Yuwaalaraay body parts
Yuwaalaraay is the name of the Aboriginal language and Aboriginal people of the Balonne River Region – Yuwaalaraay is connected linguistically to Gamilaraay, the language of the Gamilaroi/Kamilaroi people. Yuwaalaraay is also documented by several other names, including Juwalarai, Ualarai, Yualarai, Yualloroi, Yowaleri, Uollaroi, Youallerie, Yualari, Yualai, Yualeai, Yerraleroi, Yowairi, Yuolary, and Eu-ahlayi. The language area extends across north west NSW on the Barwon River into south west Queensland along the Culgoa and Balonne Rivers. This area takes in the communities of Hebel, Dirranbandi and St George, extending south towards Goodooga, Walgett, Lightning Ridge and Collarenebri.
There is a significant amount of documentation on the Yuwaalaraay language from first contact in the 1840s with several lexicons, wordlists and other vocabularies. Linguistic work by Rev William Ridley and recent linguists such as Austin, Lissarrague, Ash and Giacon means there is an accompanying grammar to provide clues on how the language was constructed and spoken. Fortunately, there have been ongoing language revival activities across the region to bring the language back to life in schools and communities. However, there is a concern that Yuwaalaraay language is not spoken on a daily basis as there are minimal fluent speakers.
This wordlist is drawn from historical and published sources and identifies language words for the parts of the body and their suggested pronunciation.
Note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were oral-based; there may be several variations in spelling and pronunciation. The following list should be seen as a guide – check with local language speakers/custodians as to the preferred local pronunciation.
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’.
Learn more about Yuwaalaraay language!
For items in the State Library collections relating to Yuwaalaraay, click here.
For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at State Library of Queensland, please contact:
kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland
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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