Bininj Kunwok Phrase Book
This phrasebook has been developed by the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre for people to learn more about the language and cultures of Western and Central Arnhem Land. It provides useful words and phrases for interacting with Bininj in appropriate and respectful ways, and gives additional information about the culture and life in the region.
Bininj has various meanings, including human (as opposed to nonhuman), Aboriginal (as opposed to non-Aboriginal) and man (as opposed to woman). Kunwok can mean language, speech, story, report, discourse.
Together, Bininj Kunwok basically means ‘the people’s language.’ Bininj Kunwok includes the languages or dialects of Kunwinjku, Kuninjku, Kundjeyhmi, Kundedjnjenghmi, Kune and Mayali.
Proceeds from this book go back to supporting the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre and keeping First Nation’s languages alive and strong for future generations. The artwork in this book is by Graham Rostron, a Kune speaking artist from remote homelands of Central Arnhem Land.
This phrasebook has been developed by the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre for people who come to work or visit and would like to know more about the people and language of the region. It provides useful words and phrases for interacting with Bininj in appropriate and respectful ways, and gives additional information about the culture and life in the region.
The phrasebook may not include some of the words and phrases you expect to find in a travellers' phrasebook. There are no entries for words like please and thank you, because these words don’t exist in Bininj Kunwok (though most Bininj are familiar with English and will use them with English speakers). There are no phrases to help you book a hotel room or visit a medical centre, as these activities would likely only happen in English. Instead, the book focuses on the kinds of situations in which you are likely to encounter Bininj using their own language, and will enable you to engage with them at a basic level in these situations.
This book is based on the work of the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre. The authors acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which Bininj Kunwok varieties are spoken in the Kakadu and western Arnhem Land regions: speakers of the Kundjeyhmi, Kunwinjku, Kuninjku, Kune, Kundedjnjenghmi and Mayali languages.
The information was compiled by Cathy Bow with the support of Charles Darwin University, based on information provided by members of the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre, particularly Ngalwakadj Jill Nganjmirra, Ngalkodjok Dell Hunter and Ngalbangardi Jeanette Burrunali. The audio recordings are by Bangardidjan Jocelyn Koyole and Kamarrang Ben Burrunali, with the online version developed by Danny Kennedy. The artwork is by Graham Rostron with support from Katie Hagebols. The book was inspired by a doublesided handout prepared by Andy Peart in 2019. The project was overseen by Ingrid Johanson and linguist Dr Murray Garde OAM.
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