Speaking, Talking, Telling

Spoken Language and Text Corpora

< back to Dalabon overview

Alice Boehm: My Life

Alice Boehm tells the story of her life. Recorded by Nick Evans in Maningrida, July 1993.

no caption

You bin puttem on already?
Ah, I wanna tell old story my turn now my name Alice
when I bin young
an I'm getting old
I'm really sick woman now
and I don't go anywhere
I'm just siddown one place
all my kid
they all sitting down
Maningrida, we bin come nother place
I never go back in my country anymore
because why
bin salas (jealous) gija one another for country
I (They?) didn't even get a chance for that
I like to go back now, like this time
might be I'm get (h)old now
and then
probably I'll gone back this time when I get old
but Idon't think so
because too much jealous
too much humbug
and all these young boys
drinking and all this get mad
I don't like this one
I like to sit down where I stay now
I don't like any drink
I'll tell im from my language now
dijan yalah-yelûng-bong
We left there (from our country),
yale-bong wulungmunguyh wurdurdngan
from there which we left forever as children
we stayed there
Walûm-be yalah-djalûng-mayahminj right up, karri,
From the south we just got lost (from our country), we headed west,
right up karrikad walûngkad
we headed up west, south,
Yalah-dudjminj walûngkad yalah-bong
we went back there south,
karrikad yalah-bong
We went west,
we came back
this way
djarra djihbi ngah-ni djoldwoda
I'm staying on the coast
kurnh kinikinkah ngah-bong, wulungmunguyh
I've moved to another country for good.
wirrimahkih kurnh-ngan ngah-bawong
because I've left my country
kurnh-ngan-kih ngah-bawong
I've left my real country
bulmun kaye-ni
which is at Bulman
kurnh-ngan kaye-yaw-yunginj ngey kanihdja namarndi drimin
my country which gave birth to me, there where the devil country is my dreaming.
(where) the black eagle
kah-boninj kah-kûrl-djakminj
it travelled along crying out
manjh barrah-boninj yawurral
and the snakes went along, the big brown snakes.
alright, bûlah-wadda-ye-wodnang
alright, they chucked me out over country
mak njel(ng) ngalkbon yalelng-ni, malkah-malkah yalah-ni.
So that we Ngalkbon live all by ourselves everywhere, scattered around.
Ngey wulkûndjan-ngan ngey, njerr bûlah-bawong.
They left us two, me and my little sister.
Wurdurd-yah njerr yirrah-ngong-yidjnjan
The two of us have only our many children (left).
bulungan, bulungan balah-donj
My fathers have all died.
nah-ngan balah-donj Nah-njerrng bulu-njerrng balah-wudjkarrinj,
My fmothers have all died. My mothers and fathers have all finished up.
bad wurdurd-yah bulu yarrah-yidjnjanj
and the two of us have just got our children
yalah-niii Anytime bulu ngah-bawoyan, wurdurd-yah balah-boniyan,
who are left. Later I can send the children to go off
malkah bulng na balah-yelûng-boniyan, nah-dih-kûn,
on their own now, without their mother,
bulu-dih-kûn balah-boniyan
they can go without their father
Bonj, yabbûnh-ko ngey yabbûnh kûrdûkûrd-ko, bunu ngah-yidjnjan mah,
‘Well I’ve only got the two girls,
yawurrinj-ngong bûlah-bawong rowk
‘the boys have all left home,
ngey makmak-kih bulu ngah-yelûng-yidjnja-nj.
‘I don’t keep them anymore,
and then
and then
my granddaughters
and grandsons
too much kah-yaw-berehbun
children keep getting born
children keep getting born,
wanjingh yibung yang kah-wonan, wanjing
One boy can understand language,
kanh ngerrûngerrmiyi kah-yenjdjung
and that light-skinned girl (Joy) can talk (language)
Nûnh-ma njerrh-ngurlmi-yih rangûm wolmud kah-dja-yelûng-yingkilidji-yah balah-yenjdjung mak bulabengkan
‘All those black-skinned boys and girls (of mine) just talk English, they don't know how to talk language
derrhno yalah-boniyan
Sometimes when we travelled, we would just talk (language),
Maybe one can talk, one can get hold of the language,
kardû wanjingh kah-yenjyenjdjungiyan
But the other boys and girls are without (Ngalkbon) language,
wanjinghyih njel kah-yang-mang
one can get hold of the language
Bad kinikinikûn rangûm wolmud kah-yang-dih, mak bulng bûlahlng-yang-mang
But the other boys and girls don't have the language,
bulahlng-yang-rawahwang yang, mak dabengh bul kayinmiwoy mamam-bulng kakkak-bulng,
It must be they don’t understand language, because their grandparents didn’t teach them to talk language
balahlng-wudjkarrinj rowk
Burrum djeya ngey ngah-djahng-bong djarra, ngah-dûrnikang kurnh kinikin-kah ngah-yenjdjung kunwinjku,
‘From there I came on to here. I’ve settled in a different country, and I talk Kunwinjku,
and Dalabon-ngan bu mûdûk ngah-dje-yenjdjung.
and my Dalabon language I can still talk properly,
ngah-dje-yenjdjung ngah-dja-bengkan mahkih, law, ngeykûn law ngah-dja-bengkan
I still talk (Dalabon) and I know other stuff too, I know my law,
Mardayin, Yabburdurrwa
Mardayin, Yaburdurrwa,
and whiteman law ngah-dja-bengkan
and whiteman’s law I know.
The whitefellers' (stuff)
ngah-bengkan rowk
I know all that.
bad mak ngey
But I don't
mak ngey ngah.... ngah-kerninjhbi ngah-mayahmu, ngah-bengkan ngah-wurrhwurrungu ngah-wurrhwurrunguminj
I don't whatsit, I don't forget anyything, I know it, even though I've grown old.
ba wurdurd-kûn ngah-njonjnjoo.... bulu-ngan mardayin rowk kah-larnimhminj,
when I was a child, my father taught me everything about Mardayin (ceremony)
long ago
He went right through the language
if I go back (to Bulmun)
kardû ngah-djalng-old, ngah-djalng-mu....,
I might be old by then, I'll
have grown old
wurrhwurrungu kardû marrûhkûno
a really old woman, sometime
but not yet,
bad moyhyih kah-bun
sickness hasn't killed me yet
ngah-barlan-donj ngah-barlan-donj ngah-barlan-donj
Though I've nearly died a few times.
bulungan kah-buyhwoninj
My dad used to teach me.
nah-ngan kah-buyhwoninj
Mty mum used to teach me.
ngeh-boninj mardayin ngeh-karnindjihminj
My father and I used to go travelling around on ceremony business, going around with the Mardayin ceremony.
My dad
njonjo, wurdurd yayawkûn
When I was a little kid
kah-yinmiwoy, "Nûnda djah-yin-miyan!" bulu-ngan,
He used to say: 'You've gotta do like that', my dad would.
kah-buyhwong kurnhno kurnhno kurnhno
He showed me country, country, country
korrh-kûn ngahlng-bengka-n. Kenbo wurdurd-ngan leda-kah or tape-kah,
I’ve known the country for a long time. Later, for my children, in the book or on tape,
so.. so everybody can listen langa tape, what I'm saying.
so everybody can listen to the tape, what I'm saying
Like my kid no understand for English,
Like my kids don't understand (all Dalabon ideas) in English
well jarran na like tape-kah, kenbo bulah-wo-nan bulah... ngah-marne-yenjdjungiyan yang-walûng.
well, like that on the tape, later they'll listen to me, when I talk in language
I can just say and talk la olabat
I can just say and talk to everybody
But when they listen to tape they must gettin this time, they get old now...
But when they listen to the tape, maybe they'll be getting to this age, old
too late for them
It's too late for them
They just talk English all the time.
They just talk English all the time
But anyway, next time one more tape bulu ngah-yang-marnû-yungiyan
Anyway, now I'll put some more on the tape for them
I'll talk
Bulu-ngan kah-buyhwoninj ngurrurdu
My dad used to show me emus
black-footed tree rats
munguhdjam kah-buyhwoninj
He showed me all sorts of things
quiet snakes
yawurral dadbarrangkurl
cheeky snakes, king brown snakes
kah-buyhwoninj kunj kalaba, namarrkondo,
he showed me kangaroos, big red kangaroos and brown rock kangaroos
kah-buyhwoninj bulu-ngan njonjnjonj-njonjnjo.. yalah-boninj,
My father used to show them to me as a child, when we were travelling around
kah-njerrh-buyhwoninj o kayi-yaminj yibung-walûngkûn kah-marne-yerrûh-ye-dudjminj bulu-ngan
He showed them what they looked like, yeah, the ones that he had speared himself, he'd bring them back for me, my dad did
kahnûnh kah-njerrh-buyhwoninj nûnda nûnda nûnda nûnda, ngi-no kah-marne-yininj,
‘This is what this one is like', he'd show me, 'and this, and this, and this', he'd tell me its name.
munguyh-djam manjh-wurd kah-buyhwoninj,
He used to show me every little thing.
manjh-yayaw-no kah-buninj rongkûrrh kah-buyhwoninj,
Every little thing that he killed, such as a quiet snake, he would show me.
mak nûnda rongkûrrh nawoydo, nawoydo bulah-buyhwoninj,
Not (just?) the quiet snake, they (my dads) used to show my dingos,
nawoydo bûlah-buyhwoninj
They'd show me dingos.
nawoydo nûnh yale-bon, yilah-wonaninj nûka nûka bale-dowhminj,
Dingos, as we travelled along, we heard them everywhere there as they howled,
yilah-wonan mah yale-yu-kûno mahkih yale-yu budj-kah yilah-djal-wonan nûka nûka
we heard it when we were sleeping, as we would go along in the bush we kept hearing them,
we'd hear them
jamdaim buliki jamdaim dongki yilah-wonan
sometimes we'd hear cattle or donkeys
makmak kabuwanjing-kah mak yilah-wonan,
We wouldn't just hear one, but lots
kah-djalng-buliki dongki yilah-wona-wonan,
We just kept hearing bullocks and donkeys
kah-djalng-nawoydo-duninj budjkûh-budj-kûn, yilah-yang-wona-wonan
They were real bush dingoes, we'd hear their howls
as we were sleeping, before as we were sleeping
warlakird yale-yoy kah-yelûng-kûrdminj, ngah-wehminj.
Kardû kahnûnda na bûlah-wonawoniyan wurdurd-ngan-kûn, bulu ngah-marne-tepimh-mûn bonj,
Maybe they’ll listen to this (tape) now, my children’s (children?), so that’s it, I’m making a tape for them,
bulu ngah-marne-yang-yurruniyan,
I want to leave my words for them for ever,
Anytime winjkûn-ngan, winjkindjan-ngan, wurdurd-ngan, wurd-ngan,
(For) my grandson, and granddaughter, my children and daughter
who I have
Bûlah-marne-yunginj kahnûnda bulu-ngan-yih, nah-ngan-yih
The stories that they put for me, my father, my mother
ngey yabbûnh bunu ngah-yidjnjaninj bulu-ngan, bulu-korroh-no-ngan, bulu-boyenj-ngan,
The two fathers that I had, my youngest father and my big father
bunu ngah-yidjnjaninj
I had the two of them
But ngey, malkah-ngan ngah-lûng-ni, Balah-karrah-donj balah-wudjkarrinj
But me, I sit down by myself now, they've all died, they're all finished
they're finished
ngey walûngkûn ngahni wulkûn-ngan kah-bong
I'm all on my own, my younger brother has gone,
he's died.
Bonj.... kah-djal-malkah-ngan ngah-ni.
Yes, I'm all on my own now.
Mak nabikerninjh nidjarrakah yarrah-ni, yarrah-raworrûniyan
I don’t sit down with anybody, I’m don’t have a mate, there's noone for us to keep each other company. That’s all.’
bonj, balah-djahlng..
That's all, they just
That's it

All Dalabon Stories

Alice Boehm: My Life

Alice Boehm tells the story of her life. Recorded by Nick Evans in Maningrida, July 1993.

David Karlbuma: Yayminji

This recording was made during a fieldtrip to Yayminji and surrounding areas in 1995 with Nick Evans, George Chaloupka, Pina Giuliani and Murray Garde, to record rock art, knowledge of traditional plants, and Dalabon and Kune language

Lily Bennett tells a 'funny story'

Recorded by Maïa Ponsonnet on 18th May 2011, near Dordluk creek, just before Beswick on the highway, with Lily Bennett and Nikibini Daluk, working on Dalabon. Lily Bennett tells a 'funny story' that took place close to Manyallaluk, probably around 1980. Final transcript and translation by Maïa Ponsonnet, December 2016. Some slight retranscriptions added to this file by Nick Evans, March 2017

Maggie Tukumba: Buladjbuladj story

Maggie Tukumba telling the Buladjbuladj story. Recorded by Nick Evans.

Maggie Tukumba: Korlomomo and Berrerdberrerd

Maggie Tukumba is telling the story of Korlomomo and Berrerdberrerd, the crocodile and the rainbow bee eater.

Manuel Pamkal: Kidjdjan (ceremonial taboos)

Manuel Pamkal telling the story of Kidjdjan

Naworneng and Mimih

This story was recorded from the late Jack Chadum at Weemol Springs in the Northern Territory in June 1992 by Nick Evans and Murray Garde. Several other Dalabon speakers were also present, including Don Buninjawa, Maggie Tukumba (Chikappa) and Flora (surname unknown). A masterpiece of dramatic, humorous story-telling, it recounts the meeting between a character called Naworneng, who is on his way back from a successful hunting trip, and a “Mimih” spirit – Mimihs are slender spirits that d...

Queenie Brennan: Whistleduck, Ghostbat and Rainbow

Queenie Bangarn Brennan is telling the traditionnal story of the Whistleduck, Ghostbat and Rainbow. This story was recorded by Maïa Ponsonnet on 5th of May 2011 at Barunga. A Kriol version told by Queenie on the same day can be accessed via the ELAR archive.

The Emu Story

This story was told to Nick Evans and Murray Garde at Weemol Spring in 1992 by Jackie Chadum and Don Buninjawa, with some prompting and further commentary by Maggie Tukumba. It has been transcribed by myself, Murray Garde, and Sarah Cutfield, with assistance at various points from Maggie Tukumba, Alice Ngalkandjara, Peter Mandeberru and Dudley Lawrence at transcription sessions in 1992 (Maningrida), 1995 (Bulman) and 2017 (Weemol). It is a complex performance, partly in medley style and partly ...