Useful phrases in Yolngu

A collection of useful phrases in Yolngu, a Pama-Nyungan language spoken in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia.

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See these phrases in any combination of two languages in the Phrase Finder. If you can provide recordings, corrections or additional translations, please contact me.

Phrase Yolŋu Matha (Yolngu)
Welcome Märr-ŋamathirri
Hello (General greeting) The concept of 'Hello' does not exist in Yolngu,
hence most use the English 'hello,' or 'hey'
Hello (on phone)
How are you? Nhämirri nhe?
Reply to 'How are you?' Djulŋi ga'. Ga nhe?
Long time no see Malk lambirri bäyŋu nhäma
What's your name? Nhä nhenbal garrar?
My name is ... Ŋarral garrar ...-puy
Where are you from? Ŋalaŋuwuy nhe?
I'm from ... Ŋarra ...-ŋuru
How old are you? Nhämuny' dhuŋgarra nhe?
I'm ... years old Ŋarra ... dhuŋgarra
Pleased to meet you Makarr'yun gumurr'yun nhe
Good morning
(Morning greeting)
Gabar'yun buḻaŋgitj
Good afternoon
(Afternoon greeting)
Miṉitjapuyŋu buḻaŋgitj
Good evening
(Evening greeting)
Minypirriwuy buḻaŋgitj
Good night Makaḻ buḻaŋgitj
(Parting phrases)
Good luck!
Cheers! Good Health!
(Toasts used when drinking)
Have a nice day
Bon appetit /
Have a nice meal
Nyaŋ'thun buḻaŋgitj
Bon voyage /
Have a good journey
Goyurr buḻaŋgitj
I understand Ŋarra dharaŋan
I don't understand Ŋarra moma
I don't know Ŋarra bambuma
Please speak more slowly
Please say that again
Please write it down
Do you speak English? Ŋani nhe wäŋa Iŋglitj?
Do you speak Yolngu? Ŋani nhe wäŋa Yolŋu Matha?
Yes, a little
(reply to 'Do you speak ...?')
Yok, ḏibiḏibi
Speak to me in Yolngu Waŋa nyäkuḻi Yolŋu Matha'ku
How do you say ... in Yolngu? Nhäway nhe wäŋa Yolŋu Matha'ku?
Excuse me
How much is this? Nhämuny' dhuwal?
Thank you Ga'
Reply to thank you
Where's the toilet / bathroom? Ŋala Toilit?
This gentleman will pay for everything Dhay'yi gurrmul yurru bayam'bun warrpam'gu
This lady will pay for everything Dhay'yi dhayka yurru bayam'bun warrpam'gu
Would you like to dance with me? Ŋani nhe ŋäy burr'yun nyäkura?
I miss you Ŋarra bäythirri nhuna
I love you Ŋarra djäl nhuna
Get well soon Ŋuwakurrugal galki
Go away! Djuy' bala!
Leave me alone! Gunha'yun ŋarra guŋnharra!
Help! Guŋga'yun!
Fire! Gurtha!
Stop! Ḏaḏaw!
Call the police! Wäthun ḏapman!
Christmas greetings Kritjmatj yiŋgathirri ga dhuŋgarra dhawurruŋga yiŋgathirri
Easter greetings Iitja yiŋgathirri
Birthday greetings Djaḏaw' biḻkthun yiŋgathirri
One language is never enough Waŋgany matha bäyŋu mitjpili-puy
My hovercraft is full of eels Ŋarral hobakrat maranhirri dhurray'

Phrases provided by Evan

Note: the phrases 'Good morning', 'Good afternoon', etc. are literal translations only and would generally not be used in conversation.

If you would like to make any corrections or additions to this page, or if you can provide recordings, please contact me.

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