Ngadjon Language resource

  

Ngadjon Language

  Ngadjonji History of the Rainforest People

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Ngadjon – English Glossary        English – Ngadjon Glossary          A Guide to the Sounds in Ngadjon

Ngadjon Language Database Contents
Each glossary contains a comprehensive list of currently 1421 words


Below are lists of words which have been extracted and arranged
in specific selected categories.

Animals Ngadjon – English

Birds - Ngadjon – English

Ceremony and Tradition - Ngadjon – English

Family - Ngadjon – English

Fish - Ngadjon – English

Insects and Small Creatures - Ngadjon – English

Land and Water - Ngadjon – English

Loan Words - Ngadjon – English

Parts of Body - Ngadjon – English

People - Ngadjon – English

Plants – Trees - Ngadjon – English

Plants – Other - Ngadjon – English

Reptiles and Amphibians - Ngadjon – English

Sounds - Ngadjon – English

Things We Use - Ngadjon – English

Time - Ngadjon – English

Weather and Sky - Ngadjon – English


Additional words and Place Names should be added to the booklet as they become known.

It should be noted that where verbs are listed, only one form is shown in the list.
Speakers of the language will be familiar with other forms.
Likewise, speakers will be aware of gender markers (bayi, balan, balam, bala) which are not shown in the list.




A Guide to the Sounds in Ngadjon

Note:It is essential to refer to local language speakers
for accurate pronunciation of specific words and phrases.



Letter

English sound as in...

Ngadjon word

a

above

mala

aa

path

daaru

i

sick

bigin

ii

yield

jiinji

u

put

gugu

uu

poor

duugu

b

bat

buni

d

desk

dandu

g

good

gagu

j

jam

jawa

l

lolly

galbu

m

mum

midin

n

no

nigu

ng

sing

ngagi

ny

onion

nyamu, marrginy

r

rag

ruguju

rr

Rolled “rr” as in scottish

Robert the Bruce

w

water

wana

y

yellow

yabun


Note on Pronunciation

Professor Bob Dixon pioneered linguistic studies amongst Aboriginal people in North Queensland and in writing this glossary I have tried to adhere to his basic outlines for writing dialects of the Dyribal language group.
I will quote him briefly here, however anyone seriously interested in studying Ngadjon language is well advised to go to the source.
Special note on b and p - Dixon's scheme uses b to cover both these sounds since there are no word pairs (such as bat and pat in English) that would require the distinction. However, contemporary Ngadjon uses a distinct p sound for some words. Where this is the case, we have used p in this list. - M.H.

"There are thirteen consonants - b,d,g,j,l,m,n,ny,ng,r,rr,w,y.
  1. b and m are sounds pronounced with the lips, exactly like b and m in English.
  2. d and n are also quite like English sounds; they are pronounced with the tip of the tongue just touching the ridge just behind the top teeth.
  3. j and ny are rather different from any sounds that occur in English. The sound we write j for is like a d and a y pronounced at the same time ... ny is like n and y pronounced at the same time. These sounds are pronounced with the front part of the tongue against the front part of the roof of the mouth, with the tip of the tongue just behind the teeth.
  4. g is exactly like the English sound and ng is like the sound that occurs at the end of some words in English (as in 'bang' and 'sing'). These are made by the back of the tongue being pressed against the back part of the roof of the mouth.
There are only three vowel sounds, many fewer than in English. ...
  1. i - the front of the tongue raised up towards the roof of the mouth. This usually sounds like the vowel in the English word 'beet' but it can sound like the vowel in 'bit' or even that in 'bet' ...
  2. u - the back of the tongue is raised towards the roof of the mouth. This usually sounds like the vowel in English 'boot' or 'tool' but it can sound like the vowel in 'put' or enen that in 'bought' ...
  3. a - with the mouth quite open and the tongue lying in the bottom of the mouth. This is like the sound in English 'bat' and 'man', but it can be pronounced like the vowel in 'half' or even that in 'not' ..."

"Writing down Jirrbal and Girramay", Bob Dixon, Canberra 1978. 

Dyirbal

Dyirbal (also Djirubal) is a tonal and ergative Australian Aboriginal language spoken in northeast Queensland by about 5 speakers. It possesses many outstanding features that have made it well known among linguists.

Phonology
 
Dyirbal actually has only four places of articulation for the stop and nasal consonants—this is fewer than most other Australian Aboriginal languages, which have six. This is because Dyirbal lacks the dental/alveolar split typically found in these languages. It also lacks voiceless consonants, an extremely uncommon trait among languages. Its vowel system is similarly small, with only three vowels: /i/, /a/ and /u/.

Grammar

The language is best known for its system of noun classes, numbering four in total. They tend to be divided among the following semantic lines: I - animate objects, men II - women, water, fire, violence III - edible fruit and vegetables IV - miscellaneous (includes things not classifiable in the first three) The class usually labeled "feminine" (II), for instance, includes the word for fire and nouns relating to fire, as well as all dangerous creatures and phenomena. This inspired the title of the George Lakoff book "Women, Fire and Dangerous Things".

Some linguists distinguish between such systems of classification and the gendered division of items into feminine, masculine, and sometimes neuter found in, for example, many Indo-European languages.

Dyirbal is remarkable because it shows a split-ergative system.
Sentences with a first or second person pronoun have their verb arguments marked for case in a pattern that mimics nominative-accusative languages. That is, the first or second person pronoun appears in the least marked case when it is the subject (regardless of the transitivity of the verb), and in the most marked case when it is the direct object. Thus Dyirbal is morphologically accusative in the first and second persons, but morphologically ergative elsewhere; and it is still always syntactically ergative.

Taboo

There used to be in place a highly complex taboo system in Dyirbal culture. A speaker was completely forbidden from speaking with his/her mother-in-law, child-in-law, father's sister's child or mother's brother's child, and from approaching or looking directly at these people. In addition, a specialized and complex form of the language, with essentially the same phonemes and grammar, but with a lexicon that shared no words with the non-taboo language, was used when within hearing range of taboo relatives. It existed until about 1930 when the taboo system fell out of use.

Ngadjon - English Glossary    English - Ngadjon Glossary
Animals     Birds    Ceremony and Tradition     Family    Fish    Insects and Small Creatures
Land and Water    Loan Words    Parts of Body    Plants Other   Plants Trees    Reptiles and Amphibians
Scientific Names   Sounds    Things We Use    Time    Weather and Sky    Additional Words and Place Names


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