Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander numbers

This Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language wordlist highlights numbers recorded from over 70 Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages or dialects.

Queries regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander numbers are a common request at State Library of Queensland (SLQ). These queries are from a number of sources, but especially schools and kindergartens wanting to add Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages into their curriculum programs. With the advent of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics and the inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives, teachers are seeking advice on counting systems and use of ‘mathematical concepts in Australian Indigenous societies’.

This content description applies to Foundation through to Year 7 in the Australian Curriculum and encourages students to research and explore traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledge around number, space, measurement and time. Number and counting systems are often seen as a good starting point as it can lead to counting rhymes, number games and other learning activities in the early years.

It is envisaged that this compilation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words for numbers can be used in schools and communities as a tool to raise awareness and learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Download Indigenous numbers (PDF 316.1 KB)

Wordlists

The following list identifies words from historical sources for a selection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects across Queensland.

Note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are oral languages that have been written only since European settlement; 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 local preference.

Language and location 1 (One) 2 (Two) 3 (Three) 4 (Four) 5 (Five/hand) Many
Angkamuthi (Cape York) Ipima Udhima Wuchama - - Makyan
Badjirri (Tinnenburra) Garritja Bulanha Bulaha-garritja Bulanha-bulanha Marra  
Baradha (Nebo) Warba Bularu Bularu-Warba Bularu-bularu Maal Dalmarri
Barrungam (Dalby) Wengge or Pia Colooboola Coloomboola-pia Kangooai Maa Toogool-gurra
Bayali (Keppel Bay) Webben Booli Koorel - Moolloon -
Bidjara (Charleville) Wangarra Bularu Bularu Wangarra Bularu-bularu Mara Banya Banya
Bigambul (South-West Queensland Bardja Boolul Boolul-bardja Goonimbilla Marr Mayburra
Biri (Bowen River) Warba Bularu Gudbaru Bularu Bularu Bularu Gudbaru Dalgay
Biri (Burdekin River) Warba Bularu Gulbara Bularu Bularu Bularu Gulbara Moorgi
Biyay (Herbert River) Yunegal Yugga Karrbo Yugga-Yugga Mundi Kundil
Biyay (Hinchinbrook Island) Yoongool Yekka Kurrboo Tukkin Munndai Duckin
Butchulla (Fraser Island) Garalin Bula Bula-gaalin Bula-bula Bi Banggan
Darumbal (Rockhampton) Werpa Bullari Bullari-werpa Kangoondie Illy Woorrain
Duungidjawu (Kilcoy) Garu Biyaiyu Goromba - - Yoiran
Gamilaraay (South-West Queensland) Maal Bularr Gulibaa Buligaa Maa Burrulaa
Ganggalida (Gulf) Jathara Giyarrngga Burldamurra Wawurlda (few, not many) Marlda Jardi
Gangalu (Dawson River) Warbur Bularu Bularu Warbur Bularu Bularu Gagun Dalgay
Garrwa (Gulf) Yingamali Kujarra Yingamali-Kujarra Murrku (a few, not many - can refer to 3, 4 or 5) Mani Kaja
Gayiri (Emerald) Wungara Boolaru Boolaru-wungara Boolaroo-boolaroo Marra Yangier
Giabal (Toowoomba) Yabul Bula Bula-yabul Bula-bula Maa  
Gidhabal (Warwick) Yabur Bulah Bulah-yabur Bulah-bulah Danggan Gumbi
Goa (Diamantina River) Koorbno Orra Koorborra Nadera Murra Toona
Goreng Goreng (Baffle Creek) Neula Boola Boola-neula Bomboin Birroo Yingathu
Goreng Goreng (Bundaberg) Neular Boolar Neularboolar Boolar-boolar Boolar Boolar Neular Yingarloo
Gudang (Tip of Cape York) Pirman Ilabiu Dhama - Ata Buta
Gudjal (Charters Towers) Nyunkal Bulari Gudbara Marrgabala Mara Guybaguyba
Gungadidji (Diamantina River) Matina Barcoola Barcoola matina Barcoola barcoola Murra Mirty
Gunggari (Mitchell) Wongarra Bularu Bularu-wongarra Bularu-bularu Marda Yangarra-yangarra
Gunya (Warrego River) Wanggara Bulardi Bulardi-wanggara Bulardi-Bulardi Marda Mulla-mulla
Guwamu (Cunnamulla-Bollon) Wanggara Balardii Balardii-wanggara Balardii-Balardii Marda Mulla-mulla
Guyambul (Stanthorpe) Tonway Boobia Boobiatha Boobia-boobia Yambia Wolligooki
Jandai (North Stradbroke Island) Kunara Boodla Boodla kunara Boodla Boodla Murra Munyal
Jarowair (Toowoomba) Wombarah Bular Bular-wombarah Bular-bular Maa Murung
Kabi Kabi (Sunshine Coast) Kalim Bula Bula-kalim Bula-bula Pirri Bungan
Kala Lagaw Ya (Western Torres Strait) Urapon Ukusar Ukasar-urapon - - Gorsar
Kalali (Thargomindah) Tharranya Barcoola Barcoola gowarra Barcoola-barcoola Mara Warno
Kalkadoon (Mount Isa) Ayat Lyuati Kurrpai   Makathi Maltha
Koa (Winton) Kurunyu Wurra Kurrpara Wurrapanta Marapithuru Thunga
Kukatj (Gulf) Wongarri Kurbayia Matta Murgoo Malla  
Kuku Yalanji (Weary Bay) Nobin Mummera Kollur   Murra Kokara
Kuku Yalanji (Wujal Wujal) Nyubin Jambul Kulur Jambul-Jambul Murra Wubul
Kungkari (Barcoo River) Wongara Muta Our Adava Murra Mooral
Kungulburra (Port Mackay) Warpur Boolera Boolera-warpur Boolera-boolera Mulla Lumburra
Kuuk Thaayorre (Pormpuraaw) Thono Kuthirr Pinalam Mong your kolele Yuur Mong
Lardil ((Mornington Island) Warnge Kiyan Mungkalan Kiyan Bana Kiyan Marlda Jika
Manaldjahli (Beaudesert) Yabar Bula Bulayabar Bulabula  Dunngunn Wallul
Mandandanji (Roma) Wongara Bullardoo Bullardoo-wongara bullardoo-bullardoo MardaBunyarie
Mayi-Thakurti (Cloncurry) Ingomar Blagura Muda Nuda Cudgello Mullero Cudgello
Meriam (Eastern Torres Strait Islands) Netat Neis Neis-netat - - Gaire
Mingin (Gulf) Tualna Digana Tangilla Ticantallio duallio Nungurra Yonkoona
Miyan (Belyando River) Whychen Bullaroo Bullaroo-whychen Bullaroo-bullaroo Malla Talgai
Nyawaygi (Halifax Bay, North Queensland) Yunggul Yaga Gaabu Gaabugaabu (few can refer to four or five) Gaabugaabu (few can refer to four or five) Balar
Pitta Pitta (Boulia-Bedourie) Ngururu Parrhkula Parrhkulanguru Parrhkulaparrkhula Mara Punhi
Thaynakwith (Weipa) Pim Udhwith - - 'a Urri
Torres Strait Creole (Torres Strait Islands, Mainland) Wan Tu Tri Po Paib Plenti
Turubul (Brisbane area) Ganar Burla Burla Ganar Burla Burla Marra Korumba
Uradhi (Cape York) Ngipima Udhyama Wuchama - - Makyan
Wakka Wakka (South Burnett) Kumbe Booa Kuram Bogo Na Bogo
Waluwarra (Georgina River) Ooroo Barkoola Barkooleroo Barkoola-Barkoola Marrkana Murrtoo
Wangkumarra (Nockatunga) Watjuwarli Parrkulu Parrkuwatju Parrkuluparrkulu Mara Warndru
Wik Mungkan (Western Cape York) Thonan Kucham  Ko'alam  Kuchamkucham  Ma'  Yot 
Wirri (Mackay)  Wadyin  Bularu  Bularu-wadyin  Bularu-bularu  Mara  Dalgay 
Yambina (Peak Downs)  Warba  Bularu  Gargun  Gungu  Mala  Mulea 
Yandruwandha (Innamincka, Cameron Corner) Kurnu  Parrku  Parku-kurnu  Parrku-Parrku  Mara  Nunka 
Yanyula (Borroloola)  Aalkula  Kanmada Liikanmarra-alkula  Leekanmaraalkula  Liijakara  Liikanmaraalkula 
Yetimarala (Broadsound, Central Queensland)  Warba  Bularu  Bulara-Warba  Bularu-Bularu  Mara  Mandya (also used for five or few) 
Yidinj (Cairns)  Guman  Jamula  Dagul  Yunggan-gunyjii  Mala  Ngabi 
Yilba (Cape River, Pentland)  Wadyin  Bularu  Bularu-wadyin  Bularu-bularu  Mala  Murga 
Yir-Yiront (Kowanyama)  Yirr  Koyrr  Wapayrr  Morr-maq  Yorthelemrr  Yamar 
Yugambeh (Logan River)  Yabru  Bula Bulayabru  Bulabula  Dunngunn  Wallul 
Yugarabul (Ipswich-West Moreton)  Kunnar  Budela  Mudden  Budela-budela  Mudden-budela  Millen
Yugara (Brisbane area)  Kunnar   Budela  Mudden  Budela-budela   Mudden-budela   Millen 
Yulluna (Dajarra) Ngururu  Palaru  Kulpai  Katjimba  Mampunu  Yikarra 
Yuwaalaraay (South-West Queensland)  Milan  Bulaarr  Gulibaa  Buligaa  Maa  Burrulaa

More information

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at SLQ, please contact:
Queensland Memory, State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place, South Brisbane Qld, 4101.
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane Qld, 4101.
Telephone: (07) 3840 7666 Fax: (07) 3842 9126

SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Webpages: www.slq.qld.gov.au/resources/atsi/languages

SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Blog: http://blogs.slq.qld.gov.au/ilq/

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