Tuesday, May 11, 2021  
News & Updates

Street in ACT named after Emily Hornville
Horneville Street, Forde (ACT)

Our Language

According to Australian linguist Lynette Oates, the Muruwari Language belongs to the Maric languages in the Pama Ngungan Family of Australian Aboriginal languages that extends from the Kimberley's (WA), to New South Wales, Queensland, and to north-eastern Arnhem Land. Lynette Oates found that our language has borrowings and affiliations with South Australia to Western Desert languages. Muruwari language has 18 consonants and six vowels.

Our old people (Emily Hornville, Jimmy Barker, Robin Campbell, Shillin Jackson) provided lots of language for Lynette Oates to document and help us keep it strong. We really appreciate Lynette Oates language collection and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies for keeping our language and information safe. 

In the early days of Kawinj (white man) contact with us, Anthropologist, Robert Hamilton Mathews talked to our old people. He would go down the river and sit down with them and write down what the old men said.

In 1964, Music Teacher Janet Mathews was asked to collect the music of our people. Janet worked with Muruwari People to record our songs and language.

Property owner J. W. Foott esq also collected various words in our language.


If you want to ask questions or make a statement in Muruwari language, you might say:

When are you going?   = Wanthu ngara yanmintu (when there go-ing-you)

Come here . = Thayin yana (here go-do).

I lost it. = Pulukakayayu (lose-did-i)

I lost my money, I dropped it somewhere. = Lusitmay mani thika, kumunkayiyu (lost-did money my, drop-did-i)

All the boys are going out  = Kuthara yanminiyi yangkurr-yangkurr (Child go-ing-they boys)

I am feeling sick. = Marriyiyu ngathu (sick-am-I)

I have got a headache. = Pampurriyiyu (head-ache-have-I)

I sneezed. Kiingkuru palkayu (Sneeze came-I)

Do not eat it, it is poisonous. = Wala thala karti (not eat-do poison)

Never mind it. = Yinpayira (ignore-do)

I am afraid of snakes. = Karrayu kaanngu (fear-I snakes-from)

He died. = Paliyaa (die-did-he)