Scripture Resources

This electronic version of Dhuwaya Mark, reflects the text as published in June 2019.  It was translated by members of AuSIL, Uniting Church of Australia together with Dhuwaya people, and published by Bible Society Australia.

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General Language Information:

Dhuwaya is a dialect of Yolŋu Matha (the ‘ŋ’ in Yolŋu is pronounced ‘ng’ as in ‘singing’).Yolŋu‘ meaning ‘people‘ and ‘matha‘ meaning ‘tongue‘ or ‘language‘. 

Yolŋu Matha is a linguistic family of languages of the Yolŋu people of northeast Arnhem Land in northern Australia. There are about six languages, some mutually intelligible, divided into about thirty clan varieties and perhaps 12 different dialects. Collectively there are about 8,000 speakers of Yolŋu Matha.

Dhuwaya is a ‘dialect shift’* and is spoken by the younger generation in Yirrkala in North East Arnhem Land and is also known as ‘baby Gumatj’. Yolŋu children traditionally grow up speaking multiple languages, as often their parents are from different clans and speak different languages. 

*- Dialect shift is similar to language shift in which a community of speakers shift from one language to a completely different language. In this case it is a shift from one dialect to another.  

“Dhuwaya is a beautiful, simple, starting point language, before you can speak your own tribal language. That is spoken here in Yirrkala and the homelands of Laynhapuy (region in East Arnhem) by most of the young children, middle age people, and even the older people” (Nyäluŋ Duṉḏiwuy Wunungmurra – Dhuwaya Translator)

The Gospel of Mark was published and dedicated in Yirrkala in June 2019 (pictured right).

Mark 1:1: Dhuwayatja latjuꞌna yana dhäwuꞌ. Ga dhäwuꞌya dhuwaya God-Waŋarrwalaŋuwuy Gäthuꞌmiŋuwalaŋuwuy,* ga yäkuya ŋayi ŋunhi Djesu. Ŋayiya dhuwaya Christnha, Maŋutji-ḻakanhawuynha ŋunhi ŋayi God-Waŋarryu ḻakaŋaya ŋäthiyi. Ga dhäwuꞌya nhanukalaŋuwuy gurra bitjan gamꞌ ŋurru-yirrꞌyun: