Wordlists from Commonwealth Games venues

Screenshot of Wordlists.

State Library of Queensland has been compiling a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language wordlists from historical items in the collections and making these available to communities and language workers via the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages webpages. 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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander numbers.

Suggested pronunciation is also included with the wordlists; however this should be seen as a guide – check with local language speakers/custodians as to the preferred local pronunciation. The main aim of these wordlists is to support communities in their work to revive, document and preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Additionally, there is a secondary purpose to raise awareness and understanding of the diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. These aims are aligned with both the State Library’s Indigenous Languages Strategy as well as the Australian Government’s priorities under the Indigenous Languages Support initiative.

Yidiny everyday words.

The wordlists are generally organised by languages but also include some topics of interest to communities, schools and kindergartens, etc. – these topics include numbers, animals, parts of the body and greetings.

Gunggay everyday words.

The latest selection of words are from the regions which will be hosting Commonwealth Games events in 2018. While the Gold Coast will be Host City, the games events will be held across 4 cities – shooting  will be held at Belmont (Brisbane) and cycling at Chandler (Brisbane) while Basketball will be held in Townsville and Cairns. The languages represented across the four sites include Yugambeh [Gold Coast]; Yugara [Brisbane]; Wulguru [Townsville]; Djabugay, Gunggay and Yidiny [Cairns region].

Wulguru everyday words.

Everyday words have been collected from these main languages and give an insight into the local languages of the respective regions. Many of these words are still in everyday use across communities. In the lead up to the Commonwealth Games, State Library encourages everyone to learn more about the Aboriginal culture and language of these regions.


Desmond Crump

Indigenous Languages Coordinator.

SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages webpages.


Further Reading

Allan, J. and Lane, J. (2001) The language of the Wangerriburra and neighbouring groups in the Yugambeh region. P 499.15 all

Brayshaw, H. (1990) Well beaten paths: Aborigines of the Herbert Burdekin district, north Queensland: an ethnographic and archaeological study. G 306.0899915 1990

Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. RBF 572.994 cur

Dixon, R. M. W. (1977) A grammar of YidinG 499.155 1977

Dixon, R. M. W. (1991) Words of our country: stories, place names and vocabulary in Yidiny, the Aboriginal language of the Cairns-Yarrabah regionG 499.15 1991

Gribble, Rev. E. R. B.  (1900) “Linguistics of the Koo-gun-ji Tribe: Chief Camp at Cape Grafton, Queensland,” in Science of Man, September 22, 1900. S 301 005

Howitt, A.W. (reprint) (1996) The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. J 306.089 how [Online access through SLQ]

Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland. J 499.15 HOL

Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers Undated. OM64-17

Morrill, J. (2006) 17 years wandering among the Aboriginals. J 305.89915 MUR

Quinn, M. (1992) Djabugay: A Djabugay-English DictionaryP499.15 qui

Quinn, M., Averis, M. and Johnson, K. (1992) Djabugay: an illustrated English-Djabugay dictionary. P499.15 dja

Roth, W. (1975) Reports to the Commissioner of Police and others, on Queensland Aboriginal peoples 1898-1903. (Microfilm) Material drawn from Queensland ethnography: bulletin, nos. 11-18 / by Walter E. Roth. FILM 0714

Sharpe, M. (1998) Dictionary of Yugambeh, including neighbouring dialects, compiled by Margaret Sharpe from various sources: Pacific Linguistics C-139. G 499.15 1998

Sharpe, M. (2005) Grammar and texts of the Yugambeh-Bundjalung dialect chain in Eastern Australia. Q 499.15 sha

Terrill, A. (1995) Biri. J 499.15 TER


Commonwealth Games

For more information on cultural events and other activities leading up to GC2018, visit the Embracing 2018 website