Koojarra marnin (Two Women) PDF Print E-mail

Colleen, a non-Indigenous Australian, had spent much of her life raising a family in Canberra when Jeannie’s sister, Lucy, asked Colleen to
help her document her story in 1988. Deciding that she needed to upgrade her skills and knowledge in order to do so, Colleen enrolled in  linguistics, anthropology and Aboriginal studies at university, graduating in 1999. Since then she has worked as a freelance linguist
and divides her year, and her heart, between the Kimberley and her home in Brisbane.

Having met at a language workshop in Fitzroy Crossing in February 2000, Jeannie and Colleen have since built up a friendship bound by their mutual belief that the Nyikina language is not dead and that it needs to be nurtured and propelled into the future because of the integral
role they believe language plays in health and wellbeing.

According to Colleen, Jeannie is a natural teacher, “Many people who operate in an oral way don’t need to think about tenses and all of that, but Jeannie can and that makes her very valuable. When I’m working on a language pattern and substituting words, she’ll work out what I’m substituting and extend me. She’ll use it in another way that makes me work it out and that’s what makes her an excellent teacher.”

Friendships themselves seem to provide a promising model of practice. As Colleen states, “You’ve just got to know each other well enough to know when to back off and take the pressure off. Without mutual respect you can’t be aware of what’s going on, either on a personal or community level.”

Koojarra marnin
(Two Women)

koojarra marnin yarrmana mirri
booroola-ngana
koojarra marnin yarrmana mirri
booroola-ngana

Two women we are going to Derby
Two women we are going to Derby

koojarra marnin yarrmana mirri
booroola-ngana
mook yarrina mirri diyadia
moodooka-ngany

Two women we are going to Derby
We hit a diyadiya with the motor car

diydiya mook yarrina mirri
boodoorr diyadiya
mook yarrina mirri
moodooka-ngany
koojarra-ni marnin

We hit the diyadiya half way
with the motor car, us two women

koojarra-ni marnin
diyadiya mook yarrina mirri
boodoorr.
moodooka-ngany

We two women hit the diyadiya
with the motorcar half way.

Lucy-ni yingoolookan jarra mirri
Lucy-ni yingoolookan jarra mirri
Lucy-ni yingoolookan

Lucy is waiting for us two.

Yarrmana mirri booroola-ngana
booroola-ngana
yarrmana mirri
koojarra marnin.

We are going and going to Derby,
We two women are going to Derby