|Marti Ke, Beringken|
Magati Ke country lies on the coast, to the south of the mouth of the Moyle River. Its sister dialect, Marri Ngarr, is up river to its immediate east. On the other side of the Moyle, to the north, is the Brinkin dialect Marri Tjevin, and to the south is Murrinhpatha. The Magati Ke community is now based at Wadeye, with an outstation at Kuy, in their traditional country. The language was reported to have some 30 speakers in the early 1980s (Abley 2005), but with the passing away of the remaining elderly speakers earlier this century, and with the community shifting to Murrinhpatha, is now no longer spoken.
Magati Ke and Marri Ngarr belong to the Western Daly language family, and thus have close ties with the Western Daly Brinkin varieties to their north. Until recently, however, Magati Ke has been almost invisible in the linguistic record. It is not mentioned in Tryon (1974), and Nambatu et al’s (2009) work on plant and animal names is the only substantial published information available on the language.
As documented on this site, Ian Green’s holdings include 3 hours of Magati Ke recordings, with associated field notes and preliminary morphological analyses, based on fieldwork at Wadeye with Magati Ke elder Jonny Chula in the early 1990s. These provide only basic data on the language, but nevertheless enable some key differences between Magati Ke and its sister dialect Marri Ngarr to be pinpointed.
Nambatu, Ngarul Jimmy & Marri Ngarr and Magati Ke people. 2009. Marri Ngarr and Magati Ke plants and animals : Aboriginal knowledge of flora and fauna from the Moyle River and Neninh areas, North Australia. Batchelor, N.T.: Batchelor Press.