Yamaji yarning

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Wadjarri words and pronunciation guide

Of the seven language groups in the Yamaji region, Wadjarri is the most common. Here are some Wadjarri words for you to practice.

Wadjarri* words

(Catholic Education Office of Western Australia, 2000)

Wadjarri English
mayu child
yagu mother or aunt
nyarlu woman
yamaji man
body parts
maga head
guru eye
mulya nose
irra mouth
gurlga ear
mara hand
warri stomach
jina foot
duthu dog
marlu kangaroo
guwiyarl goanna
yalibirri emu
baba rain
garangu sun
winda tree
marda mountain
burlga grass
garla fire

*some words have spelling variations not listed here

Wadjarri pronunciation guide*

(emphasis placed on the first syllable)

b between English ‘b’ and ‘p’ as in ‘spa’ e.g. baba
d between English ‘d’ and ‘t’ as in ‘stay’ e.g. winda, marda
rd as in American English ‘r’ as in ‘bird’ e.g. marda
g between English ‘g’ and ‘k’ as in ‘score’ e.g. guru, garla
j as in ‘jingle’ e.g. jina
ly as in ‘billion’ (never like ‘Billy’) e.g. mulya
rl as in American English ‘r’ as in ‘curl’ e.g. gurlga, marlu, burlga
m as in ‘monkey’ e.g. maga
ng as in ‘singing’ (never like ‘finger’) e.g. garangu
ny as in ‘onion’ (never like ‘any’) e.g. nyarlu
r as in ‘orange’ e.g. mara
rr between English ‘rt’ and ‘d’ as in ‘word’ e.g. yalibirri, warri, irra
th as in ‘width’ (never like ‘finger’) e.g. duthu
w as in ‘owe’ e.g. guwiyarl
y short sound as in ‘papa’ e.g. baba
a short sound as in ‘papa’ e.g. baba
i short sound as in ‘bit’ e.g. irra
u short sound as in ‘put’ (never like ‘bun’) e.g. guru

*for Wadjarri words presented in this website

Information from our designer Jilalga Murray-Ranui about the figures used in this website

guiding spirit ”I think of this figure as a little guiding spirit” Jilalga Murray-Ranui


Although not particularly a human form it has a head for thinking, the head is large to represent taking in a lot of information. The smaller circles at the end of the arms are like parcels of information. This information is offered and accepted to people who come to this site.


The black outline and white interior are also significant. The black represents the importance of the website because it presents information about bullying. The white represents this information or knowledge being absorbed.


These figures are designed to point you in the right direction or just to make you aware of a special section.

  • guiding spirit with flag guiding spirit with flag                    The green symbols help in the navigation around the site.
  • think icon talk icon tips icon question icon    The brown coloured icon was a secondary design to signify special information within a particular page.
  • “I feel the target audience is quite familiar with symbols and signs as they are everywhere in their day-to-day lives. I feel the symbols are simple and effective. I would hope people could see them, but not have to think about them. They should be a part of the page but not draw attention away from the core information. They were created to complement the site design and information."
    Jilalga Murray-Ranui

Story time

Over the four years of the Solid Kids, Solid Schools project we collected lots of ideas of what could help Yamaji kids stay solid at school. We have used these ideas to make up some stories that show Yamaji kids being successful at school or in their community. In the future we hope to be able to add more stories (that you send us) of real solid kids.

Art House – local wins state scholarship

Dylan House, a student from Plainview High School, has been awarded the prestigious Arthur Boyd Scholarship for young artists. House received the scholarship after submitting his high-school portfolio to the Art Academy in Perth. His portfolio impressed the Art Academy enough to beat out hundreds of other applicants. On the terms of the scholarship, House will have his fees paid by the academy, receive free board in Perth and receive a weekly allowance.

However, House’s journey to success was not as smooth as his brushstrokes.

“I got suspended in first term.” The budding artist told us. “I was in trouble a lot.” In fact House doubted he would have gained the scholarship if not for some timely help from his school and parents. “I didn’t have any paints or canvas at home. I could only paint at school. And I was either in detention or too busy being a smartass to get any work done.”

House had frequently been in trouble for bullying younger students. “Just pushing them around and tripping them up and laughing at them. That sort of stuff. I thought it was funny at the time and I didn’t think any of them got badly hurt. Just a little scratched up.” House said. However, at the beginning of year 11 House took it too far and was suspended for an incident at lunchtime. He had been looking for a football he had brought to school to kick with his friends. A younger student had found it and assumed it belonged to the school and was for everyone to share. When House saw the younger student carrying the ball he rushed over, snatched away the football and hit him. The younger student suffered a broken nose.

“I didn’t want to look winyarn. And just let some little kid take my ball.” House said. “But, I guess there was no need to hit him, or even push him over. I could have just talked to him.” This incident was too much for House’s parents. “We knew he was getting in trouble and we hoped he would grow out of it eventually. But after he hit that young kid we knew we had to step in and do something.” Mrs House said.

Plainview HS had similar ideas. “That sort of behaviour is unacceptable.” Principal Chairman said. “He hadn’t only hurt another student he was letting himself and his parents down.” Principal Chairman talked to the school-on-the-hill’s AIEO (Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer), Mrs Puncho, about House. Mrs Puncho was going to do her home visits that day and made an appointment to go talk with House’s parents and told Principal Chairman that she would visit them to discuss the situation. Principal Chairman was confident in Mrs Puncho ability to handle to situation. “Mrs Puncho is an asset to the school-on-the-hill.” He told us. “She has been instrumental working through various behavioural issues with some of our students.”

After visiting Mr and Mrs House several times, Mrs Puncho believed she had found a solution. “The Houses and I had a few good yarns.” She said. “They told me how House loves his art class and I told them about my lunch-time program.”
Mrs Puncho’s lunch-time program provides numerous activities for students to engage in at lunchtime and after school. There are organised sports activities, music rehearsals and jamming sessions and an art workshop. “I often get students who have been involved in bullying into the program. It gives them an outlet or a distraction. Sometimes they bully because they are bored. But if they are in the program they always have something to do at lunch.” Mrs Puncho said. “And it easier to keep an eye on them if I know where they are.” She added shrewdly.

House joined the program and attended the art workshop fanatically. His talent began to flourish and his bullying behaviour vanished. “I loved the art workshop. It helped me to feel happy at school and everyone told me my work was deadly.”
The rest of the year was uneventful for House, up until the day he submitted his portfolio to the Art Academy. But this time the fuss was for a far more positive reason. “I want to thank Mrs Puncho and my parents.” He said to us. “I couldn’t have ever gotten here without them.”
After his first term at the Art Academy, House returned home for the holidays. He is helping Mrs Puncho and the kids in the lunch-time program to paint a mural on the Plainview high-school gym wall.