Lesson 7 – Making sentences (Verbs)

When we want to talk about doing, saying or thinking anything we need to use verbs (action words).
Suffixes are put onto the end of verbs to describe when, how, or why the action took place. For example, in English ‘-ing’ and ‘-ed’ are suffixes. Compare talk, talking, talked; listen, listening, listened. We will learn present, past, future and purposive verb suffixes in this lesson.

Click here to download a chart with the Arabana verbs and verbal suffixes listed for quick reference.

Here is a list of commonly used Arabana verbs. A suffix is added at the end of these ‘root words’.

Arabana
English
yanhi-
speak
ngawi-
listen
nhanhi
see
yuka-
go, come, walk
thika-
return
waya-
want
wangka-
sing
thangka-
sit, stay
tharka-
stand
idnhi-
lie around, be, exist, remain
parda-
do, hold, make
pirda-
hit, kill

Here are some suffixes commonly used on the end of Arabana verbs.

-rnda, -rda
shows that the action is happening right now (present tense suffix).
-ka
shows that the action happened in the past, like English -ed (simple past tense suffix).
-nha
shows that an action will happen later, in the future (future tense suffix).
-lhuku
used to explain the purpose of an action. It can be translated as ‘in order to’ in English (purposive suffix).

This is what the verbs from above look like with the suffixes added


Present tense

yanhirnda
speak
ngawirnda
listen
nhanhirnda
see
yukarnda
go, come, walk
thikarnda
return
wayarnda
want
wangkarda
sing
thangkarda
sit, stay
tharkarnda
stand
idnhirnda
lie around, be, exist, remain
pardarnda
do, hold, make
pirdarnda
hit, kill

Sentence examples

Madla ngura-ruku thikarnda.
The dog returns home.

madla means dog, ngura means home and the ending -ruku means to

Lhuka karla-nga thangkarda.
Mum sits in the creek.

lhuka means mum, karla means creek and the ending -nga means in

Anpa ngawirnda?
Are you listening?

anpa means you

Nharla-ru kira pardarnda.
The man makes a boomerang.

nharla means man, the ending -ru shows who is doing the action and kira means boomerang


Past tense

yanhika
spoke
ngawika
listened
nhanhika
saw
yukaka
went, walked
thikaka
returned
wayaka
wanted
wangkaka
sang, sung
thangkaka
sat, stayed
tharkaka
stood
idnhika
lay about, was, existed, remained
pardaka
did, held, made
pirdaka
hit, killed

Sentence examples

Uka Marree-ruku yukaka.
She went to Marree.

uka means she, the ending -ruku means to

Kuya-ru yalka wayaka.
The girl wanted a bush onion.

kuya means girl, the ending -ru shows who is doing the action and yalka means bush onion

Athu paya nhanhika.
I saw a bird.

athu means I, paya means bird

Nhuthi-ru kungarra pirdaka?
Did brother kill the kangaroo?

nhuthi means brother, kungarra means kangaroo


Future tense

yanhinha
will speak
ngawinha
will listen
nhanhinha
will see
yukanha
will go, will come, will walk
thikanha
will return
wayanha
will want
wangkanha
will sing
thangkanha
will sit, will stay
tharkanha
will stand
idnhinha
will lie about, will be, will exist, will remain
pardanha
will do, will make, will hold
pirdanha
will hit, will kill

Sentence Examples

Athu unanha anti nhanhinha.
I will see you later.

athu means I, unanha means you, anti means later

Uka Pt Augusta-ruku thikanha.
He will return to Pt Augusta.

uka means he, the ending -ruku means to

Madla-ru paya pirdanha.
The dog will kill the bird.

madla means dog, paya means bird

Anpa ngura-ruku yukanha?
Will you go home?

anpa means you, ngura means home, the ending -ruku means to


Purposive

yanhilhuku
in order to speak
ngawilhuku
in order to listen
nhanhilhuku
in order to see
yukalhuku
in order to see
thikalhuku
in order to return
wangkalhuku
in order to sing
thangkalhuku
in order to sit
tharkalhuku
in order to stand
idnhilhuku
in order to lie about, be, exist, remain
pardalhuku
in order to do, make, hold
pirdalhuku
in order to hit, kill

Sentence examples

Athu Marree-ruku yukarnda Jess-inhaku yanhilhuku.
I’m going to Marree in order to speak with Jess.

athu means I, the ending -ruku means to, the ending -inha shows that Jess is a name and the ending -ku means with

Marree-ruku lhuka nhanhilhuku athu thikaka.
I returned to Marree in order to see Mum.

the ending -ruku means to, lhuka means mother and athu means I

Yardlarda arnanthara ngurkumarnda tharnilhuku.
We are cleaning grass seeds in order to eat.

yardlarda means grass seeds, arnanthara means we, and ngurkuma- means to clean

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