Key Concepts

baduwaduyunamirri confusing, distracting.
balanda European, white Australian, same as ŋapaki.
balyunmirri invest (in the sense of investing in a particular place or totem as a source of identity) a reflexive verb.
birrka’yun try, test
bothurru to count (A Macassan verb introduced to Yolŋu languages before the arrival of the balanda)
buŋgul traditional ceremonial song and dance.
dambumiriw literally headless, from a headless rulu of turtle eggs, ie four
dharaŋan, dharaŋul recognise, understand
dhapinya open-handed, generous
dhol-bunanhamirri mix in together [dhol =dust, mud; bunanhamirri = meet together]
dhudi-dhawu the underlying story, the bottom of the story [dhudi = base, dhawu = story]
dhumbal’yun confused, unable to make sense of something
dhunupa straight, correct.
Dhuwa and Yirritja two fundamental divisions of Yolŋu life. Every person and thing is either Dhuwa or Yirritja.
djalkiri foot, footprint, foundation, used to describe the history of a person’s relation to land.
djinaga inside, not seen
gakal changing from one form to another from an ancestral form into a here-and-now form – usually in a ceremonial context, here used to talk about a good Yolŋu connection or nexus between Yolŋu environmental-home experience and the Gawa school.
gaminyarr grandchild (woman’s son’s child or classificatory equivalent)
gamurru point, nose
ganguri a yam species. The metaphor is that to find the yam you need to trace the leaves and stem back carefully to the root. This is often quite a difficult thing to do in the jungle, if it snaps, you may well miss out.
garma a public ceremonial space and open (non-secret) performances which take place there, used as a metaphor for collaborative knowledge making as in the garma curriculum at Yirrkala School.
gayku cloud
gumurr-dalthina coming across an obstacle [gumurr = chest, front; dal = hard; thina = become]
gurrutu the Yolŋu kinship system
guwal-budapthunaŋur crossing in the opposite direction, [guwal = waist, budapthun = cross over, ŋur = at]
liya-different-thirr to think in a different way [liya =head, thirr = become]
luku same as djalkiri
luku-warwaryun stray [luku = feet, warwaryun = wander]
lurrkun’ a few, often used for the number 3
mannersmirri with respect (manners)
maŋutji-lakarama show, demonstrate [maŋutji = eye, lakarama = tell]
matha tongue, language
midawarr fruitful season after the monsoon
miŋurryun to value, to hold precious, Maratja connects the idea of maths to the idea of value, also of taking pride in the Yolŋu world view
ŋapaki European, white Australian, same as balanda
ŋurrŋgitj charcoal referring to ancestral sites of cooking, living and learning
ŋuya undercurrent
Raminginiŋ one of the Yolŋu communities
ranhdhak dry, without sustenance
raypirri’ admonishment, discipline, verbal
reŋgitj totemic words and places
rom traditional law, cultural practice
rrambaŋi the same, together, equal, -thirri to become
rrupiya money
rulu a pile of five turtle eggs – four together in the sand and another on top making 5
subitise the ability to recognise how many in a small group without counting
waŋgany goŋ 5 from a hand
waŋgany rulu 5 from a group of turtle eggs
washim wash
wetj something that’s given as an investment so that there will later be a reciprocation
yidaki didgeridoo
yony-barrtjun the process of dividing up a loaf of sacred cycad bread for distribution in a ceremonial context. Yolŋu value being used to make the equivalent of a percentage
Yothu Yindi a Yolngu rock’n’roll band
yutuŋgurr literally means lower leg, but in talking about ancestral song, it talks about the key parts of the song before embellishment