Lesson 2 – Sounds and Spelling

The Adnyamathanha alphabet, as described by Dorothy Tunbridge (Flinders Ranges Dreaming, 1988) has 30 characters:

a b d dh dy g i k l lh ly m n ng nh ny p r rd rl rn rr rt t th ty u v w y

CONSONANTS

b

b – as in bug.

Try saying:

ambada
cooking

d

d – this character represents two different sounds. Firstly, this is a ‘flapped’ or ‘tapped’ sound which doesn’t exist in English. It is common in other languages like Spanish. The tip of your tongue taps quickly on the ridge behind your front teeth. Try saying ladder quickly to practice.

Try saying:

wida
river red gum

Secondly, it sounds like a ‘d’ as in dog.

Try saying:

warndu
good

g

g – as in good.

Try saying:

iga
Native Orange

k

k – as in king.

Try saying:

nhaku
yes

l

l – as in lunch.

Try saying:

yurndu ala-ala
afternoon

m

m – as in mad.

Try saying:

ngami
mother

n

n – as in nice.

Try saying:

minaka
eye

p

p – as in pour. 

Try saying:

vapi
father

r

r – as in run. This isn’t a common sound in Adnyamathanha.

Try saying:

miru
man

t

t – as in time.

Try saying:

nhita
still, quiet

v

v – as in very. This sound is in between an English ‘v’ (very) and an English ‘b’ (but).

Try saying:

virdni
no good

w

w – as in wing.

Try saying:

warndu
good

y

y – as in yellow

Try saying:

yapa
road

SOUNDS WHICH ARE WRITTEN WITH TWO LETTERS

dh

dh – as in dog but with the tip of your tongue between your teeth.

Try saying:

aldha-aldha
happy, joyful

dy

dy – as in fudge and judge.

Try saying:

andyitaka
look after (him)!

lh

lh – as in label but with the tip of your tongue between your teeth.

Try saying:

ulha
a bit

ly

ly – as in million. Never like silly.

Try saying:

milyara
wind

ng

ng – as in sing.

Try saying:

ngurru
grass

nh

nh – as in name but with the tip of your tongue between your teeth.

Try saying:

nhaku
yes

ny

ny – as in onion or canyon. Never like pony.

Try saying:

amanyi
softly, carefully

rd

rd – as in hard said in a North American accent.

Try saying:

urdlu yardli
male red kangaroo

rl

rl – as in curl said in a North American accent.

Try saying:

arlayapi
hand, finger

rn

rn – as in barn said in a North American accent.

Try saying:

aparna
bone marrow

rt

rt – as in art said in a North American accent.

Try saying:

urti
Quandong

rr

rr – this is a ‘rolled’ sound which doesn’t exist in English. It is common in other languages like Spanish. The tip of your tongue touches the ridge behind your front teeth and vibrates there.

arra
high

th

th – as in table but with the tip of your tongue between your teeth.

Try saying:

angatha
nest

ty

ty – as in church.

Try saying:

warndu watya
great

VOWELS

a

a – as in sofa. Never like hate or hat.

Try saying:

awi
water

i

i – as in pit or beet. Never like bite.

Try saying:

ikaka
sit (command)

u

u – as in put. Never like but.

Try saying:

varlu
meat
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