• P.O.V
  • By Emma Brain
  • News

Murrinhpatha, a language like no other!

This is Stephen Bunduck, a Kardu Diminin man and generous participant in a series of visioning workshops in Wadeye, always in his big hat.

Here he describes the family and clan groups that make up the community, a complex overlay to our re-imagining of how the built environment might work.

He is speaking Murrinhpatha, a language described as ‘polysynthetic’ and with a ‘free word order’. We’re no linguists, and so we’re not going to begin to try and describe what this means. But we will point you to an article in the Scientific American journal that reveals how fascinating Murrinhpatha is, unique even within the context of Australian Aboriginal languages.

The community resisted the attempts at assimilation imposed by Catholic missionaries. In the article, the researcher asks an Elder, ‘how it was that despite the cruelty of the missions and the punishment by the nuns, her people still spoke Murrinhpatha. “We just used to whisper,” the woman replied.’

Murrinhpatha continues to thrive as a language and is widely spoken in community and given equal attention in school as English. Here’s a link to the journal article if you’d like to learn more; we promise it’s an interesting read!

 

Articles / Blog

Filter
  • 09 Apr, 2024

    Martu people set out new vision for climate-appropriate housing and community infrastructure

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 02 Apr, 2024

    The Wellbeing of Architects Melbourne 8 – 9 May

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 21 Mar, 2024

    TFA Annual Giving

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 13 Mar, 2024

    Murrinhpatha, a language like no other!

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 27 Feb, 2024

    TFA profiled in major national research paper

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 07 Feb, 2024

    Emma Williamson appointed as Government Architect

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 25 Jan, 2024

    A short film about Community Co-Design on Martu ngurra

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 23 Jan, 2024

    Our position in 2024 on January 26

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 14 Dec, 2023

    Kaya Birak + 2023 Impact Statement!

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • 28 Nov, 2023

    Andrew Broffman reviews the National Architecture Conference

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • A ribbon wraps around this space, creating a place for digital artworks and important messages to be broadcast.

    01 Nov, 2023

    Boola Katitjin wins national award for educational architecture!

    By Emma Brain

    Read More

  • Image: Akira Monaghan

    24 Oct, 2023

    Our Response to the Referendum

    By Emma Brain

    Read More