Say G'day in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Language
The State Library of Queensland in partnership with Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre, Indigenous Language Centres and other community groups would like to invite you to:
“Say G’day in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Language!”
During NAIDOC Week (3-10 July 2016), we encouraged Queenslanders to say ‘g’day’ in their local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language; and with the 2017 NAIDOC Theme being ‘Our Languages Matter’ it is a timely reminder of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. .
In Queensland there are over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects; today only about 30 are spoken on a daily basis!
To help raise awareness and promote Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, we are asking schools, organisations, communities, individuals, etc. to find out their local word for ‘G’day’ or ‘Hello’ and use it during this week.
- Talk to your local community to find out the word and how to say it!
- Use your library, IKC, language centre to research other local words!
- Share this new greeting with friends, families and others during the week!
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Wordlists for ‘g’day’, ‘hello’ and other greetings are posted on the State Library and Yugambeh Museum websites:
The State Library of Queensland acknowledges that the language heritage and knowledge of these wordlists always remains with the Traditional Owners, language custodians and community members of the respective language nations. The collation of these words is to support communities in their work to revive, document and preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages as well as raise awareness in the broader community.
Here is a list of some greeting words or phrases from a range of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects and their suggested pronunciation. Where possible, documented greetings have been listed; however, it should be acknowledged that greetings are a fairly contemporary notion that may not have been present in many Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander settings. Alternatively a generic phrase such as ‘Good day [= g’day]’ ‘Are you good?’ ‘How are you?’ or ‘Which way?’ is listed.
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.
'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'.
Torres Strait Islander sounds
In pronouncing Torres Strait Islander 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 and can sound like ‘th’.
'dz' is used in the Torres Straits - it can sound similar to ‘dj’.
'ng' is one sound in and is different to the 'n' sound in English - it is closest to the ng' sound found in singer.
'oi' is different to English - it is a prolonged sound that can be between ‘oi’ and ‘ai’.
‘p’, ‘s’ and ‘z’ are used in Torres Strait Islander words and sound similar to English.
Note:Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are oral languages that have only been written down 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/custodians as to the preferred local pronunciation.
|Language and Location||Greeting word||Pronunciation|
|Agwamin [Einasleigh, Mt Surprise]||Pumbarra oomba = good day||Poom-bah-ra oom-bah|
|Angkamuthi [Northern Peninsula Area, Cape York]||Iyurrah = I am here (hello)||Eye-you-rah|
|Areba [Western Cape York, Staaten River]||Lungga niani = good day||Loong-ga nee-ah-nee|
|Ayabadhu [Northern Peninsula Area, Cape York]||Tonki ninya ngai y’angkunjya = you come, I’m here
Wanthi punga = good day
|Tun-kee nin-yah nay ya-un-kun-jia|
|Barna [Nebo, North Queensland]||Boongonna moogonoo = good day||Boon-on-nah moo-go-noo|
|Barrungam [Dalby, Bunya Mountains]||Gamba daru = good day||Gum-bah dah-roo|
|Bidjara[Charleville Region, South-West Queensland]||Budabai duru = good day||Bood-ah-bye doo-roo|
|Bigambul [South-West Queensland]||Weeimba gilee = good day (g'day)||Wee-im-bar Gear-lee|
|Biri [Central Queensland]||Budjeri gari = good day||Budge-ah-ree gah-ree|
|Biri [Central Queensland]||Yandanji = hello||Yan-dan-gee|
|Biri-guba [Townsville region]||Waddamooli = hello||Wod-ah-moo-lee||Biyay [Hinchinbrook Island, Far North Queensland]||Mullee weeyee = good day||Mull-lee wee-yee|
|Buluguyban [Palm Island]||Waddamooli = hello||Wad-a-moo-lee|
|Butchulla [Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast]||Galangoor D'Buthbee = Good Morning||Gull-a-ngoor dee-buth-bee|
|Darumbal [Rockhampton]||Gudamulli = hello||Good-a-ma-lee|
|Djabugay [Kuranda Range]||Djirri nyurra = hello||Ji-rii new-ra|
|Duungidjawu [Upper Brisbane Valley]||Galang meng = good day|
Galang dulara = good morning
|Djirbal [Tully]||Nginda nyangum = how are you?||Ngin-da nya-ngum|
|Duungidjawi [Upper Brisbane Valley]||Galang meng = good day||Gull-un menn|
|Duungidjawi [Upper Brisbane Valley]||Galang dulara = good morning||Gull-un doo-lah-ra|
|Gambuwal [Inglewood, South-West Queensland]||Winba duru = good day (g'day)||Win-bar doo-roo|
|Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi [South-West Queensland]||Gaba yaadha = good day (g'day)||Gar-ba Yah-da|
|Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi [South-West Queensland]||Yaama = hello||Yah-ma|
|Gamilaraay/Kamilaroi [South-West Queensland]||Yaamagara = hello [more respectful way to say hello, especially to Elders and other respected community members]||Yah-ma-ga-ra|
|Ganggalida [Westmoreland Station, Gulf]||Guwa-nyi mirrara = how are you today?||Goo-wah-nee mere-ah-ra|
|Gangulu [Duaringa, Central Queensland]||Binbee karri = good day||Bin-bi car-ree|
|Ganulu [Comet River, Central Queensland]||Binbee kurri= good day||Bin-bi curry|
|Garingbal [Peak Downs, Central Queensland]||Binbee karri-yamba = good day||Bin-bi carry-yum-ba|
|Gayiri [Nogoa River, Central Queensland]||Binbee karri = good day||Bin-bee car-ree|
|Giabal [Toowoomba South to Allora]||Budgeree djanahn = good day||Buj-a-ree ja-nun|
|Gidhabal [Warwick, Darling Downs]||Bugal numgirr = good day (g'day)||Boog-al numb-gear|
|Giya [Proserpine-Bowen, North Queensland]||Bungunna kari = good day||Boon-ung-nah car-ee|
|Goreng Goreng [Bundaberg Region]||Balka wittaberri = good day||Bal-car wit-a-berry|
|Gowar [Moreton Island]||Kooemba boodloonggun = Good day||Koo-em-ba bood-loong-oon|
|Gubbi Gubbi [Sunshine Coast, Gympie]||Ngara = hello||Nah-ra|
|Gubbi Gubbi [Sunshine Coast]||Wunya ngulum = welcome everyone||Won-yah noo-lum|
|Gudang [Tip of Cape York]||Mita dju = good day||Mit-a ju|
|Gudjal [Charters Towers, North Queensland]||Nooda kurra = good day||Noo-da kar-rah|
|Gugu Rarmul [Morehead and Kennedy Rivers, Cape York]||Arlalyira ampyu = good day||Arl-al-yee-ra um-pew|
|Gunggari [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]||Migany duru = good day||Mee-gun doo-roo|
|Gunggari [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]||Yowallah = hello||Yow-a-la|
|Gunggari [Mitchell, South-West Queensland]||Nganha yinda murdi = how are you?||Ngoo-nha yin-da moorr-di|
|Gunya [Western Queensland]||Mudga dhurdi = good day||Mud-ga door-di|
|Guugu Yimithirr [Cooktown, Hope Vale]||Wantharra Nyundu? = how are you?||One-tharr-a (roll r) a Nyoon(short)-doo|
|Guugu Yimithirr [Cooktown, Hope Vale]||Ga-dii Wawu-wi = come inside||Ga-dee wa-oo-wi|
|Gunya [Cunnamulla-Augathella, Western Queensland]||Mudga dhurdi = good day||Mud-gah door-dee|
|Guwa / Koa [Diamantina River, Western Queensland]||Manyo thuru = good day||Mun-yo too-roo|
|Guwamu [Western Queensland]||Murga dhurdiu = good day||Moor-ga door-di|
|Jandai [Stradbroke Island]||Maroomba Biggee = good day||Ma-rroom-ba big-i|
|Jarowair [Toowoomba north to Crow’s Nest]||Gamba daru = good day||Gum-ba da-roo|
Meenee cumballagoo = good day
Guji = cooee [long distance greeting]
|Kala Kawaw Ya [Western Torres Straits]||Ngi midh = how are you?||Ngi mith|
|Kala Lagaw Ya/Kala Kawaw Ya [Western Torres Straits]||Sew ngapa = welcome||Seh-ooh nga-pah|
|Kala Lagaw Ya/Kala Kawaw Ya [Western Torres Straits]||Kapu Goiga = Good day||Car-Poo Gur-gah|
|Kalili [Western Queensland]||Dhali mura = good day||Da-li mah-rah|
|Kalkadoon [Mount Isa, North-West Queensland]||
Kammanuroo kaamp = good day
Nawho = general greeting
|Kukatj [Burketown, Gulf of Carpentaria]||Manja mandja = good day||Mun-yah mun-jar|
|Kuku Yalanji [Mossman, Wujal Wujal]||Ngulkurr warngku = good day||Nool-kore warn-koo|
|Kungkari [Lower Barcoo and Thompson Rivers, Western Queensland]||Parla kothogum = good day||Pah-lah koth-o-gum|
|Kunjen [Mitchell River, Kowanyama, Cape York]||Wana yinang = how are you?|
Mini punga = good day
|Kunkalanya [Far Western Queensland]||Ulyarri walka = good day||Ool-ya-ree wal-ka|
|Kuuk Thayorre [Pormpuraaw, Western Cape York]||Wooy = hello I'm here||Woy|
|Kuuk Thayorre [Pormpuraaw, Western Cape York]||Min yoor = good day||Min Yaw|
|Lamalama [Normanby River, Lower Cape York]||Hayi lun = good day||Hay-ee loon|
|Mandandanji [Roma District, Darling Downs]||Galang genan = good day||Gull-ung gen-un|
|Meriam Mir [Eastern Torres Straits]||Maiem = hello||Ma-i-yem|
|Mayi Thakurti [Cloncurry, North-West Queensland]||Yathi winja = good day||Yah-thee win-ya|
|Mingin [Burketown, Gulf]||Boorooga tirangana = good day||Boo-roo-gah tear-un-ah-na|
|Mithaka [Windorah, Western Queensland]||Patji kayiri = good day||Par-gee kay-eerie|
|Ngadjon [Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands]||Wammai kare = good day||Wom-eye kar-ee|
|Ngaro [Whitsunday Islands]||Malannandu = general greeting|
Ganniyu = goodbye
|Ngawun [Taldora-Julia Creek, North-West Queensland]||Kultjin mandharra = good day|
Wanyu yira? = how are you?
|Nguri [Maranoa River, South-West Queensland]||Migunguri toonee = good day||Mi-gun-oo-ri too-ni|
|Nyawaygi [Herbert River, North Queensland]||Djawga mayara = good day|
Djawga nyudja = good morning
Minyaba nginda = how are you?
Nginda djawga = are you good?
|Olkola [Alice River, Lower Cape York]||Ugnga olong = good day||Oog-nah oh-lon|
|Pakanh [Western Cape – Upper Holroyd and Edward Rivers]||Mini punga = good day||Mini poon-ah|
|Pirriya [Cooper Creek, Western Queensland]||Burlo moori = good day||Burr-low moo-ree|
|Pitta Pitta [Boulia, Far Western Queensland]||
Mayarli walka = good day
Hoo = general greeting to someone far away
Koua = general greeting to someone close
|Ringu Ringu [Hamilton River, Boulia District, Far Western Queensland]||Hoo = general greeting to someone far away|
Koua = general greeting to someone close
Myalli walka = good day
|Tagalaka [Gilbert River, Gulf Region]||Manyarah yunda = are you good?||Mun-a-ra yun-dah|
|Turrbal [Brisbane Northern Suburbs, Caboolture]||Galang nguruindhau = good day (g'day)||Ga-lung ngoo-rroo-win-dha-woo|
|Waanyi [Lawn Hill, Nicholson River]||Wunjuku narri jila? = Where are you going?||Woonj-oo-koo nah-rree chi-lla|
|Wakabunga [Leichhardt & Cloncurry Rivers]||Kammanurro kaampa = good day|
Yoondo kammanurro = are you good?
|Wakka Wakka [Burnett River]||Yhurri gurri = come this way, welcome friend||You-ree Goo-ree|
|Wakka Wakka [Burnett River]||Galang ngunar = good day||Gull-ung noo-nah|
|Wakka Wakka [Gayndah, North Burnett]||Galangul allara = good day||Gull-ung-ull al-a-ra|
|Wakaman [Mt Mulgrave, Far North Queensland]||Ngulkurr warngku = good day||Ngool-kore warng-koo|
|Walangama [Croydon-Normanton, Western Queensland]||Wingk punga = good day|
Wanai yital = how are you?
|Wangkumarra [Western Queensland]||Tharli mura = good day||Tha-li mah-ra|
|Wanjurru [Babinda]||Goorin boongun = good day||Goo-rin boon-un|
|Wargamay [Herbert River, North Queensland]||Nginba nyunga gaganyu = general greeting ‘Oh, you have come (here)’||Ngin-bah new-nah gah-gun-oo|
|Warungu [Upper Herbert River, North Queensland]||Nooda kurra = general greeting||Noo-dah –car-rah|
|Wik-mungkan [Western Cape York]||
Niiyalang = hello/general greeting to one person
Niipalang = hello/general greeting to two people
|Windawinda [Ducie River, Western Cape York] Also known as Ndorndorin||Ayang = hey you [close]|
Ayey = hey you [mid-distance away]
Ayo:y = hey you [long distance away]
|Wiri [Central Queensland]||Bunyiba garibiri = good day||Bun-yee-bah gar-ee-beer-ee|
|Wirray Wirray [St George, Balonne River]||Murrubar toonnee = good day||Moo-roo-bah toon-nee|
|Wulgurukaba [Townsville Region]||Wadda mooli = hello/greetings||Wodd-ah-mu-lee|
|Wuli Wuli [Burnett River]||Gamba dunba = good day||Gum-ba doon-ba|
|Yalarnnga [Duchess, Burke River, North-West Queensland]||Kuyungu mubatha = good day||Koo-un-oo moon-ath-ah|
|Yandruwandha [Western Queensland]||Patji dritji = good day||Pat-ji drit-ji|
|Yangga [Gilbert River, North Queensland]||Marbil kai = good day||Mah-bill kye|
|Yilba [Cape River, North Queensland]||Thurril adjila = good day||Tha-rill add-jill-ah|
|Yiman [Middle-Upper Dawson River]||Kamba booar = good day||Kum-bah boo-ah|
|Yindiny [Cairns, North Queensland]||Goorin boongun = good day||Goo-rin boon-un|
|Yinangay [Longreach, Central-West Queensland]||Dhuraburra karri = good day||Doo-rah-bah-rah car-ree|
|Yintyingka [Port Stewart-Coen, Cape York]||Wanti kampala = good day||Won-tee kum-par-la|
|Yirandali [Hughenden, North Queensland]||Dharili kumba = good day||Dah-ree-lee koom-bah|
|Yugambeh [Logan, Gold Coast]||Baugull nyungai = good day (g'day)||Boo-gull nung-eye|
|Yugambeh [Logan, Gold Coast]||Jingerri = Hello/greetings||Ging-gah-ree|
|Yugambeh [Logan, Gold Coast]||Jingiwalli wahlu = how are you?||Ging-gee-wally wah-loo|
|Yugarabul [Brisbane Western Suburbs, Ipswich, Boonah]||Gurumba bigi = good day (g'day)||Goo-room-bah big-ee|
Gurumba bigi = good day (g'day)
Wunya = welcome/greetings
|Yuru [Burdekin River, North Queensland]||Gudjilia yijiea = good day||Good-jill-ee-a yee-gee-ee-ah|
|Yuwaalaraay [South-West Queensland]||Gaba yaadha = good day (g'day)||Gar-bah Yah-dah|
|Yuwibara / Yuri [Mackay Region, Central Queensland]||Nunungeri nuningai = greetings everyone|
Binbee kurri = good day
For more information on Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs) and the work they are doing in communities to support language and cultural heritage
For more information on Brisbane and South-East Queensland languages: Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre serves as the Indigenous Language Centre for Southern Queensland.
For more information on Central Queensland languages: Central Queensland Language Centre serves as the Indigenous Language Centre for Central and Central-Western Queensland.
For more information on North Queensland languages: North Queensland Regional Languages Centre serves as the Indigenous Language Centre for North Queensland.
For more information on Torres Strait Islander languages: Torres Strait Regional Authority aims to strengthen the economic, social and cultural development of the Torres Strait; there are plans to establish a Language Centre on Thursday Island.
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
Telephone: (07) 3842 9836
Fax: (07) 3842 9893