There were about 200 Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia at the time of European contact.
These languages have extensive vocabularies and complex grammars.
In the time before non-Aboriginal settlement, 12 languages were spoken in the Kakadu area. Today only three are spoken on a regular basis: Gundjeihmi, Kunwinjku and Jawoyn.
Many Aboriginal people speak two or more languages. Gundjeihmi and Kunwinjku are regarded as dialects of each other because their speakers can understand one another. Jawoyn is a separate language spoken in the southern parts of the park.
Gundjeihmi is spoken in the central part of Kakadu. Unlike English, Gundjeihmi spelling is very consistent, so once you have learnt the rules it is quite easy to work out how to pronounce words.
Our downloadable guide to Aboriginal languages will show you how to pronounce Gundjeihmi words. The guide is also available from the Bowali Visitor Centre.
You can learn more about Kakadu’s languages at the Bininj Gunwok website.
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