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.

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.
'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.

Download Say G'day in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language [PDF 449 KB]

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 dayLoong-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
Won-tee pung-ah
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 = helloWad-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
Gull-un men
Gull-un doo-lah-rah
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 dayBoon-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 dayArl-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 dayMud-gah door-dee
Guwa / Koa [Diamantina River, Western Queensland]Manyo thuru = good dayMun-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
Kaanju [Coen] Meenee cumballagoo = good day
Guji = cooee [long distance greeting]
Mi-ni cum-ba-la-goo
Goo-jee
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
Kah-man-a-roo camp
Nah-wo
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 dayPah-lah koth-o-gum
Kunjen [Mitchell River, Kowanyama, Cape York]Wana yinang = how are you?
Mini punga = good day
Wah-na yin-un
Mini pa-nah
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 dayHay-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 dayBoo-roo-gah tear-un-ah-na
Mithaka [Windorah, Western Queensland]Patji kayiri = good dayPar-gee kay-eerie
Ngadjon [Lake Eacham, Atherton Tablelands]Wammai kare = good dayWom-eye kar-ee
Ngaro [Whitsunday Islands]Malannandu = general greeting
Ganniyu = goodbye
Mull-un-arn-doo
Gun-ee-oo
Ngawun [Taldora-Julia Creek, North-West Queensland] Kultjin mandharra = good day
Wanyu yira? = how are you?
Kul-jin mun-dah-ra
Won-oo year-ah
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?
Jaw-gah may-ah-ra
Jaw-gah nuh-jar
Miny-ah-ba ngin-dah
Nin-dah jaw-gah
Olkola [Alice River, Lower Cape York]Ugnga olong = good dayOog-nah oh-lon
Pakanh [Western Cape – Upper Holroyd and Edward Rivers]Mini punga = good dayMini poon-ah
Pirriya [Cooper Creek, Western Queensland]Burlo moori = good dayBurr-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
My-al-lee wal-kah
Who
Ko-oo-a
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
Who
Ko-oo-a
My-al-lee wal-kah
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?
Kum-ma-noo-row calm-pa
Yoon-doh kum-ma-noo-row
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?
Wink pa-nga
Won-eye it-al
Wangkumarra [Western Queensland] Tharli mura = good day Tha-li mah-ra
Wanjurru [Babinda]Goorin boongun = good dayGoo-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 greetingNoo-dah –car-rah
Wik-mungkan [Western Cape York] Niiyalang = hello/general greeting to one person
Niipalang = hello/general greeting to two people
Nee-ya-lung
Nee-pah-lung
Windawinda [Ducie River, Western Cape York] Also known as NdorndorinAyang = hey you [close]
Ayey = hey you [mid-distance away]
Ayo:y = hey you [long distance away]
Ay-ung
Ay-eye
Ay-oi
Wiri [Central Queensland] Bunyiba garibiri = good day Bun-yee-bah gar-ee-beer-ee
Wirray Wirray [St George, Balonne River]Murrubar toonnee = good dayMoo-roo-bah toon-nee
Wulgurukaba [Townsville Region]Wadda mooli = hello/greetingsWodd-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 dayKoo-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 dayKum-bah boo-ah
Yindiny [Cairns, North Queensland]Goorin boongun = good dayGoo-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 dayWon-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
Yugara [Brisbane] Gurumba bigi = good day (g'day)
Wunya = welcome/greetings
Goo-room-bah big-ee
Won-yah
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
Noon-un-eh-ree noon-in-eye
Bin-bee car-ree

Further details

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

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