Gumbaynggirr language passes another milestone

GIINAGAY ngujawiny! Hello you mob!

After eight years in the making, the second edition of the Gumbaynggirr Dictionary and Learner's Grammar has been launched, much to the satisfaction of all those involved.

GIVING ANCIENT WORDS NEW MEANINGS: Muurrbay CEO Gary Williams with the new Gumbaynggirr dictionary

GIVING ANCIENT WORDS NEW MEANINGS: Muurrbay CEO Gary Williams with the new Gumbaynggirr dictionary

Researched and written by Steve Morelli with the input of many, this edition builds on the information in its predecessor published in 2008, including new words, extended meanings, an index and information about 'politeness language' and Gumbaynggirr's three dialects.

"It is certainly a creative process because we have to use old words in new ways to describe objects that didn't exist before," Steve said.

"This work builds on the work of many others, including the First Elders who got the language group started in Kempsey in 1989 (and where Steve first got involved with what has become an all-consuming project) and also Uncle Ken Walker who was a founding director of Muurrbay."

Current CEO of Muurrbay, Gary Williams, said the book was also a response to the demand for words from local schools.

"We get requests from schools who want to use Gumbaynggirr words in school signs, for example," Gary said.

"This dictionary has been written with the future in mind, it's there for the next generation of linguists to carry forward."

Gary said the grammatical detail included was solid but attempts had been made to make it as accessible as possible, keeping technicalities to a minimum.

The dictionary contains 3000 words including more than 200 new ones, such as 'marlawgay buuguny', which means 'lightning message' or 'email' (of course!) ...  and is just one example of the nimble way that Gumbaynggirr language is being re-ignited and re-imagined.

Demand for language teachers also continues to grow and another Certificate 3 in Gumbaynggirr Language course would be kicking off in July.

The dictionary can be purchased by filling out an online order form at