Gudang language

Gudang language

Infobox Language
region=Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia

Gudang or Djagaraga is an Australian Aboriginal language. It is the traditional language of the Gudang people, and is the northernmost language of the Cape York Peninsula. It is closely related to Urradhi (dialects Urradhi, Angkamuthi, Yadhaykenu, Wudhadhi, etc.), its neighbour to the south, and distantly related to its neighbour to the north, the Western-Central Torres Strait Language (Kala Lagaw Ya).

Phonology and Comparison with other Languages

The following words in the Vocabulary were drawn from MacGillivray 1850. The spelling has been silently regularised, except in those cases where MacGillivray's written forms were too uncertain. In such cases, the form in his spelling is in italics.

The phonology of the language appeared to have been as follows: vowels : i, ii; e, ee; a, aa; u, uu

i,ii and u,uu had mid variants, thus [e(:)] and [o(:)] . Some Western-Central Torres Strait Language (WCL; see Kala Lagaw Ya) loans probably retained the WCL vowels unchanged. e/ee otherwise appear to have had a similar marginal status as in Urradhi (Crowley 1983:317).

consonants :

labial p, b, m

velar k, g, ng

labio-velar kw, w

lamino-dental th, dh, nh

lamino-palatal ch, j, ny, y

alveolar t, d, n, l, rr

reflexive rt, r

The non-sonorant sounds appear to have had voice contrasts, except after nasals, when both voiced and voiceless allophones occurred, with the voiced allophones seemingly more common. While the lamino-dental and alveolar contrast was not marked by the European recorders, the Urradhi and WCL cognates strongly suggest that it existed.


The main differences in phonology between Gudang and the Urradhi dialects appears to be:

(1) Voiced stops existed where Urradhi has voiced fricatives (β ("v"), đ ("dh") and γ ("g")) (in part because of WCL loans). Note that in ipadha "father", Gudang p corresponds to Urradhi v (ivadha), both representing Proto-Paman *piipa.

(2) Gudang had reflexive rt from Proto Paman *r and *rr

:Proto-Paman *warapa "water, stream", Urradhi atava, Gudang artaba

:Proto-Paman *mara "hand", Urradhi mata, Gudang arta

:Proto-Paman *yurru "elbow", Urradhi yutu (Angkamuthi yurtu), Gudang yurtu

:Proto-Paman *murunya "shin", Urradhi mutuny (Angkamuthi murtuny), Gudang urtunya

(3) A slightly higher rate of initial dropping (including initial syllables) was evident in Gudang.

(4) Gudang retained final CV syllables where Urradhi has reduced these to C.

(5) Gudang had word final -rra where Urradhi has -l, and stronger retention of rr and l in the clusters rrk and lk (e.g. see ukarra and ralkagamarra).

(6) Gudang had virtually no trace of the utterance final suppletion very evident in Urradhi (e.g. mata -> matang, matak), the one exception being anhadhing. However, initial and final vowel elision appeared to have been the norm.

(7) There was a strong tendency in Gudang for u to become i before following palatals (and perhaps elsewhere) (e.g. inyaanha, ikuurra).

The statistics of the comparisons are listed below. Note that the figures noted under the Urradhi dialects are those of each dialect in comparison with Gudang, while those under Gudang are the figures in comparison with the three dialects collectively. Where a dialect has more than one form which could be compared to an individual Gudang form, these are counted as one.

In the following, cognates will be bold, possible cognates italic, and loans/possible from WCL marked by *. Where word meanings differ, the Urradhi meaning will be entered in the meaning column, and the Gudang meaning entered under the Gudang form.


Gudang shares about 13% of its words with Kala Lagaw Ya due to loaning between the languages.

In the following, cognates will be bold, possible cognates italic, and loans/possible from WCL marked by *. Where word meanings differ, the Urradhi meaning will be entered in the meaning column, and the Gudang meaning entered under the Gudang form.

A very intriguing aspect of most of the verb forms noted by MacGillivray is that they are either reduplicated forms (such as amamangi, which corresponds to Urradhi amama), or are marked by -kamarra/-gamarra, which does not appear to have an Urradhi cognate.

G = Gudang, Y = Yadhaykenu, At = Atampaya, A = Angkamuthi, WCL = Western-Central Torres Strait Language

G abiyangkangarra "touch", Y aypa, At aypa, A aypa "hold, touch", WCL nœidha- "hold, touch"

G achaari, Y achawi, At achawi, A achawi, WCL ----- "mushroom"

G achiinya, Y ---, At ungkeeni, A achin, wuyunpa, WCL kakùr "egg"

(MacGillivray also noted achiina 'testes', which is evidently the same word as achiinya.)

G achunya, Y ukumanhthan, At ukumanhthan, A ukumanhthan, rupungunma, WCL bathainga "tomorrow"

G adhara, Y ayara, At ayara, A ayara, WCL kuki north-west wind/monsoon

G *aga, Y *agha, At atampanh,arru, A yanhi, WCL aga(thurik) "axe"

G agaayi, Y munya, At munya,ulkin, A ---, WCL dhe, mòòs "saliva"

G agur [r] a "stringy bark", Y winhthi, At winhthi, A winhthi, uran "paper-bark", WCL ubu "tea-tree"

G akaanya, Y adhal, At adhal, A adhaa, "well, hole", WCL máy "well", arkath "hole", mœram "dug well/hole, grave"

G akelgarra, Y uyuru, At uyuru, A ---, 'rub, grind', WCL almathama- "grind", kurthuma- "rub"

G aku [u] mi, Y akumi, At akumi, A akumi "dilly bag", WCL yana "bag"

G akuumpa, Y angkutumala, At itadhi, A anyanaghatha "rush", WCL bayil

G alba, Y alva, At alva, A alva, WCL gùb "wind"

G alka, Y arka, At akwa, A arka, WCL kœlak "spear"

G alka, Y ulumu, At ulumu, anyaarra, A ulumu, WCL yabu(gùd) "path"

G ama, Y ama, At ama, A ama, WCL mabaig "man, person"

G amamangi "get up", Y ama, At ama, G ama "wake up, get up, fly", WCL danpalai- "wake up", wœri- "fly"

G (*?)ampa, Y ani, At nani, A ani "ground, soil", WCL bœradhar "ground, soil, land", aap "garden"; cf Y ampimana "clearing"

G ampaanya "throw into", Y ya, At watanga, A ---, WCL thaya- "throw"

G ampu, Y ampu, At ngampu, A ampu, WCL dhang "tooth"

G anpa, Y anpangu, At anpangu, A anpangu, WCL alai "husband"

G anpaamu, Y ampaamu, At ampaamu, A ampaamu, WCL garkaz "male"

G anpunya, Y anpuny, At ---, A ---, WCL biuni "kookaburra"

G anpunya, Y iyamu, At uyamu, A iyamu, WCL kawa "island"

G ant [h] aar [r] a, Y yalan,punhu, At lalan, A yalan, WCL nœi "tongue"

G ant [h] i "sore", Y iyirri, At iyirri, A iyirri 'sore, blister', WCL baadh "sore", upu "blister"

G ant [h] iir [r] a, Y anchin, At wanycha, mutunmanhu, A anchin, WCL waam (KY uthua) "honey"

G antuuba,tuuba, Y antu(va) , At antu(va) , A antu(ba) , WCL KKY/KY ngii, KLY/KulY nii "you SG"

G anhthu, Y anhthu, At atagha, A ?, WCL parma "red ochre"

G ant [h] uunt [h] unya, Y arru, At arru, A arru, WCL mathama-, wœrima-, palngi- "hit,strike"

G antyentyarra, Y watu, At watu, A watu, WCL thapa-, waya- "row, paddle"

G angka, Y angka, At nhangka, A angka, WCK gud "mouth"

G angkarrangkarri "laugh. sharp", Y angkaarri, At angkaarri, A angkaarri, WCL giw "laugh", gizul(ai)- "sharp"

G angka [a] nya , Y antu, At ghantu, A antu, WCL guul, thœthak "canoe"

G angkenka "drink", Y ungye, At ungye, Aungya "drink,eat", WCL puratha-(i)- "eat", wani- "drink"

G angkibaanya, Y upudhingu, At upudhingu, A ?, WCL kuruwai "rainbow"

G angkuur [r] a, Y mupa, alguumala, udhayki, At mupa, akimpata, A mupa, WCL kaazi "child"

G anha, Y anha, At anha, A anha, WCL ngœna "breath"

G anhadhing, Y anhaayma, At anhiima, A anhaayma "alive"

G anycighalkamarra "dance", Y anychirri, At anychirri, A anychirri "corroboree song", WCL girel, sagul "dance", na "song"

G apaanycha, Y adhal, At adhal, A adhaa, WCL arkath "hole"


*cite book |last=Dixon |first=R. M. W. |authorlink=R. M. W. Dixon |year=2002 |title=Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development |location=Cambridge |publisher=Cambridge University Press |url=

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