Yaama from John Giacon. rumaru comes from the following:

Good morning all. Very bad news and good in another way because we are very cautious about coronavirus spreading rapidly across all nations. At Yirrkala school for sitting a metre away from a person we calling it rumaru a avoidance relationship which is daughters husband is rumaru (avoidance relationship to his mother in law.)

Yalmay Yunupiŋu

Teacher Linguist, Yirrkala School

Department of Education, Northern Territory Government

This is one of a long series of emails from people discussing how to communicate about CV19 in remote communities. A challenge, given factors such as the cultural differences and crowded housing.

Michael Christie responed to Yalmay with: Great idea!  And I guess you use the verb rum’rumdhun to describe the distancing behaviour? [We’d need to know the details of noun to verb derivation in the language.

I was also taken by this from Janet Wiles:

Ngukurr Language Centre explains social distancing in plain language: “Keep a distance of one snake length away from other people (you’ll probably get bonus points if you say bandiyan which means king brown snake!)” This is an awesome example of “plain language”!

Rob Mailhammer wrote:

I noticed that there is an audio message in Mawng on the NT Gov website:

I’m canvassing the possibility to get this translated into Iwaidja, but most people on Coker can understand Mawng. I’ll definitely send the Mawng link to the School, the Shire and the Clinic.

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