Mayatha yatharna warayi mara kurramayi mangathandranhi

simon

Here is a game that you can play using the Dieri language. It is designed for 4 or more players and is similar to the English game “Simon says”. The game was designed and developed by Greg Wilson and the Dieri Language Committee.

One person is chosen to be Mayatha ‘boss’ and the others stand in a straight line in front of Mayatha.

Mayatha calls out an action in Dieri for the others to follow. It begins like this:

Mayatha yatharna warayi mara kurramayi ‘The boss said put your hand …’

and ends with a word for some part of the body with the ending -nhi, indicating location. For example mangathandranhi ‘on the head’ or pilpiranhi ‘on the shoulder’.

The action should be followed only when the command ends with a word that has the -nhi ending like Mayatha yatharna warayi mara kurramayi mangathandranhi ‘The boss said put your hand on your head’. Listen to how Aunty Rene says this:

If Mayatha states the action without saying -nhi on the last word and one of the players follows the action, that player must sit down. Listen to the following recording, you will hear several ‘correct’ words and one that is incorrect:

Did you hear which one is incorrect? The recording says: tharlpanhi ‘on your ears’, mulhanhi ‘on your nose’, pilpiri ‘shoulder’, milkinhi ‘on your eye’ and pantyanhi ‘on your knee’. Notice that Aunty Winnie says pilpiri ‘shoulder’ not the correct pilpiranhi. Here it is in a full sentence:

Anyone who does the action of touching their shoulders after hearing Mayatha yatharna warayi mara kurramayi pilpiri would be out of the game and have to sit down.

The game continues until there is only one player left. The last player standing can now play at being Mayatha.

Here are some useful terms for playing the game:

mangathandra ‘head’
para ‘hair’
tharlpa ‘ear’
mulha ‘nose’
marna ‘mouth’
tharli ‘tongue’
marnathandra ‘tooth’
murnampiri ‘chest’
pilpiri ‘shoulder’
thinthipiri ‘elbow’
thuku ‘back’
mandra ‘stomach’
wulu ‘thigh’
pantya ‘knee’
thina ‘foot’

Have a go at this Dieri game with your friends.

Note: Many thanks to Greg Wilson and the Dieri Language Committee for sharing this material and the sound recordings.

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