Languages (26)

david group 2VACL Community Language Partnership Programs

There are many elements to starting a Language Program. We have written a guide for planning a successful program called Peetyawan Weeyn. We can visit your community to assist in the implementation and training of this guide.

We also have limited funds available to partner with communities to undertake a language project. Below are the guidelines and application form for working with us on a language project.

The current round of Community Language Partnership Program are open from 1st July 2016 to 30th June 2017

docxCommunity Language Partnership Program Guidelines

docxCommunity Language Partnership Application Form

Earliest reference to language name: 1840 (Robinson Journal)

Meaning: unknown

Sub-dialects: Minjambuta


Clark (1993) lists nine variants of the name Waywurru. Blake and Reid (1999) have presented the most detailed analysis of the language materials relevant to this area. The resolution of this report is to consider Waywurru a language name (see Bowe 2002: 143), Minjambuta to be a probable dialect name, and Pallanganmiddang to be a clan name and possibly an alternative language name.



‘Minubuddong’ is only found in the 1844 vocabulary papers of Robinson (Clark 2000g: 187) and the label ‘Minjambuta’ is only found in the writing of RH

Mathews (1909). Lexicostatistical analysis by Blake and Reid (1999) of the vocabulary ascribed to this language has shown that when it is compared to

neighbouring languages the scores are very low. For example, with the Yortayorta it is 12 per cent, and 15 per cent with the Dhudhuroa. Clearly,

then, this vocabulary is not a dialect of Dhudhuroa or Yortayorta.



Primary references range from 1840 to 1904 (Robinson passim; Smyth 1878; Curr 1886; Howitt 1904). Variant names take two forms: one that uses the

Kulin suffix –yallum/-illum, and the other the non-Kulin equivalent –mittung/- middang. This does not imply the existence of two groups rather that from a

Kulin point of view these people are Pallangoyallum, whereas from their own point of view they are Pallanganmiddang. The other fact that confirms that

these variants refer to the same group is the reason that they refer to the same named individuals and are all associated with the same location:

Bontherambo Plains, Wangaratta. The unity of this group is supported by Barwick (1984), Clark (1993), Blake and Reid (1999: 16), and Bowe (2002:

136). Howitt (1904: 71) identified this group as part of the Kulin confederacy. Barwick (1984, Mss) and Clark (1993, 1996a, b) have reconstructed

Pallanganmiddang as a local group (clan) within the Waywurru language area. Yet, Dixon (1980; 2002), and Blake and Reid (1999) have determined

Pallanganmiddang to be a language name, despite the weight of the primary references that indicates that Pallanganmiddang is a clan name.


Blake’s and Reid’s (1999) analysis of the linguistic records is that they are meagre: 341 words are sourced from Robinson; 46 in Smyth (1878) 109 in

Curr (1886-7); and 63 in Murdock (1900). Their lexicostatistic examination of these sources has revealed that these words share only 25 per cent 

comparison with the Yortayorta, 21 per cent with Dhudhuroa, and 16 per cent with Wiradjuri, thus their conclusion that ‘it seems likely therefore that

Pallanganmiddang represents a language quite distinct from those of its neighbours (Blake & Reid 1999: 17). This conclusion reached by modern

linguistic analysis is supported by Curr (1965: 246-7) who recalled that ‘the Bangerang-speaking septs’ were ‘surrounded by a number of tribes which

looked on them as foreigners, and hated them in common; spoke a different language from theirs’. It is also supported by Robinson’s 1844 reference that

these peoples’ language was different to Wiradjuri. These 341 words belong to a language completely different to the languages surrounding it.



This name is found in three distinct sources: the journal of Chief Protector Robinson (1840, 1841, 1842, 1844); evidence tendered by local squatter

Benjamin Barber (1841); and in the correspondence and returns from Local Guardian David Reid at Barnawatha (Victoria 1860, 1861). The linguistic

analysis of the vocabularies recorded at Wangaratta and Yackandandah has shown that they are not comparable to Yortayorta (see Blake and Reid 1999).


VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.


Earliest reference to language name: 1859 (Beveridge in Victoria 1859)

Meaning: presumably derived from distinctive word for ‘no’

Sub-dialects: none identified


This group is first recorded in the work of Beveridge (1865, 1884, in Victoria 1859), Smyth (1878 – derived from Beveridge), Mathew (papers), and Howitt (1904; papers). Beveridge recorded ‘Waiky Waiky’, and Mathews recorded Werka Werka tjali; Warka tjali; and Weika tjali. Locative references include ‘about Piangil’ (Howitt 1904), ‘Piangil to Euston’ (Howitt Papers), and ‘about 30 ml below Swan Hill at Noorung’ (Mathew Papers). Clark (1990, 1996), considered this name to be a variant of Wergaia, reduplicated, because there was no information concerning clan organization or linguistic information available at that time to support a separate identity. Recent work by Blake and Reid (1998) suggests the Piangil dialect was slightly different from Wadiwadi, and this may support the integrity of Wekiweki as a language1 group. This is also confirmed by notes in John Mathew’s papers (Ms 950 (f) (1)), ‘Waki Waki lang that spoken by Isaac McDuff about 30 ml below Swan Hill at Noorung’, a reference to Narung, which is consistent with Smyth’s reconstruction from information supplied by Beveridge.


VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.

Earliest reference to dialect name: 1840 (Robinson Journal)

Meaning: descriptive name referring to appearance (see below)

Sub-dialects: none identified


Primary references span from 1840 to 1904 (Robinson passim, Thomas Papers; Smyth 1878; Howitt 1904). Howitt considered they formed the eastern most dialect of the Kulin speaking tribes. Their Kulin connection is confirmed by their visit to Melbourne in the early 1840s to participate in a gaggip (friendship ceremony) at the confluence of the Merri Creek and Yarra River. Mogullumbidj is not a language name, a sub-dialect name, or a clan name, rather it is a descriptive name, a term describing something distinctive about these peoples – in this case their appearance, the pigmentation of their skin (see Clark 2000b: 138, 318; 2000g: 94; Smyth 1878 vol.2: 157). The other name recorded for these people is Goo-goo-tum-bar, which may be a Yortayorta name for these people. Wesson (2000) is right to delineate this portion as ‘unnamed Kulin dialect’, however, in the absence of a language name, ‘Mogullumbidj’ should be retained, but as a descriptive reference.


VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.

According to Clark (1990:404), Dixon (working Papers) has suggested that Wadiwadi D4 was divided into two dialects, 'Piangil' S33 and 'non-Piangil'. Biangil however is not included in Dixon (2002), and Tindale says that Biangil is a place name.

Alternate names/spellings: Biangil, Dacournditch, Wathiwathi, Wattewatte, Watthiwatthi, Watty-watty, Withaija, Woani, Wohdi Wohdi, Woonyi, Wotti-wotti

VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.


The Jardwadjali (pronounced Yard-wa-jali) people lived in the northern and western Gariwerd ranges, and on the Wimmera Plains to the west. The Jardwadjali language shares 90 percent common vocabulary with Djab wurrung. Sub-dialects include Jagwadjali, Mardidjali, and Nundadjali.

The Jardwadjali people have lived in the area for up to 30,000 to 40,000 years, certainly with evidence of occupation in Gariwerd many thousands of years before the last ice-age. One site in the Victoria Range (Billawin Range) has been dated from 22,000 years ago.

In 1989 there was a proposal by Victorian Minister for Tourism, Steve Crabb to rename many geographical place names associated with aboriginal heritage in the area. There was much opposition to this proposal by European descendants. The Brambuk centre, representing five aboriginal communities, advocated a dual name for the main area: Gariwerd/Grampians. [13]

Some of the changes included:[14] 

  • Grampians to Gariwerd (mountain range)
  • Mount Zero to Mura Mura (little hill)
  • Hall's Gap to Budja Budja

The Brambuk National Park and Cultural Centre in Halls Gap is owned and managed by Jardwadjali and Djab Wurrung people from five Aboriginal communities with historic links to the Gariwerd-Grampians ranges and the surrounding plains.


For more information, visit


VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.

The Ngarigo is the Aboriginal people group whose traditional lands lie south-east of the Canberra area.

According to Norman Tindale in his 1974 catalogue of Australian Aboriginal people groups, the specific areas lands of the Ngarigo are:

the Monaro tableland north to Queanbeyan; Bombala River from near Delegate to Nimmitabel; west to divide of the Australian Alps. The Wiradjuri considered the Ngarigo and Walgalu as one people using the name Guramal which has the basic meaning of ['gurai] or 'hostile people.' Canberra, the capital city of the federal capital territory is very close to the boundary line between this and the Ngunawal tribe. In winter these tableland people sometimes came down to the surrounding territories for shelter, hence their reputation for aggressiveness.[3]

The Cooma government web site states that "the two main groups on Monaro were the Ngarigo people of the tablelands and the Wogul or Wolgalu group in the high country.”

The Ngarigo people spoke the Ngarigu language and a southern dialect, southern Ngarigu, which were used as far south as Goongerah in Victoria.


VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.

The Bangerang people who live in the Murray Goulburn area are known as the Bangerang people. Their country covers from near Shepparton across to Echuca, up to Deniliquin (N.S.W.)
back across to Finley, down to Katandra and finished back near Shepparton.

The Bangerang Nation consists of the Moirathban, Toolinyagan, Wolithiga, Kailthban, Ngarrimowro, Angootheraban and the Pikkolatpan tribes.

The Bangerang are river people as the Murray, Goulburn, Campaspe, Edwards and Broken Rivers, and Broken Creek flows through their country.

Prior to colonisation, each tribe of the Bangerang looked after and cared for the country within their tribal boundaries, but become one nation when war threatened from other Koorie Nations.

For more information, visit

VACL welcomes all comments and feedback on this page, however if you have a specific language enquiry please click here and complete our Submit a Language Query online application form.

VACL will soon be offering the following courses to communities & Individuals

Cert 3 in Learning an Endangered Aboriginal Language

Cert 4 in Teaching an Endangered Aboriginal Language

These courses will teach you the basics in learning an Aboriginal Language and provide the opportunity to gain qualifications towards teaching an Aboriginal Language in schools or community.

Stay tuned for further updates on when these courses will be available.


LANGUAGE NAME:                                                                   

Various historical pronunciations for the DJAB WURRUNG are:

"Chaap wuurong, Chaa wuurong [presumably a mistranscription], Chaap wurru, Tyapwurru, Chap wurong, Tyapwurong, Chapwurong, Tjapwurrun, Tyapwuron, Djabwurung, Tjap, Chaap-Warrong, Djabwuru, Tjapwurung, Chaap-wurra, Thapwurong, Jab wurrung, Tjap-wurrung, Tijapwurong, [mistranscription], Tjap-wurong, Jab Wurrong, Tjapwuurong, Chap wurrung, Chaapwuurong, Dyabwurung, Tyapawurru, Dyapwurong, Djab wurung." (Clark, 1990, p.106)



Earliest reference to dialect name: Dawson 1881



 "According to Dawson 'chaap wurrong' means 'soft' or 'broad lip'. Elsewhere he lists 'Ta'ap' at the 'Chaap wuurong word for soft". (Clarke, 1990, p.106)



"Djab wurrung language is spoken in western Victoria and is centred between and around the townships of Stawell, Ararat and parts of Gariwerd (Grampians)."(Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, 2011), authorised by Tim Chatfield, Djab wurrung Traditional Owner, 2012.




Lake Bolac

Lake Boloke


Salt Creek

Mt. Langi Ghiran


Halls Gap




Mt. Rouse

Great Western




Glenn Thompson


Sourced from (Clarke, 1990, p 108)




Language Origin

Meaning an Language Source

Mt Abrupt


‘blunt, useless (his) arm (Djabwurrung)



uncertain (Djabwurrung)

Lake Bolac


swamp, lake (Djabwurrung)

Mt Cole


wild mount (Djabwurrung)

Great Western


uncertain (Djabwurrung)

Halls gap

Budgem Budgem

uncertain (Djabwurrung)

My Langi Ghiran


home of the black cockatoo (Djabwurrung)

Mt Napier


uncertain (Djabwurrung)

Mt Rouse


lava; lava stone used to rub ochre (Djabwurrung, Maar)

Mt Rouse (crater)


oval shape (Djabwurrung)

Mt Rouse (sink hole)

Yarrt mirng

white eye (Djabwurrung)

Mt Rouse (spring)


round (Djabwurrung)



Iron bark (Djabwurrung)

 Sourced from (Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages Placenames Database, 2002)



According to Clarke's 2005 'Aboriginal Language Areas in Victoria- a reconstruction', there are three dialects of Djab Wurrung:

‘Djabwurrung, Pirtpirttwurrung, and Knenknenwurrung’

“On the basis that Dawson identified Djabwurrung as one of four primary languages spoken in Western Victoria, we can regard the Djabwurrung dialect name as the probable language name. The Djabwurrung language shared 80 percent common vocabulary with Djadjawurrung, 70 percent with Wergaia and Wembawemba, 48 percent with Dhauwurdwurrung and 42 percent with Buandig.” (Clark, 2005)



(Simplified pronunciation chart, based on 1996 unpublished work by Margaret Sholl)


as in 'cart'


as in 'feet'


as in 'look'


as in 'bod' or 'pod'


as in 'dab' or 'tab'


as in 'god' or 'cod'


"retroflex sound" of 'd' or 'n', pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled backwards.


"retroflex sound" of 'r', pronounced with the tip of the tongue curled backwards.


'r' sound, but pronounced with 'a thrill', like in Scotts or Americans do.


as in 'sing'


as in 'onion' or 'canyon'


as in 'November'


as in 'milk'


as in 'look'


as in 'you'


as in 'water'

(Note: With b/p, d/t, or g/k sounds (consonants); some people would sound as if they are pronouncing 'one or the other' of the listed pair. That is a natural differentiation in everyday speech, and is acceptable.)












younger brother


elder brother



kupa nyam




















mirng pa kia



(Sourced from Blake, 2011)



Tim Chatfield           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


 Language query protocols

If you would like to use Indigenous words to name a public place, facility or program it is protocol to use words from the Indigenous language of the land where the place to be named stands, or where the program is run. It is then appropriate to seek permission from the Traditional Owners of that language area to use their words in the name.

If you are in contact with, or know of Traditional Owners from the Country where you are naming, it is best to approach them first. If further assistance is required, or if you do not know any Traditional Owners for that area then you can contact V.A.C.L. on 9600 3811 or by submitting a language query.  To submit a language query, follow the link below.


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