April 02, 2007

yo manymak wäwa!


My wäwa, BW, rocks. Here a few reasons why. (He's the one in the middle. He gave me this photo today, it was taken last month while he was in Melbourne).

He likes to teach anyone and everyone his language Wägilak. He cleans the council office here everyday and he's been teaching the Accounts woman a few bits of Wägilak. She came up to me going 'B keeps teaching me his language but I don't know what he's saying!'. So I asked him what he's been teaching her and then I wrote it down for her, and she knows it now. So every morning when BW asks her Nhämirri nhe? (how are you?) she answers, Manymak (good).

BW has started committing himself to teaching Wägilak in our school classes and he's excellent. He has authority with the kids and is a natural gifted teacher. Today, I sat down with him and my gaburani (uncle) DW and they made a new song to teach the little kids (to the tune of london bridge is falling down):

Detuŋdja ŋay djirryuna djirryuna djirryuna
Detuŋdja ŋay djirryuna
Larruwala ŋay gapugu


(The buffalo went down, went down, went down)
(The buffalo went down)
(He was looking for water)

And after making the song, BW said the words that are magic to any linguists ears... 'yu garrim teip? ai wandi pudum la teip.' (Have you got a stereo? I want to record it).

BW is also the man who got me up dancing bunggul and showed me what to do.

Last Friday, BW got back from Melbourne. He was down there (with 2 other guys from here) performing at Federation square, with the Australian Art Orchestra, as part of the Swimming World Championships festival. He also performed at the opening of an Ngukurr Arts art exhibition. Coming home, he was even more determined to strengthen and maintain culture, dance and language here at Ngukurr. What a good man. Manymak wäwa!

5 comments:

Sophie said...

Main dubala san! tu gud ai dalimyu!!!! Anyany dubala Wamut.

garramala said...

Nhamirri nhe Wamut?
Munanga Wamut Garramala Julien brom Melbun iya. Ai bin filing brabli goodbinji langa baindim dijan blog blanga main ghuta BW's bijit langa Melbun garram main wawa RN en Yirritja Djungai JH. Manymak langa ridim dat najawan tings yu bin jinggabat du.

The fellas performances at Birrarung Mar and the NGV last week were astounding, and the Cultural and Music Workshops we did at the TAFE college for the University students were really well presented and received. Students and teachers are still talking about how impressive the guys were at communicating knowledge about their culture and about the strength of purpose behind their desire to share knowledge.

I want to pass on my thanks again for their professionalism, inspiration, friendship and generosity of spirit.

Ebriwan dat gajim Wagilak bunggul langa Melbun bin brabli kwesjinmak!

I'm hoping to visit Ngukurr again this dry. There is much to discuss with Wagilak mob about performances and personnel, and I also (really) need to practice my kriol and Wagilak.
I hope you will be there. I'm glad I can now keep in touch via your blog.

DjuDjuNama Wamut

David Marjanović said...

I've wanted to ask this for a long time. How is ä pronounced? I'd have thought [æ], but in a three-vowel system... is it [a:]?

Wamut said...

Yeah, you're right.. it's a long 'a'. And 'o' is the long 'u' and 'e' is the long 'i'.

David Marjanović said...

Oh. Interesting idea.