Lesson 12 – Talking about time

In this lesson you will learn how to talk about periods of time in Arabana. This includes talking about specific days (tomorrow, yesterday), times of days (morning, night), when something will happen (later, now) and seasons.


You will also learn how to ask time related questions like ‘when’ and ‘how long’.

Talking about days (tomorrow, yesterday)

time, occasion, day

NOTE: -walta is also used as a suffix after the days of the week.

Example sentences:

Tuesday-walta athu yukarnda.
I’ll come on Tuesday.

athu means I and yuka- means come


Walta nhikirnda athu yukarnda.
I’ll come this time.

nhikirnda means this, athu means I and yuka- means come


Uka Tuesday-walta maltya yukarnda, Friday-walta yukarnda.
He won’t come on Tuesday, he’ll come Friday.

uka means he, maltya means won’t and yuka- means come


another time/another day
another time/another day

Example sentences:

Walta-ngaṟu-nga nhanhinha.
See you another day/time.

the ending -nga means at and nhanhi- means see


Walta-nguṟu-nga yukarnda.
I’ll come at another time.

The ending -nga means at and yuka- means come



Example sentence:

Wangara thikanhanga.
Coming back tomorrow.

thika- means return


yesterday, last week, previously

Example sentence:

Antha Kardlirdi-ruku kalkara yukaka.
I went to Adelaide yesterday.

antha means I, Kardlirdi means Adelaide, the ending -ruku means to and yuka- means go


Talking about times of the day (morning, night)

early in the morning, dawn

Example sentence:

Wangali uka thikaka.
She came back earlier this morning.

uka means she and thika- means return


twilight, evening

Example sentences:

becoming twilight/dark
Yukapai! Ngarkangathirnda.
Come on! It’s getting late.

yukapai means let’s go


at night, in the middle of the night

Example sentence:

Antha wanga-nga thikanhanga.
I will come back in the middle of the night.

antha means I and thika- means return


Talking about when something happened/will happen


Example sentences:

Antha anti yukanhanga.
I'll go soon.

antha means I and yuka- means go


Antha anti thikanhanga.
I’ll come back shortly.

antha means I and thika- means return



Example sentence:

Antha wanga thikanha.
I’ll come back later.

antha means I and thika- means return


some time ago, before

Example sentence:

Uka wangaṟa-puka thikaka.
He came back some time ago.

uka means he and thika- means return


coming behind, late

Example sentence:

Apityi ngarda yukaka.
Father came along too late.

apityi means father, yuka- means come


long ago, a long time

Example sentences:

Waru anthunha thanthi-kaṟi ananha nguntaka.
Long ago my grandfathers told me (this).

anthunha means my, thanthi means grandfather, the ending -kaṟi means more than one, ananha means me and ngunta- means tell


Marree-nga athu waru thangkaka.
I’ve lived in Marree for a long time.

the ending -nga means in, athu means I and thangka- means stay


from long ago

Example sentence:

Athu waru-nganha nhikinha thangkika.
I’ve had this one from way back.

athu means I, nhikinha means this one and thangki- means keep


ages ago, a long time ago

Example sentence:

Antha warlpu waru-puka puntaka.
I’ve had a broken leg for ages.

antha means I, warlpu means bone, punta- means break


forever, for good

Example sentences:

Uka ngurrali yukaka.
She's gone forever.

uka means she and yuka- means go


Ngurrali uka yukaka, maltya thikalhuku.
He’s gone and never coming back.

uka means he, yuka- means to go, maltya means not and thika- means return


NOTE: ngurrali can only be used when talking about people. For example, you can’t use it to say “the food is gone for good”.


in the summer time

Example sentence:

Nguṟi-nguṟi nhuka Finniss-inga maṟutya-ngaṟu.
There are a lot of flies in Finniss Springs in the summer.

nguṟi-nguṟi means fly, nhuka means many and the ending -nga means in


in the winter time

Example sentence:

Finniss-iangu athu yukarnda madlhi-ngaṟu.
I’m going to Finniss in the winter time.

the ending -ngu means to, athu means I and yuka- means go

NOTE: Arabana does not have words for spring and autumn. The summer period is the hottest part of the year, and it may rain a bit at the start and end of this season. The winter period is the coldest part of the year, which may also get a bit of rain.

Question words related to time


Example sentences:

Unkulu anpa yukarnda?
When are you going?

anpa means you and yuka- means go


Unkulu anpa wiṟi tyintyaka?
When did you get a haircut?

anpa means you, wiṟi means hair and tyintya- means cut


Unkulu Pt Augusta-ruku yukarnda?
When are you going to Pt Augusta?

the ending -ruku means to and yuka- means go


Unkulu uka thikaka?
When did she come back?

uka means she and thika- means return


Unkulu uka thikanhanga?
When will he come back?

uka means he and thika- means return


for how long?
for how long?

Example sentence:

Unkulu-aku madla awarda thangkika?
For how long have you had that dog?

madla means dog, awarda means that one and thangki- means keep


from when, since when?

Example sentence:

Unkulu-nganha anpa warlpu puntaka?
Since when have you had a broken leg?

anpa means you, warlpu means leg and punta- means break


since when?!

Example sentence:

Unkulu-wili anpa mayatha-parnda-thiyangu?
Since when did you become a big boss?!

anpa means you, mayatha means boss, the ending -parnda means big and the ending -thiyangu means became


NOTE: Unkulu-wili ‘since when’ in Arabana is used sarcastically, as in English ‘since when have you been a maths expert?!’ This is different to ‘unkulu-nganha’ which wouldn’t be used sarcastically.

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