Warrgamay language

Warrgamay is spoken in North Queensland, particularly in the Cardwell region, as well as the Herbert River catchment. It has also been recorded as Wargamay, Wargamaygan, Warakamai, etc.

The following Warrgamay language words are included on the Gambara Gamu Biyu body chart poster – use the language pen to hear and practise saying the words.

Download the Warrgamay body chart wordlist (PDF 280.0 KB)

Note: the following list should be seen as a guide only; there may be several variations in spelling and pronunciation. Check with local language speakers/custodians as to the preferred local pronunciation.

Aboriginal sounds

In pronouncing Aboriginal words, there are some sounds which are quite different to English and require practice.

'dh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'dj' is similar to English - it can be between ‘j’ and ‘ch’.

'ng' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different to the 'n' sound in English - it is closest to the 'ng' sound found in singer.

'nh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'ny' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different - it is closest to the 'n' sound found in onion.

'rr' is a rolled 'r' sound similar to a Scottish 'r'; at the end of a word it may sound like ‘d’.

English Warrgamay
Arm Garrgal
Belly Yulgu
Belly button Djuulndjuruɲ
Blood Gurrmal
Body Gambara
Bone Djulgil
Bottom Djulu
Chest Djindi
Chin Ngangul
Ears Bina
Elbow Mugay
Eyebrow Buyin
Eyes Gayga
Face Ngaɲi
Feet/Foot Bigaɲ
Forehead Rimbi
Hair Murray
Hand Mala
Head Mugal
Heart Rulgu
Hip Bilu
Kidney Djagarri
Knee Bunggu
Leg Djarrawaga
Lip Mulin
Liver Giba
Mouth Ngayilnggarra
Neck Wudu
Nostril Binda
Shoulders Yunggu
Skin Yirra
Teeth Djarra
Thigh Gumbi
Thumb Ɲigiɲ
Toes Djalaɲ

Learn more about Warrgamay!

ABC Open has several digital stories featuring Warrgamay language: https://open.abc.net.au/posts/tags/warrgamay

For items in the State Library collections relating to Warrgamay, click here.

Further information

To discover more about the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages on the Body Chart, contact your local Library or Indigenous Knowledge Centre (IKC).

Community organisations

There are several local Aboriginal Community Organisations working with Warrgamay language and cultural heritage, including the following:

  • Girringun Aboriginal Corporation:  235 Victoria Street, Cardwell. Q. 4849. t: (07) 4066 8300  e: admin@girringu.com.au w: http://girringun.com.au/
  • North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre (Cairns) supports language revival in the region; for more information visit their website: www.nqraclc.com.au

State Library of Queensland

kuril dhagun
Stanley Place, South Brisbane Qld. 4101.
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane Qld. 4101
t:  (07) 3842 9836            f:   (07) 3842 9893

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