Marri Tjevin
also called:
Tanggural, Ngangityaben, Murintjaran, Murindjabin
dialects with:   
Marrithiyel, Marri Ammu, Marri Dan
various spellings:   
Western Daly Grouping   

Marri Tjevin and Marri Ammu are two closely related dialects whose country lies along the coast north of the mouth of the Moyle River, extending up towards the Dashwood Plains. Marri Tjevin occupies the southern part of this area, with Magati Ke and Marri Ngarr to the south. Marri Ammu then has Menthe and Merranunggu to its north and north-east respectively. Their sister dialect Marrithiyel lies to their east. There are a number of active outstations on Marri Tjevin and Marri Ammu country proper, with Marri Tjevin and Marri Ammu communities also resident at Wadeye.

While neither Marri Tjevin nor Marri Ammu have been extensively documented, there is general agreement that there are only minor linguistic differences between them, with Tryon (1974) suggesting that their grammars are effectively identical and that they are only distinguished through vocabulary. The community language experts that we have worked with have indicated that there may also be minor phonological differences. Tryon (1968, 1970, 1974) and Kofod (1986a, 1986b), together with sections of Ford (2007), are the only published sources on the dialects, although publications on plant and animal terminology (Northern Territory Government), and a learner’s guide (Batchelor College), appear to be under development.

It had been thought that no full speakers of either dialect remained. However, two senior Marri Tjevin men, Atu Frank Dumoo (sadly now deceased) and Malbiyin Claver Dumoo, began work in Wadeye with Dr John Mansfield (University of Melbourne) in the development of an extensive set of audio and visual recordings providing detailed documentation of Marri Tjevin language and material culture. The products of this work can be found under the Recordings and Field Notes tab, with additional work being added as it becomes available.

Ian Green’s corpus of Marri Tjevin consists of 6 hours of recordings of lexical, and grammatical elicitation. The first recording has some textual material in Marri Tjevin (Ambrose Piallum), Marrithiyel (Bill Parry) and Marri Ngarr (Jimmy Nambatu). The other recordings were made with the following speakers:

  • Les Kuntjul
  • Colin Worumbu
  • Edward Nimarluk