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The Northern Myth

Nov 4, 2017

Word of the Day: Mantharre (Death Adder)

If the death adder bites you on the leg it holds on for good and you die, the snake as well.

This Word of the Day is from the Kaytetye to English Dictionary, about which I wrote a short piece back when it was released in 2012.

Mantharre n. [Kaytetye] Death Adder Acanthopis pyrrhus. Also referred to as apmwe mantharre. 

Mantharrepe apmwe nyertepe artntenge arle anteyane. Apmwe nyartepe iterrtye warle arlkarle arlantetheneke akepe, arlke rntwengele papetere kwre rengilenkepe. Mantharrelepe inenke ilkwennge kape wantakerreretetye kelye-kelye artnte arenye.

The death adder is a poisonous and deadly snake which lives in the hill. If trodden on it will latch on to the skin and flesh; and the only way to get rid of it is to cut that skin and flesh off. This snake easts mice and other little animals and insects that live on the hill.

Mantharrele rlterre apeke atnhewethe intemaperte, finish. Intemarte mwenke kwere intemaperte, re tyampe mpwwarenke. Ilhenhe peyakele. Artnte arenya Thangkenharenge atwatyele artntenge anteyane, makwerle.

If the death adder bites you on the leg it holds on for good and you die, the snake as well. The snakes sticks for good, you can’t get it off. There are lots of them around Barrow Creek still. 

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Photo: Gloria Morales, Warlukurlangu Artists, Yuendumu, NT.

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Compiled by Myf Turpin and Alison Ross, the Kaytetye to English dictionary is ideal for both beginners and advanced speakers of Kaytetye, for translators, and for anyone interested in learning more about Aboriginal languages and culture. It is available from IAD Press.

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One thought on “Word of the Day: Mantharre (Death Adder)

  1. Johnny B Bad

    Bullshit. It does not “hang on” and it does not die as well.