Wulguru everyday words

Wulguru is an umbrella term to describe several languages or dialects spoken in the Townsville Region extending from Cleveland Bay to Rollingstone. There are several dialects or related languages across the language Nation including Wulgurugaba, Coonambella, Nhawalgaba, Gabilgara and Mulgu. Wulguru has a dialectic relationship to Nywaigi in the north; there are some shared words with Bindal and the Biri language to the south.

AIATSIS has assigned Wulguru by their Language Code Y135 which is used by many collecting institutions in their catalogue descriptions.

The following list identifies everyday words from the Wulguru language and their suggested pronunciation. Sources for these words include historical materials as well as recent linguistic work undertaken by Donohue, Tsunoda, Terrill and others. Dixon in his work describes the language as Manbara.

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.

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 as 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.

'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'.

Download the Wulguru everyday words  (PDF 247.8 KB)

Bird Yida Yii-da
Boomerang Waangal Wah-ngull
Butterfly Gulambira Gool-um-beer-a
Child Nalga Null-ga
Crocodile Maybiya May-bee-yah
Dilly bag Dalun Dah-lun
Dog Uyu Oo-yoo
Ear Bina Bin-ah
Eye Miil Meel
Father Abu Ah-boo
Fire Buri Boo-ree
Fish Guya Goo-yah
Foot Dhina Din-ah
Frog Nirbany Near-bun
Girl Mankara Mun-kar-ah
Grandmother (Mother's mother) Gamuny Gah-moon
Ground Warhuny War-hoon
Hand Mala Mar-lah
Head Alu Ah-loo
Home Wanga Wong-ah
Kangaroo Buli Bull-ee
Knee Mugu Moo-goo
Leg Waga Wah-gah
Mangrove Aguny Ah-goon
No Ngaw Ngaw
Nose Wurhu Woor-hoo
One Yunggul Yung-gull
Possum Gadhara Gah-dah-rah
Rain Guwa Goo-wah
Rainbow Yamani Yah-mun-ee
Sea Mada Mah-dah
Smoke Bunu Boo-noo
Stone Barri Bah-ree
Tree Gumbayal Goom-bay-al
Two Yaga Yug-ah
Wallaby Bali Bar-lee
Water Gamu Gah-moo
Wind Wira Weir-a
Woman Mabura Mah-boo-rah
Yes Adha Ud-ha

Learn more about Wulguru!

Visit the Wulgurukaba Plant Trail website and learn about traditional land use for the area.

Further details

For more information on Wulguru and neighbouring languages: 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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