Dyirbal everyday words

The Dyirbal language is spoken in North Queensland along the Tully River and Johnston River Catchments. There are several dialects or related languages across the language Nation including Ngadjan, Waribarra Mamu, Dulgubarra Mamu, Jirrbal, Gulngay, Djirru, Girramay and Walmalbarra. Walsh (1981) further distinguishes Dyirribarra Mamu and Gambilbarra Dyirrbal.

Dyirbal is also written as Jirrbal, Djirbalngan, Jirrabul, Dyirbaldyi, Djirbal, etc. AIATSIS have identified Dyirbal as the standardised spelling and assigned it Language Code Y106 which is used by many collecting institutions in their catalogue descriptions.  

The following list identifies everyday words from the Dyirbal language 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 as to the preferred local pronunciation.

Download Dyirbal everyday words  (PDF 322.9 KB)

EnglishDyirbalPronunciation
Bird Dundu Dun-doo
Barramundi Yugurr Yoo-gur
Boomerang Wangal Won-ull
Bush tucker Wudju Wood-joo
Child Daman Dah-mun
Crocodile Gudjagay Good-jah-guy
Dilly bag Djawun Jar-wun
Dog Guda Good-ah
Ear Manga Mun-garh
Eye Dingal Din-ull
Father Nguma Noo-mah
Fire Buni Boo-nee
Fish Guya Goo-yah
Foot Djina Jin-ah
Frog Bangguy Bun-guy
Girl Gadjin Gud-jin
Good Djigil Jig-ill
Grandfather (Father's father) Bulunydja Bull-un-jar
Grandmother (Mother's mother) Gumbu Gum-boo
Ground Djinbay Jin-bay
Hand Mala Mar-lah
Head Djilmuray Jill-mar-eye
House Midja Mid-jar
Kangaroo Yurri Yoo-ree
Knee Banggu Bung-goo
Leg Ngaga Nah-gah
Man Bayabay Bay-ah-bye
No Djilbu Jill-boo
Nose Gugu Goo-goo
One Nyungul Nun-ull
Possum Midin Mid-in
Pretty Gidjar Gee-jah
Rain Gambal Gun-bull
Rainbow Yamani Yah-mun-ee
Sand Gabal Gah-bull
Smoke Garan Gah-run
Stone Diban Dib-un
Tree Dandu Darn-doo
Two Bula Bull-ah
Wallaby Bargan Bar-gun
Water Balan Bah-lun
Wind Gimbil Gim-bill
Woman Djugumbil Joo-um-bill
Yes Nga Nah

Learn more about Dyirbal!

Listen to Uncle Ernie Grant talking about Dyirbal language and culture: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSq-jSJbA6M

Further details

For more information on Dyirbal: North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre serves as the Indigenous Language Centre for North Queensland; visit NQRCALC’s website.

State Library of Queensland

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at the 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.
Telephone: (07) 3842 9836            Fax:   (07) 3842 9893

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