Mithanhi ngamamayi!

chair

Today we present another Dieri language game similar to the one in yesterday’s post.

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

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

Mithanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the ground!’

You can replace the first word with other places to sit, as in:

Mithanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the ground!’

Pulawanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the floor!’

Tyiyanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the chair!’

The person who is Mayatha should try to trick the others and say the sentence wrong by leaving out the ending -nhi indicating location, as in this example:

Mitha ngamamayi

If anyone sits down when they hear this command they are out of the game.

Keep going until only one person is left who has not been tricked. That person then can play Mayatha.

You can also use this game to practice colours in Dieri. If you have coloured chairs then put several of each colour mixed up in a big circle around the players and the Mayatha calls out the names of each coloured chair that the people playing the game have to sit on. (If you don’t have coloured chairs you can put coloured postit notes on the chairs or write colour names in Dieri and stick them on the chairs.) Anyone who sits on a chair of the wrong colour it out of the game.

Here are the colours you can use:

maru ‘black’
warru ‘white’
marralyi ‘red’
kulyakulya ‘green’

So the Mayatha would call out:

Tyiya warrunhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the white chair!’

Tyiya kulyakulyanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the green chair!’

Tyiya marralyanhi ngamamayi ‘Sit on the red chair!’

If you think that it might be too rowdy or dangerous to sit on the chairs the Mayatha can say mara kurramayi ‘put your hand!’ instead:

Tyiya warrunhi mara kurramayi ‘Put your hand on the white chair!’

Tyiya kulyakulyanhi mara kurramayi ‘Put your hand on the green chair!’

Tyiya marralyanhi mara kurramayi ‘Put your hand on the red chair!’

Anyone who makes a mistake is out of the game.

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

Note: Thanks to Greg Wilson and the Dieri Language Committee for the idea for this game and for the sound recordings.

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