Tyitiyamba (A42 ) in Handbook of Kimberley Languages (1988).
7.2 Murrinh-patha / Murinbada
Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Murinbada (AIAS, Capell, Oates & Oates), Murinbata (Stanner, Street & Mollinjin, Capell, Wurm), Murinjbada (Oates, Walsh), Murinypata (Walsh), Murinypatha (Walsh), Murrinh-patha (Black)
Dialect names:, Murrinh-gurra, Murrinh-diminin
The language name means 'good language', from murrinh 'language', and patha 'good'. The two dialect names, Murrinh-gurra and Murrinh-diminin, which refer to northern and southern dialects, mean respectively 'water language' and 'gravel language'. These terms allude to perceived speech qualities (Michael Walsh pers.comm.).
Alternative names: Garama (Capell, AIAS), Karaman (Tindale), Linygugu, Mariwuda (name used by Brinken speakers; see Oates 1973:41), According to Black & Walsh (forthcoming), Garama is the Jaminjungan name for Murrinh-patha; Karaman is most likely a variant spelling of this. Linygugu is the Jaminjungan term for the Murrinh-gurra dialect; this term also means 'water language' in Jaminjung.
Classification of the language:
Oates 1973: 41a (Oates & Oates 1970: 37.1, and 37.2)
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Mainly Port Keats; there are a handful of speakers in Kununurra and the surrounding region.
Black and Walsh - upwards of 800 speakers in Port Keats
Milliken - 1000 speakers
Street - about 1100 speakers
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Michael Walsh, since early 1970s, Port Keats
Chester and Lyn Street, from 1973, Port Keats
A practical orthography developed by Street is currently in use. This orthography is like the standard North Kimberley orthography, except that it uses p, t and k, in addition to b, d and g.
Capell (1940), Street (1983, 1987), Street & Mollinjin (1981); according to Oates & Oates (1970:21), Stanner had an extensive unpublished vocabulary - however, this seems not to be the case, and the vocabulary is in fact quite small (Michael Walsh, pers.comm.).
Kulamburut & Walsh (1986), Walsh (1976a). Apparently Stanner had collected a number of myths and translations, which remain unpublished (Oates & Oates (1970:21), Michael Walsh, pers.comm.).
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Material available on the language:
Capell, A. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10. 241-272, 404-433.
Kulamburut, H.P. & Walsh, M.J. 1986. Strange food. In Hercus, L. & Sutton, P. (eds), This is what happened: historical narratives by Aborigines. Canberra: AIAS. 47-61.
Stanner, W.E.H. 1936. Murinbata kinship and totemism. Oceania 7. 186-216.
Street, C.S. 1976. Spelling problems with voiced and voiceless stops in Murinbata. Read 11 (4). 117-118.
_____ .1980a. The relationship of verb affixation and clause structure in Murinbata. In Street, C.S. et al. Papers in Australian Linguistics, 12. Canberra: PL, A-58. 83-113.
_____ .1980b. Reduplication in Murinbata. In Street, C.S. et al. Papers in Australian Linguistics, 12. Canberra: PL, A-58. 1-21.
_____ .1982. Toward a Murrinh-patha defined need for repentance. Nelen Yubu 1982, 12. 12-21.
_____ .1983. Dictionary of English/Murrinh-patha. Port Keats: Woddey Press.
_____ .1987. An introduction to the language and culture of the Murrinh-Patha. Darwin: SIL.
Street, C.S. & Kalampurut, H.P. 1978. The Murinbata mode of existence. In Brandenstein, C. et al. Papers in Australian Linguistics, 11. Canberra: PL, A-51. 133-141.
Street, C.S. & Mollinjin, G.P. 1981. The phonology of Murinbata. In Waters, B. (ed.), Australian phonologies: collected papers. (Work Papers of SIL-AAB A-5) Darwin: SIL. 183-244.
Walsh, M.J. 1976a. The Murinypata language of north-west Australia. PhD thesis, ANU.
_____ .1976b. Ergative, locative and instrumental case inflections: Murinjpata. In Dixon, R.M.W. (ed.), Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: AIAS. 405-408.
_____ .1976c. The derivational affix 'having': Murinjpata. In Dixon, R.M.W. (ed.), Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: AIAS. 287-290.
_____ .1976d. The bivalent suffix -ku: Murinjpata. In Dixon, R.M.W. (ed.), Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: AIAS. 441-444.
_____ .1987. The impersonal verb construction in Australian languages. In Steele, R. & Threadgold, T. (eds), Language topics. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 425-438.
Since 1976 there has been a bilingual education programme in Port Keats run by the Northern Territory Department of Education.
Language learning material:
Street, C. 1987. An introduction to the language and culture of the Murrinh-Patha. Darwin: SIL.
A large amount of literacy material has been published by SIL. The following is a brief selection:
Chula, M.P. & Street, L. (eds). 1981. Murrinh ku ngugumingki. Translated by Narndu, T.D. Darwin: SIL.
Murrinh Nganki. (Murrinh-patha Primer series) Darwin: SIL.
Street, C. & Street, L. 1978. Murrinh Parililnu 2. Darwin: SIL.
McGregor, William. 1988 Handbook of Kimberley Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. © Author.
AIATSIS gratefully acknowledge William McGregor for permission to use his material in AUSTLANG.