Lesson 3 – Family

Let’s learn some words to about family members and people. We’ll learn to talk about our family and ask questions about other peoples families as well.

We’ll also have a look at some more general words for people, and practise some simple sentences using what we’ve learnt.

In Yankunytjatjara’s kinship system there are two different sides that dictate the organisation of society and therefore language. We-bone or our-side is your own generation and your grandparents and grandchildren, this is called nganaṉṯarka. Your parents and your children are called they-flesh or their side, this is called tjanamilytjan.

For the words we’re learning today it’s important to simply note there are different words for different generations and kins as they relate to yourself. There are of course more complex and nuanced learnings that go along with this system that we aren’t covering today.

English
Yankunytjatjara
we-bone, our side
nganaṉṯarka
they-flesh, their side
tjanamilytjan

GENERAL FAMILY WORDS

Let’s begin with learning some general words for family and people that come up a lot in everyday conversation.

man
wati
woman
kungka
father
mama
mother
ngunytju
young woman
ukara
young boy
uḻa
uncle
kamuṟu
aunty
kuṉṯiḻi
old man
tjiḻpi
big brother
kuṯa
little brother
maḻany
sister
kangkuṟu


WORDS FOR YOUR SIDE

Remembering that there are two sides of the kinship system, let’s take a look at some words that you would say when talking about your side of the kinship system nganaṉṯarka.

These are your grandparents and your grandchildren.

older brother
kuṯa
older sister
kangkuṟu
sister (older)
kaku
younger brother or sister
maḻany
brother or sisteR (last born)
piṉinu
promised husband
wati pikatja
promised wife
kungka pikatja
spouse
kuri
man's brother-in-law
maṟutju
woman's sister-in-law
tjuwaṟi
grandfather/grandson
tjamu
grandmother/granddaugther
kami
grandson
pakaḻi
granddaughter
puliri
those you can't marry
inyurpa


WORDS FOR THEIR SIDE

Now let’s have a look at words for tjanamilytjan their-side. These are your parents and your own children.

father/father's brother
mama
mother/mother's sister
ngunytju
father's sister
kuṉṯili
mother's brother
kamuṟu
descendants (also younger sister or brother)
maḻatja
son (close nephews)
katja
nephew/niece
ukaṟi
daughter
uṉṯal
daughter-in-law/mother-in-law
mingkai
woman's son-in-law/man's father-in-law/man's mother-in-law (avoidance)
umaṟi
son-in-law/father-in-law (avoidance)
waputju

TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY

With these words in mind, lets practise a few simple sentences.

Introducing yourself you might say Ngayulu kungka Yankunytjatjara. ngayulu means I, kungka means woman and Yankunytjatjara is the name of your language.

I am a Yankunytjatjara woman.
Ngayulu kungka Yankunytjatjara.

Talking about your family you might say Ngayulu walytja tjuṯatjara. Ngayulu means I, walytja means family and tjuṯatjara means with many.

I have a big family.
Ngayulu walytja tjuṯatjara.

Introducing your husband or partner you mights say Ngayuku kuri-ku ini Phil-anya. Ngayuku means mine, kuri-ku means husbands, ini means is and Phil-anya is your partners name.

My husbands name is Phil.
Ngayuku kuri-ku ini Phil-anya.

If you wanted to know who someone is you could as Ngananya palatja? Ngananya means who and paltja means that.

Who's that?
Ngananya palatja?

You might answer Palatja ngayuku kuntili Mary-anya. Paltja means that’s, ngayuku means my, kuntili means aunty and Mary-anya is the name of your aunty.

That's my aunty Mary.
Palatja ngayuku kuṉṯiḻi Mary-anya.

You could also answer Palatja ngayuku waltja. Palatja means that’s, ngayuku means my and walytja means family.

That's my family.
Palatja ngayuku waltja.

NUMBERS

Let’s take a quick moment to go over how to use numbers and count in Yankunytjatjara. Yankunytjatjara has a simplified counting systems that only has words for one, two, three and many.

To count beyond this you can combine words as you would combine numbers in addition to make numbers up to six.

one
kutju
two
kutjara
three
mankur
many
tjuṯa

Using the numbers we know of above lets add them together to form new numbers up to six.

four
kutjara-kutjara
five
mankur-kutjara
six
mankur-mankur

Let’s combine the numbers we’ve just learnt with some family terms to make some sentences.

Talking about how many son’s we have, we might say Ngayulu katja mankur. Ngayulu means I, katja means son and mankur means three.

I have three sons.
Ngayulu katja mankur.

If we were talking about our siblings we might say Ngayulu malany mankur-kutjara. Ngayulu means I, malany means younger sibling and mankur-kutjara means five.

I have five younger siblings.
Ngayulu malany mankur-kutjara.

You might even want to say Palatja paluṟu waltja. Palatja means that, paluru means his and waltja means family.

That's his family.
Palatja paluṟu waltja.


Next up we’ll be having a look at pronouns and working to build up some more complex sentences.

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