Sunday Island Camp and Footy

I was lucky enough to be able to go on One Arm Point school’s camp to Sunday Island. We’ve just got back after some wildish (for the dry season) weather and a pretty rough crossing back. It’s now raining! BE was there as one of the main elders. The kids did some ilma last night which was a lot of fun for all. I got to hear a bit of conversational Bardi too, which was pretty cool (and my Bardi got tested a bit). AND, I got to see (from a distance) the place where those two people turned to stone because they couldn’t speak each other’s language.

I’m now back at home after a tiring few days, and it’s NITV to the rescue again: I’m relaxing watching Papunya playing Ngaanyatjarra, which the commentator was pronouncing nyirratjura … and Ngaanyatjarra won. Several fascinating things. One was the post-match interviews. Desert English sounds different to me from both Yolŋu and (West) Kimberley English. Similar intonation patterns to Kimberley (Arnhem Land is different) but I’m going to have to watch more footy to be more precise. Second was the gardiya commentator (the other guy was Aboriginal), who although being on NITV made no attempt to say any of the names of the players except two, which were English names. I’m not sure how he ended up with a team name of [ɲɪrə’tʃuɹə] for what I’m reasonable sure is [ŋaˑn̪ɐt̪ɐrɐ]. Any local readers got info on this?


4 responses to “Sunday Island Camp and Footy

  1. [ɲɪrə’tʃuɹə] would be Ngurratjuta. Were you watching part of the 2008 Ngurratjuta Lightning Cup? Ngaanyatjarra isn’t a placename, though I suppose it would be possible team name.

  2. I was indeed watching the Ngurratjuta Lightning Cup, but they were definitely saying [ɲɪrə’tʃuɹə] for the team who was playing Papunya OS [ie Outstation] and who were listed on the scoreboard as Ngaanyatjarra. Perhaps the commentator just collpased the two words.

  3. David Marjanović


    You used the “dental” diacritic. You probably want the “retracted” one (an underline — a minus, to be precise)… the two are difficult or impossible to distinguish in some fonts.

    [ɲɪrə’tʃuɹə] would be Ngurratjuta.

    Wouldn’t that be written Nyirratjura?

  4. No, I want the ‘dental’ one because it’s dental.

    I’d assumed that the commentators had neutralised the phonemes r ~ rr ~ rd ~ rt ~ t . In my experience they get muddled up a lot, even by Aboriginal kids learning their heritage language who are exposed to all those sounds.

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