Gija language

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

RegionFrom Halls Creek to Kununurra, Western Australia
Native speakers
266 (2021 census)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3gia
Kija is classified as Severely Endangered by the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger

Kija (variously spelled Gija, Kitja, Gidja) is an Australian Aboriginal language today spoken by about 200 people, most of whom live in the region from Halls Creek to Kununurra and west to Lansdowne and Tableland Stations in Western Australia. It is a member of the Jarragan language family, a non-Pama-Nyungan family in the East Kimberleys. The Argyle Diamond Mine, on the south western corner of Lake Argyle is on the borders of Gija and Miriwoong country. The Purnululu (pronounced as 'Boornoolooloo') Bungle Bungle National Park is mostly in Gija country.

Kuluwarrang and Walgi may have been dialects.



Peripheral Laminal Apical
Labial Velar Dental Palatal Alveolar Retroflex
Stop p k c t ʈ
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n ɳ
Lateral ʎ l ɭ
Rhotic r ɻ
Approximant w j
  • Voiceless stops /p, k, t̪, c, t, ʈ/ can have voiced allophones [b, ɡ, d̪, ɟ, d, ɖ] when in intervocalic positions or when following nasals or liquid consonants. They can also be heard as unreleased when in word-final position.
  • /p, k/ can also be heard as fricatives [β, ɣ] in intervocalic positions or when following liquid consonants.
  • /t̪/ can freely be heard as an affricate [t̪θ] when in initial positions, and also be heard as either voiced fricative [ð] or affricate [d̪ð] sounds when in intervocalic positions.
  • /t, ʈ/ can be heard as flap sounds [ɾ, ɽ] when in intervocalic positions.
  • /r/ can have a voiced flap sound [ɾ] when in intervocalic positions. In word-final positions, it has a voiceless trill [r̥] allophone.


Front Central Back
High i ɨ u
Low a aː
Phoneme Allophones
/i/ [i], [ɪ]
/ɨ/ [ɨ], [ɯ]
/u/ [u], [ʊ]
/a/ [ä], [e], [ʌ], [ɔ]

See also[edit]

  • Shirley Purdie; Peggy Patrick; Lena Nyadbi; et al. (2018). Gija plants and animals: Aboriginal flora and fauna knowledge from the east Kimberley, north Australia. Vol. 47. ISBN 978-1-74350-130-6. Wikidata Q109466091. {{cite book}}: |journal= ignored (help)


  1. ^ "SBS Australian Census Explorer". Retrieved 8 September 2023.
  2. ^ K20 Gija at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  • Blythe, J. Yuwurriyangem Kijam (our Language Kija): a Phrasebook of the Kija Language. Halls Creek: Kimberley Language Resource Centre.
  • Kofod, F. M. (1996). Introduction to the Kija Language. Halls Creek: Kimberley Language Resource Centre.
  • Kofod, F. M. (2016). Gija~Kija-English Dictionary. Warmin: Warmun Arts.
  • Taylor, P.; Taylor, J. (1971). "A tentative statement of Kitja phonology". Papers on the Languages of Australian Aboriginals: 100–19.
  • Taylor, P.; Hudson, J. (1976). "Metamorphosis and Process in Kija". Talanya. 3: 25–36.

External links[edit]