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:

kardayapu
head

p

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

Try saying:

tyalpa
non-meat food

t

t - as in time.

Try saying:

anti
soon

m

m - as in mad.

Try saying:

mara
hand

n

n - as in nice.

Try saying:

anpa
you

l

l - as in lunch.

Try saying:

kudnala
sleeping

w

w - as in wing.

Try saying:

wara
who

y

y - as in toy

Try saying:

yanhirnda
talking

ng

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

Try saying:

ngurku?
good

ty

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

Try saying:

intyara
where

ny

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

Try saying:

amanya
grandmother (father's mother)

ly

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

Try saying:

ngadlyuru
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
I

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:

nhuthi
older brother

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:

lhuka
mother

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:

thangkarda.
sitting

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:

yukarnda.
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:

karlti karlti
deadly!

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:

miraka
red

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:

tharkarnda
standing

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!

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:

awarda
that there

aa

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

Try saying:

miltyaardi
eye

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:

wiri
hair

u

u - as in put. Never like but.

Try saying:

kaku
older sister

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:

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:

udlyurla
woman
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