The language is first attested in 1839. Though much of the detail and vocabulary has been lost, there is sufficient to confirm that it constituted a separate language. About 100 words have survived. Some analysis suggests it may be a mixed language or creole language having something in common with each of the neighboring languages. Earliest sources refer to the language as Gulidjan, although James Dawson favoured Kolakgnat, which means 'belonging to sand'.