Lesson 2 - Pronunciation & How Words Sound

Arabana has a different sound system compared with English, so it is important to practice proper pronunciation by listening to the recordings.

Here are all of the sounds used in Arabana, along with example sentences for you to practice. Press the play button next to examples to hear the recording.

Click here to learn more about the sounds and spelling of Arabana.

NOTE: In most instances, the first syllable of each word is stressed i.e. Nhiki thidna.

k

k - as in skate. This sound is between a ‘k’ (kite) and a ‘g’ (gate) in English.

Try saying:

Nhiki anthunha thidna.
This is my foot.

p

p - as in spark. This sound is between a ‘p’ (pass) and a ‘b’ (but).

Try saying:

Antu puntyu tharnirnda?
Do you eat meat?

t

t - as in time.

Try saying:

Anti yukirnda.
Take it soon.

m

m - as in mad.

Try saying:

Minha wangka nhiki?
What’s this word here?

n

n - as in nice.

Try saying:

Antha walkirnda.
I'm sick.

l

l - as in lunch.

Try saying:

Uka kudnala.
She's sleeping.

w

w - as in wing.

Try saying:

Wara anpa?
Who are you?

y

y - as in toy

Try saying:

Aray, antha ngurku.
Yes, I'm well.

ng

ng - these two letters stand for one sound. As in sing.

Try saying:

Anpa ngurku?
Are you well?

ty

ty - these two letters stand for one sound. As in jar or trudge. Never like naughty.

Try saying:

Intyara-nganha anpa?
Where are you from?

ny

ny - these two letters stand for one sound. As in onion or canyon. Never like pony.

Try saying:

Nyilkaru ngawi!
Listen carefully!

ly

ly - these two letters stand for one sound. As in million. Never like silly.

Try saying:

Ankunha miltyaardi ngadlyuru!
Your eyes are green!

th

th - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in touch, but with the tip of your tongue brought further forward so that it is pushing up against your front teeth.

Try saying:

Antha thadlara.
I'm frightened.

nh

nh - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in nose, but with the tip of your tongue brought further forward so that it is pushing up against your front teeth.

Try saying:

Maltya irlinha yanhirnda!
Don't talk like that!

lh

lh - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in love, but with the tip of your tongue brought further forward so that it is pushing up against your front teeth.

Try saying:

Nhiki anthunha lhuka wathili.
This here is my mum.

rd

rd - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in quandong but with the tip of your tongue curled up and back in your mouth.

Try saying:

Antha thangkarda.
I'm staying.

rn

rn - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in another, but with the tip of your tongue curled up and back in your mouth.

Try saying:

Antha yukarnda.
I'm going.

rl

rl - these are two letters that stand for one sound. As in pillow, but with the tip of your tongue curled up and back in your mouth.

Try saying:

Nhiki karla?
Is this a creek?

THE THREE EXAMPLES OF R

NOTE: There are three ‘r’s used in Arabana. It is important to pronounce them properly or you could be misunderstood.

r

r - As in barn, said in a North American accent. The tip of the tongue curls back in the mouth. This may also be written as a capital R in some materials.

Try saying:

Wara nhiki?
Who's this?

r

r - as in butter if said very fast. The tip of your tongue should tap lightly on the ridge of your gums, just behind your teeth.

Try saying:

Anari yuka!
Come here!

rr

rr - the rolled 'r' as found in Spanish. Sounds similar to ladder. Vibrate the tip of your tongue on the ridge just behind your teeth.

Try saying:

Arru!
Hello there!

VOWELS

NOTE: Arabana words always end in a vowel. This is why –anha is added to the end of English names which don’t end in a vowel sound (i.e. Susan-anha), whereas –nha is used for names which do end in a vowel sound (i.e. Laurie-nha)

a

a - as in father.

Try saying:

Uka ngurku?
Is he/she well?

aa

aa - as in bath with a slightly elongated ‘a’ sound.

Try saying:

Ankunha miltyaardi ngadlyuru!
Your eyes are green!

i

i - as in leave. Never like bit. Sometimes sounds like hey when at the end of certain words. This may be written as ‘ei’ to remind you to pronounce it slightly differently.

Try saying:

Anti yuki!
Take it away now!

u

u - as in put. Never like but.

Try saying:

Nhiki ngura.
This is home.

UNUSUAL SOUNDS IN ARABANA

b - This is occasionally used before an 'm' to show a special feature of Arabana called 'pre-stopping'. It is not used in any other places, except for the language name itself 'Arabana'

Try saying:

wabmara
wind
kubmarri
blood

d - This is occasionally used before an 'n', 'nh', 'l' or 'lh' to show a special feature of Arabana called 'pre-stopping'. It is not used in any other places.

Try saying:

pidla
name
kudnala
sleep