Introduction to Moort - Family  

painting by Marilyn 'Bindard' Garlett

Marra by Marilyn 'Bindaarn' Garlett

In Nyungar, your moort is your family or your relations. The Waarkal gave us the foundation of our knowledge about kinship systems and how we relate to one another, for instance, whom we could marry and what our obligations are to one another.

Nyungar culture is matrilineal. This means that we identify culturally through our mother’s (gnarnk) not our father’s (maam) heritage. So all kurrlonggur (children) born to Nyungar yok (women) take their mother’s (gnarnk) bloodline. In a big mob or moort, the kurrlonnggur might have different mothers and fathers. They might not know who their biological maam is, but they usually know who their gnarnk is. 1

According to Tom Bennell, the Keeper of the Stories:

Nyungar they used to call their yok when carrying doordajee doordajee. Now that means she is going to have a baby. Kooboorl, kooboorl, koombar kumbariny. That means the belly is getting big.1

click to play sound bidier

click to play sound doordajee doordajee

click to play sound gnarnk

click to play sound kurrlonggur ngarnk

click to play sound maam

click to play sound maaman

click to play sound moort

click to play sound nyungar

click to play sound waarkal

click to play sound yok

Click the sound files to hear the Nyungar words on this page.


1. Collard, L., Harben, S. & van den Berg, R. Nidja Beeliar Boodjar Noonookurt Nyininy, 48, and Winmar, D. Oral transcript, unpublished.