Mangathandra, pilpiri, pantya, thidna

In 2011-12 Greg Wilson and the Dieri Resources Development Group in Port Augusta translated a number of children’s songs into Dieri for use in language teaching. At the ILS workshop in Adelaide last month we were able to record the participants singing one of these songs. Here it is:


Here are the Dieri words:

mangathandra pilpiri
pantya thidna
pantya thidna
pantya thidna
mangathandra pilpiri
pantya thidna
tharlpa milki mudlha

This is made up of:

mangathandra meaning ‘head’
pilpiri meaning ‘shoulder’
pantya meaning ‘knee’
thidna meaning ‘foot’
tharlpa meaning ‘ear’
milki meaning ‘eye’
mudlha meaning ‘nose’

Notice that in Dieri you don’t have to specify how many items you are talking about so a word like pilpiri means ‘shoulder’ or ‘shoulders’, and pantya means ‘knee’ or ‘knees’. If you want to be explicit about the number then there are two endings you can use:

-wurlu means ‘two’
-wara means ‘three or more’

So, pantyawurlu means ‘two knees’ and pantyawara means ‘three or more knees’.

We can use these ending with words referring to people as well: kankuwurlu ‘two boys, a pair of boys’, or mankarrawara ‘three or more girls’.

Try to sing along to the Dieri song and do the actions of putting your hands on the correct part of the body at the same time.

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