Lesson 7 - Endings and word order

Arabana uses endings or ‘suffixes’ on the end of verbs and nouns. It is important to learn these endings so that you can begin to create your own sentences.

PART 1: Endings of verbs

Part 1 of this lesson looks at action words (verbs) and some of the common endings added to these words.

PART 2: Endings of nouns

Part 2 of this lesson looks at words for people, places and things (nouns) and some of the common endings added to these words.

PART 3: Word order

Part 3 of this lesson looks at how to arrange sentences (word order)

Part 1: Endings on action words

When we want to talk about doing, saying or thinking anything we need to use action words (verbs).

In this lesson we will be learning some of the different endings on verbs in Arabana. These endings (suffixes) are used to describe when, how or why the action took place. For example, in English ‘-ing’ is a suffix. Compare talk vs talking, listen vs listening, sing vs singing.

When you have finished this lesson, click here to download a chart to help you to remember the endings on action words in Arabana.

Here is a list of commonly used Arabana verbs that we will be using in this lesson. These are all root words. A suffix can be added at the end of these root words to show when, how or why the action is happening.

Arabana
English
yanhi-
speak
ngawi-
listen
nhanhi-
see
yuka-
go, walk
thika-
return
walki-
sick, sore
waya-
want
thangka-
sit, stay
tharka-
stand

Here are some commonly used endings (suffixes) which are added to these root words.

-rnda
used to show that the action is happening right now (present tense suffix)
-rda
used to show that the action is happening right now (present tense suffix)

NOTE: -rnda and –rda have the same meaning, and either one or the other is used depending on the root word. Refer to a speaker or available resources to help you to decide on the appropriate ending to use.

Here is a list of present tense verbs

yanhirnda
speaking
ngawirnda
listening
nhanhirnda
seeing
yukarnda
going, walking
thikarnda
returning
walkirnda
feeling sick, feeling sore
wayarnda
wanting
thangkarda
siting, staying
tharkarnda
standing

NOTE: The present tense can also sometimes be used as a command, to tell someone to do something. i.e. Wiya, thangkarda! 'Boy, sit down!'

-ka

-ka
used to show that the action happened in the past (simple past tense suffix)

For example:

Uka Marree-ruku yukaka.
He went to Marree.

Here is a list of past tense verbs

yanhika
spoke
ngawika
listened
nhanhika
saw
yukaka
went, walked
thikaka
returned
walkika
was sick, was sore
wayaka
wanted
thangkaka
sat, stayed
tharkaka
stood

-nha

-nha
used to show that the action didn’t happen in the past. It is similar to the future tense in English (non-past suffix).

For example:

Kathu! Uka yanhinha.
Quiet! He's going to speak.

Here is a list of non past verbs

yanhinha
will speak, going to speak
ngawinha
will listen, going to listen
nhanhinha
will see, going to see
yukanha
will go, will walk
thikanha
will return
walkinha
will be sick, will be sore
wayanha
will want, going to want
thangkanha
will sit, will stay
tharkanha
will stand, going to stand

-lhuku

-lhuku
used to explain the purpose of an action. It can be translated as ‘in order to’ in English (purposive suffix).

For example:

Marree-ruku antha thikaka, lhuka nhanhilhuku.
I'm returning to Marree, in order to see my mother.

Here is a list of purposive verbs

yanhilhuku
in order to speak
ngawilhuku
in order to listen
nhanhilhuku
in order to see
yukalhuku
in order to go
thikalhuku
in order to return
thangkalhuku
in order to sit
tharkalhuku
in order to stand

NOTE: -lhiku instead of -lhuku may also be used to match the final 'i' sound of the root word. For example, ngawilhiku, thanilhiku.

Part 2: Endings on Arabana nouns

Arabana language has endings (suffixes) which can be added to words for people, places or things (nouns). These endings can be used to express movement, ownership and location of the person, place or thing.

When you have finished this lesson, click here to download a chart to help you to remember the endings on nouns in Arabana.

Here is a list of commonly used endings on nouns in Arabana:

-ruku

-ruku
used to show movement towards or to something/somewhere (allative suffix).

For example:

Uka Marree-ruku yukaka.
He went to Marree.

-ru

-ru
used to show movement away from something/somewhere (ablative suffix). It can also be used as an ergative or instrumental suffix.

NOTE: For more information see Additional Suffixes.

For example:

Antha Marree-ru thikarnda.
I'm returning from Marree.

-nganha

-nganha
used to show that something originates from somewhere

For example:

Antha Marree-nganha.
I'm originally from Marree.

-purru

-purru
this ending means ‘to have’ or 'with' and can be used with people and objects.

For example:

Antha kadnaardi-purru Marree-ruku yukarnda.
I'm going to Marree with some money.

-kunha

-kunha
is used to show that something belongs to someone (possessive suffix).

For example:

Nhiki wadlhu Arabana-kunha.
This is Arabana country.

-wili

-wili
this ending means that something is ‘like’ something else.

For example:

Uka miltyaardi arkapa-wili.
Her eyes are brownish.

NOTE: Arkapa means 'brown' and is also the word for a type of brown ochre.

-nga

-nga
this means ‘in/at/on’ (locative suffix)

For example:

Uka ngura-nga thangkarda.
She's at home.

-nha

-nha
this is added at the end of a word to show that it is the name of a person or a place (proper noun marker). This is also used as an accusative suffix.

NOTE: for more information see Additional Suffixes.

For example:

Antha Karlatyalpa-nha-nganha.
I'm from Anna Creek.

NOTE: Karlatyalpanha is the Arabana name of 'Anna Creek', and it means 'food creek'.

-ra

-ra
this is used to highlight the reason or cause of something, or the source of an emotion. It can be translated to ‘due to’, ‘by’ or ‘because of' (causative suffix).

For example:

Kuya thuthnhirnda madla-ra purrthakanha.
The girl is crying because the dog bit her,

NOTE: Kuya means 'girl', thuthnirnda is the present tense verb 'crying', madla is 'dog', purrthaka is the past tense verb 'bit'.

NOTE: Some of these suffixes may change slightly depending on the noun they are used with. For example, if a noun ends in ‘i’ (such as Kardliti 'Adelaide') then '-ru' will change to ‘-ri’, and '-ruku' will change to ‘-riku’.

Additional Suffixes

Here are some additional suffixes which will be explored in future lessons.

-nha

Accusative suffix: -nha is added to the end of a word to show that it is the direct object of the transitive verb (a verb which requires an object in order to make sense). For example,

Lhuka-nha warawarna.
(They) follow their mother.

-ru

Ergative suffix: -ru is added to the end of a word to show that it is the agent of a transitive verb (a verb which requires an object in order to make sense). For example,

Lhuka-ru nhanhika partyana.
Mother saw everything.

-ru

Instrumental suffix: -ru is added to the end of a word to show 'with what' or 'how' an action is performed. For example,

Midlha pirdaka wadna-ru.
(She) hit (him) on the nose with the yam stick.

Part 3: How to arrange sentences

Now that you have learned how to use endings with verbs and nouns, you can start to form your own sentences in Arabana.

To do this, you will need to learn the order in which words are put in a sentence. This is called ‘word order’.

The word order tells us where the verb, subject and object are placed in the sentence.

The verb is any word which describes an action, such as eat, laugh, talk, walk, etc.

The subject is the person or thing in the sentence that is doing the action.

The object is the person or thing in the sentence which is having something done to it by the subject.

In English, the word order is ‘Subject+Verb+Object’.

For example: ‘The dog bit the man’.

‘The dog’ is the subject, ‘bit’ is the verb and ‘the man’ is the object.

In Arabana, the preferred word order is ‘Subject+Object+Verb’.

For example: 'Madla-ru nharla purrthaka’ (the dog+the man+bit).

Madla-ru (the dog) is the subject, nharla (man) is the object and purrthaka (bit) is the verb.

However, the word order in Arabana can be changed. We know which word is the object and which is the subject based on the endings or suffixes used, unlike in English, so it doesn't matter if the order of these words is changed.

If you wanted to draw special attention to the object of the sentence, then the object could come first in the sentence. This word order is 'Object+Subject+Verb'.

For example:

Nharla madla-ru purrthaka.
the man+the dog+bit.

This was a long lesson that introduced a range of new concepts in helping you form sentences in Arabana.

In Part 1 we covered Endings of Action Words

Click here to download a chart to help you remember the endings of action words.

In Part 2 we covered Endings of Nouns

Click here to download a chart to help you remember the endings of nouns.

In Part 3 we covered Word Order in Sentences

In Arabana the preferred word order is Subject+Object+Verb.