Yidiny everyday words

Yidiny is the name of one of the languages spoken in the Cairns region extending to Gordonvale and along the tablelands to Kairi. The language was spoken and understood by Aboriginal groups in the region, including neighbouring groups of Djabugay, Dyirbal and Yalanji.

Yidiny is also written as Yidinji, Yidinj, Idindji, Yettingie, Mulgrave River dialect, etc. AIATSIS have identified Dyirbal as the standardised spelling and assigned it Language Code Y117 which is used by many collecting institutions in their catalogue descriptions.

The following list identifies Yindiny everyday words and their suggested pronunciation. Some of these words may still be used in North Queensland communities.

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.

'dj' is similar sound to English but can alternate between 'j' and 'ch'.

'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 Yidiny everyday words  (PDF 234.2 KB)

Arm Girril Gi-ril
Barramundi Djilibirri Jill-ee-beer-ee
Beach Dabul Dah-bull
Bird (generic) Djaruy Jar-oi
Child Djadja Jar-jar
Crocodile Ganyar Ga-nyah
Death adder Bima Bee-mah
Ear Bina Bin-ah
Eel (freshwater) Djaban Jar-bun
Eye Djili Jill-ee
Father Bimbi Bim-bee
Foot Djina Jin-na
Frog (generic) Manggum Mung-gum
Green frog Girragunydijy Gear-a-gun-gee
Ground Djabu Jah-boo
Hand Mandi Man-di
Head Dungu Dun-goo
Kangaroo (black) Kankula Kan-ku-la
Mountain Bunda Bun-dah
People Bama Bum-ah
Rain Gaban Gar-bun
Sun Bungan Boong-un
Two Djambul Jam-bull
Wind Yiway Yee-way
Yam stick Ganda Gun-dah

Learn more about Yidiny!

Watch a traditional Yidiny/Yidinji Welcome to Country: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JDWO9WhHH68

Further details

For more information on Yidiny: 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

SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Webpages
SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Blog

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