March 06, 2007


I learned a cool new Rembarrnga word yesterday.

Me n my wawa were listening to an old recording of him telling a story and halfway, I lost what he was talking about.

"We saw two policeman", he translated for me. But I couldn't hear where he was talking about any blijiman (Kriol for policeman).

And so my wawa taught me that Rembarrnga has its own word for policeman (which is what he said on the recording):


It's my favourite new word which I'm going to use now, and say, "Nguwahjœrrœ baganh!". (There's a policeman there!).

Note: Question for further thought - What's the cultural significance of the fact that the Rembarrnga word for policeman incorporates the Rembarrnga word for 'cheeky' or 'a thing to be wary of'...


Laraba said...

You know, I'd been asking myself the same question!!! It's a funny word, that one. But a cool one, I agree!

Lots of love to Ngukurr from Frankfurt!


Sophie said...

When NJ and I did some work on the inmates guide to the law, I remember the translation of 'a police man has a right to force entry if s/he has a warrant': 'det blijimen im gin bi ril bosiwanbosiwan'

Jane said...

Check out the excellent Bill Mcgregor paper on words for 'policeman' across Australia

McGregor, William B., 2000, Cockatoos, chaining-horsemen, and mud-eaters. Anthropos 953-22.

Anonymous said...

Haven't been checking the blog often enough obviously; but before the comments die, I'll just add that it was a new word for me too; and how great to see people blogging about Rembarrnga, and bunggul too! Good on you, Wamut!

Greg Anderson

Anonymous said...

PS But I think I would say 'Nguwahjoerroe boenda-tjja' if the policeman was there rather than here.