of parda ‘to hold’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
ya and
wima song
wangkayi sing (made of wangka ‘to sing’ and the ending -yi ‘present tense’)
yarla together
nganhi I
yura you all
ngayani we all (including you)
Australiamara Australian (made of Australia and the ending mara ‘group of people who are related to one another’)

I hope readers like this Diyari version of the song.

Diyari yawarra tharla: Maranguka

Colleague, and previous contributor to the Dieri language blog, David Nash, has pointed out that there is a social action proposal developed in Bourke, western New South Wales, that has a name that comes from the Dieri language, namely “Maranguka”. The project website says:

“Maranguka was the birth child of the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party, a grassroots coalition of concerned local Aboriginal residents who wanted to see positive change in their community.

Translated as ‘caring for others’, the Maranguka proposal they developed is a grassroots vision for improving outcomes and creating better coordinated support for vulnerable families and children through the true empowerment of the local Aboriginal community.

The Maranguka Proposal was endorsed in principle by the Bourke Aboriginal Community Working Party in August 2013. It involves establishing community-led, multi-disciplinary teams working in partnership with relevant government and non-government agencies and organisations”

According to the preliminary assessment report “Unlocking the Future: Maranguka Justice Reinvestment Project in Bourke” written by KPMG, the name comes from the “local Ngemba Aboriginal language” (the Ngiyampaa language belongs to central New South Wales, some distance to the east of Bourke –see the map here). As David Nash notes, this is wrong and in fact the name comes from the Dieri word maranguka ‘to help, to offer assistance’. This is a transitive verb in Dieri and takes a subject (usually in the ergative case) and an object (in the accusative or absolutive case), as in the examples: ngathu yinha marangukalha nganayi ‘I will help you’ and nganha marangukanimayi! ‘(You all) help me!’.

Quite a number of Dieri people live in Bourke so it is not surprising that a name (tharla) in the Dieri language would be used for this development — it’s a pity that the KPMG report identified the source incorrectly.

NAIDOC 2017 — Diyari yawarra mara warra

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Five and the end of the story (click to see Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Five

Mayi, yini matyamatha yini?
Kawu, matya nganhi.
Wardayari yundru nhayirna warayi?
Nhungkanguwa ngathu nhayinhayiyi, thurru yarkiyarkitharrirnanhi.
Ngayana wapayi nhungkangu.
Warrangantyunhi ngathu nhaka nhinha nhayinhayiyi, thurrutha yarkirnanhi.
Ngardanhi thana wapayi, dityi parlpa thuraralha.
Nhingkiyamatha ngathu nhayiyatha.
Pani nhawuya.
Pakurnatha nhinha mitha.
Warulha nhawuya.
Thurararna, yirtyilha.
Ngardanhi, mitha thurruthurruku nhawuya.
Dityi kurnulha nhawuya kanya thurruthurru.
Waparna again, thurararna parlkarna.
Matyaku nhawuya.
Thurruthurru ngalyi kanya thurruthurru.
Thinali waparna again.
Matyaku nhawuya.
Thurruthurru marla.
Pirla nhawuya matya marramarratharriyilhaku.
Matyatha yarkiyilhaku nhawu thurru.
Matya thana waparna.
Nhawuyaku nguratha.
Nhawuyaku nguratha warrithandru nhayingarna.
Waparnarlu, nguraya waparnarlu, thurru manirnanhi kakuyali kardiyali, ngura kurralha, thuraralha.
Matya thana wakararna parlkayi nguranhi, kardiyalitha thurrutha ngankarnanhi, katulha ngankarnanhi.
Mayi, minhanhi wakarayi.
Warararnakuyi yula nhinhaya kanku, marlarlu yula pardakarna nhinha, yula warararna.
Nhaka pulanha nandrayi then, nhiyi mandruyali kakutha ngathatatha nandrarna nhaka ngathatatha karditha.
Nharingankarna kurrayi.
Matya murdayi.

English Translation

“Well, are you alright?” (the older brothers asked the younger brother)
“Yes, I am alright.” (the younger brother replied)
“(I’m) strong now.”
“Where did you see (them)?” (they asked him)
“Over that way I saw the fire burning.”
“Let’s go over there.”
“On the left there I saw the fire burning.” (said the younger brother)
Then they went (along) and slept for some days.
“It’s here that I saw them.” (said the younger brother)
“There is nothing here.” (they said)
(They) dug the ground (where the fire had been).
“This (campsite) is old.”
(They) slept and got up.
Then, “This is hot ground” (they said)
“These hot ashes are one day old.”
(They) went on again, sleeping as they went along.
“This is it here!”
“These hot ashes are a little hotter.”
(They) went on foot again.
“This is it here!” (they shouted)
“It’s very hot.”
“These coals are glowing alright.”
“This fire has just been burning.”
So they went on.
“This is the camp!”
“(I) saw this camp from far away.” (said the younger brother)
(They) kept going, going to the camp where the sister and brother-in-law were getting wood to make a camp to sleep.
So they came to the camp as the brother-in-law was making a fire (and) making a windbreak.
“Well, why have (you) come?” (he asked them)
“You left this boy, bringing him along (and) leaving him.” (said the older brothers)
“Why?” (they asked)
Then (they) hit them two there, the two elder brothers hit the sister and the young one, young brother-in-law.
(They) killed (both of them).
That’s the finish.

NAIDOC 2017 — Diyari yawarra mandru-mandru

This week, 2nd to 9th July 2017 is National NAIDOC Week. The theme this year is “Our Languages Matter”. Around Australia, there will be national celebrations of the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

On the Dieri Yawarra blog this week we present a traditional story in the Dieri language — this is the only traditional story that was able to be recorded in the 1970s from the language teachers who grew up in Dieri country. All other Dieri stories have been lost because of the impact of Christian missionaries from the 1860s onwards.

Here is Part Four of the story (click to see Part One, Part Two and Part Three). First we give the words in Dieri and then a translation into English. If you want to study the structure of each sentence in this part of the story you can download a PDF that gives the word-by-word translation and grammatical structure.

Dieri Story — Part Four

Thurararna, thangkuthangkuparna wapalha, dityitha yarlawa nhawu durnkarnanthu, waparnanhilha.
Pula wapayi.
Dityi parlpa thurararna parlkayi.
Ngardanhi nhayiyi.
Minha nhawuparrawu?
Ngathata nhawumatha.
Kardiyali kakuyali warararna wanthiyi.
Nhawuwa ngathangathata ngaldrarniyi.
Minhangankalha nganayi ngaldra nhinha?
Warrurirna tharriyi nhawu.
Payali nhinha kunalkarna warrayi.
Warrulha nhawu ngamangamayi pirta miri.
Minhangankalha nganayi ngaldra?
Mirimiri marla nhawuparra.
Minha yini?
Nganhi warrangantyu.
Nganhi ngarla ngunyari.
Kurnutha yatharna wanthiyi.
Mayi, ngaldra nhinha yinkamatha minhayangankalha.
Nhinha payirringankalha ngaldra.
Ngardanhi pulali warayi yinka, wararna nhungkangu kankunhi.
Nhulu ngardanhi pardayi yinka.
Ngardanhi nhawu ngariyi yinkanhi, warrulha warrulha ngarirna, pulali parrumarna ngarirnanhi.
Mayi, kiralha manirna wanthiyi pulali, nandranandralhatha nhinha.
Warru, kuna, paya kuna.
Minhangankarna wanthiyi kakuyali kardiyali yinha?
Kunali thuriparna wanthiyi yinanha, pardakarna wanthirna yinanha, warararna thikalha.
Ngardanhi marniyali wirripayi pulali.
Ngardanhi thurarayi, thangkuthangkuparna wapalha.

English Translation

(They) slept to go in the morning, going before the sun had come up over there
They went.
(They) slept on their journey for some days.
Then (they) saw (something).
“What’s that?”
“That’s (our) younger brother”
“(Our) brother-in-law and sister left (him) long ago.”
“He’s our little younger brother!”
“What shall we do with him?”
“He has become all white.”
“The birds have shat on him.”
“He is sitting all white at the top of the tree.”
“What shall we do?”
“He is right at the very top.”
“What are you?”
“I am left-handed.”
“But I am right-handed.”
One of them said.
“Well, let’s make this string something or other.”
“Let’s make it long.”
Then the two of them threw the string, throwing (it) to the boy.
Then he caught the string.
Then he came down on the string, all white, white coming down as the two of them pulled (him) down.
Well, they got a boomerang and hit him all over.
White, faeces, bird faeces (came flying off).
“What did (our) elder sister and brother-in-law do to you?”
“They poured shit all over you, having brought you (here) to leave you as they went back.”
Then they painted (him) with fat.
Then (they) slept to go in the morning.

<To be continued …>