Kuninjku and Kune teaching at Maningrida School


Kamalay Kamak = 'Good Morning'. Ngaye Bulanj Linton. Ngarrurrkmirri Manawukan School kunwok Kuninjku. Nganedjarrkdurrkmirri Bangardi Nadukurrdji dja Kamarrang Naborn.

Good morning. I am Bulanj Linton (left). I work at Maningrida School teaching Kuninjku language . I work with Bangardi (from Dukurrdji clan, centre) and Kamarrang (from Born clan, right).


That is all.

Ngahborlbme 'I am learning'

The online Kunwinjku course is going well. There are some great discussions and questions in the forums. Here is an answer to an interesting question:

QUESTION FROM A STUDENT about ngahborlbme 'I am learning':

"I was wondering about the word for learning too as I hadn’t come across that exact phrase. Is there a suffix like -ing? or would you always add in the -h- if currently in the process of doing something?

I am just curious as when I learnt Portuguese there is a suffix -ndo that is the equivalent of our -ing, for example the verb to learn = aprender and if you were to say I learn (as in right now) it would be ‘Eu aprendo’, but you can also say ‘Eu estou aprendendo’ = I am learning.

I am greatly enjoying the experience so far and I find the videos very useful to hear how different speakers say the same words."

For the question about if there is a participle for verbs in BK like 'learning' the answer is no. BK verbs are very different to verbs of European languages and don't have an auxiliary verb 'to be' that precedes a participle (e.g. I am X...ing). That kind of phrase is achieved with one word in BK. BK verbs are organised into themes determined by the final formative suffix (-me, -ke, -men, -kan, -di, -dong, -dung, -re, etc). They must also have a prefix that indicates who is doing the action (the subject) and if they are transitive verbs, also who is the object. So if you want to use the verb 'to learn' you must say who is doing the learning. You can't just say 'learning'. The stem of the verb to learn is -borlbme. It is in the class of verbs that end in -me. So you could say nga-borlbme 'I learn' or ngah-borlbme 'I am learning [now]' or ngarrih-borlbme 'we [exclusive, not you] are learning or karrih-borlbme 'we all are learning'. These examples are all in the non-past tense (that means present and future are the same form). The glottal stop sound -h- has been added to show that the action is happening currently (as opposed to an unspecified present time or in the future).


That is all.

New Bininj Kunwok Alphabet Chart

We are happy to launch new literacy resources. The first is our alphabet chart and phonics books. These feature illustrations by 15 year old Corben Nabanardi from Jabiru.

alphabet long poster

Or if you prefer it in compact layout:

alphabet chart square

The alphabet strip is available for classrooms and community language teaching groups in the Kakadu and Western Arnhem Land region. Each letter of the Bininj Kunwok alphabet is used in a word. Here's the alphabet:

a b d dj rd e h i k l rl m n ng nj rn o r rr u w y

DOB_8863 alphabet chart

Bininj Kunwok alphabet chart. (L > R) Julie Beer, Martina Balmana, Kaylene Djandjomerr, Shannon McLeod, Kestianna Djandjomerr, Christianna Djandjomerr, Marcus Dempsey, Annie Cameron, Murray Garde, Sonya Nango and Dion Hietmann kabirri-karrme Bininj Kunwok alphabet chart. (bim: Dominic O'Brien)


That is all.

Batchelor Course Birriyakwong

Graduate birriyimeng, Batchelor College.

Photos by Kevin Arthur, BIITE.

Tom Wood and Raymond Guymala have a planning discussion the day before their trip from Gunbalanya to Batchelor College on 20 June 2013 for their graduation ceremony at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (Certificate 2 in Construction). Thanks to Andy Peart, CDEP Training Officer at Gunbalanya for the recording and thanks to Kevin Arthur (BIITE) for the photos. Thanks to Tom Wood and Raymond Guymala too.

T= Tom, R= Raymond, A= Andy Peart.

[00:00:00.00] R: Tom, wanjh balekeno ngarri-re malayi?

[00:00:04.06] T: malaywi karri-re

[00:00:06.12] R: balekeno kukabel?

[00:00:09.00] T: kukabel karri-re o kumurrng

[00:00:12.24] T: nungka njaleken karri-re?

[00:00:16.12] R: graduate

[00:00:19.04] T: graduate karri-yime

[00:00:19.24] T: kore birri-wern?

[00:00:23.03] R: mulil

[00:00:25.23] T: malayi karri-re, kumurrng, kukabel

[00:00:32.06] T: karri-dungbebme

[00:00:33.20] T: kareh kanjdji kah-dungyo kah-kakyo wanjh karri-dolkkan kunukka six o'clock

[00:00:40.05] T: darnki kah-bebme name karri-re karri-bolkbawon Kunbarlanja

[00:00:43.22] T: seven o'clock mani bas karri-mang mani manu ka-bidbun, kan-bekkan

[00:00:51.23] R: wo kurebeh wanjh ngarr-ngokkowiyidurndeng

[00:00:55.19] yo, karri-ngokkowiyidurndeng

[00:01:00.19] A: njale, njale kabirri-re?

[00:01:02.23] T: murrika karri-re, mandengeyi

[00:01:05.05] R: murrika ngarri-re

[00:01:06.01] mandengeyi

[00:01:22.02] A: Bale ngurri-borlbmeng?

[00:01:09.20] R: aa... building

[00:01:10.18] building, building construction ngarri-re... manekke, ...graduate ngarri-yime

[00:01:15.13] R: graduate


balekeno when

malayi, malaywi tomorrow

-re to go

kukabel morning

njaleken why

-dungbebme 1. arrive in daylight 2. morning rising of the sun

name short version of namekke that

kunukka like that, at that time, that topic mentioned

-mang to get

-bolkbawon leave a place, depart from a place

kurebeh other side, at the other place/other end

ngokkowi evening

-ngokkowiyidurndeng return in the evening

murrika, mandengeyi motor vehicle (car, truck)

-borlbme to learn, to become accustomed to

manekke that, that thing mentioned (of man- class)

njale what, how

wanjh then (sequential)

-dungyo sun be located, exist

-bidbun, go up, go upland

mulil lots, many (also a ceremony name)


That is all.