The first challenge for a balanda learner of Kunwok is to get used to the idea that there's no words for hello or thank you. We like to discuss the weather with strangers, but here in West Arnhem, there's not much to discuss, except to remark on it being cold if it falls below 20.
You'll need help to pronounce these correctly. (The podcasts will help with this.)
When greeting people, you'll probably be the one to initiate the interaction. If you're not an outgoing kind of person, you'll have to pretend to be. It is completely appropriate to show curiosity about where people are going and what they are doing, even if you hardly know them.
|ngudda kamak?||are you good?||(use with any size of group)|
|yoh, kamak||yes, good|
|baleh yire?||where are you going?||(said to just one person)|
|ngare shop||I'm going to the shop||(it's ok to include English words)|
|yire kakbi||you're going north||(fine to state the obvious)|
|yimdurndi||you've come back|
|baleh keno yimdurndi||when are you coming back?|
|ngawarnyak wak||I can't stand the crows|
Here your challenge is to get over needing to know someone's name. Learn their skin name, and optionally the kinship term you use for them, and try to just use that. Don't be afraid to ask the same question again next time you see someone. It's better to ask again and use it to consolidate what you're learning.
|ngaye nakamarrang||I'm nakamarrang||(give your skin name if you have one)|
|baleh kunkurlah nguddangke?||what's your skin?|
|nangale ngunwong?||who gave it to you?||(your skin name)|
|njale marneyime?||what do I call you?||(elicits a kinship term)|
|baleh ngudda beh?||where are you from?|
|ngaye Melbourne beh||I'm from Melbourne|