Jandai Language Guide

Jandai language

Magui, wulara, jara – spirit, language, country

Jandai Wularaba – is the Place of Jandai Language. Jandai, Gower and Nunagal language is being woken up in the community. 

Jandai Wularaba has been set up to ensure our languages continue to be used in and around Quandamooka Country on a daily basis now and into the future.  

The Jandai, Gower and Munyjan dialects are part of the Yagara language and were spoken on Quandamooka Country by the people now known as Nunagal, Ngugi and Goenbal. Alternate spellings of the languages have been variously recorded as:

Djandai, Tchandi, Dsandai, Djendewal, Jundai, Jandi, Janday, Jendairwal, Jenderval and Coobenpil, Goa, Gowar, Moonjan, Moonjine. Jandai language belongs to the Pama-Nyungan family of Australia languages. 

The language of contemporary Quandamooka society combined and words handed down through families are a combination of the three dialects. In each case the dialect name is the negative ‘no’ of the dialect.

Language is an expression of people, culture and land – and a core component of cultural identity. Studies show that before European settlement, around 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken throughout Australia.

These languages also had several dialects, extensive vocabulary and different grammatical structures. 160 of these languages are now dormant and it is commonly believed that only around 20 languages will survive overall.

As a result, there are now a growing number of government and non-government projects across Australia that are supporting the maintenance, transmission and revival of Indigenous languages.

What is language revival?

The teaching and learning of Aboriginal languages is different than the teaching and learning of any other language. This is due to the language loss caused by the impact of colonisation. However a great deal of language was recorded by a range of people from the earliest days of contact right through to more recent years. Also community members today still remember and use language, sometimes words and phrases, sometimes more details, depending on the history of the particular language and depending on the families’ cultural knowledge and experiences.

Language reclamation, or revival, involves combining archival material with the community-held knowledge that has survived. The resulting materials are used to reconstruct the sound system and grammar of the language. The next step is to spend considerable time using these written and audio materials to relearn their language.

People in communities across Australia use a range of terms to describe this process, including language revivalreclamationrevitalisation, and renewal.

Language revival has been gaining momentum over the past couple of decades in communities in Australia. Some language groups have been working on their languages for many years, others are just beginning. Language revival is happening not just in Quandamooka Country and in many parts of Australia – it is also underway in Indigenous communities in other countries in the world, including New Zealand, Canada and the USA

Examples of Jandai language

Jandai English
Ngango nginda? How are you?
Wanyadhu yanmana? Where are you going?
Nginda Minjerribahgu yana. I am going to Minjerribah
Goompi balgagu bogey. Come to Dunwich and swim
Pulan balgagu jungga. Come to Amity and fish
Mulumba balgagu yalingbilajin ngayiga. Come to Point Lookout and see the whales
Mulgumpin balgagu tabobilajin ngayiga. Come to Moreton Island and see the dolphins

Some Jandai words

Jandai      English
Gana   Place to hear, think and understand
Yura banji   Hello friend
Yura       Hello /  hi / greetings 
Wunjayi marumba  Good day /  G’day
Gujunjeba marumba      Good morning 
Wanyung nyinda   How are you going? 
Ngari marumba         I am good/we are good
Gindi      Good on you/well done
Yura Quandamookaja balgagu  Welcome, to Quandamooka country
Quandamookja budjarrang  Quandamooka country is beautiful
jinjen  Food
Capem/dabiyil  Water
Tabilbahn  Saltwater
Yarabin Sea
Yawayi banjijin  Goodbye friends
Yalingbila Whale
Talobila  Dolphin
Buangan White dolphin
Bybee Black dolphin
Dumbirrbi Koala

Some Jandai Placenames in Quandamooka Country:

Jandai  English
Minjerribah  North Stradbroke Island
Terangeri / darrangari   Northern part of North Stradbroke Island
Goompi Dunwich
Mulumba  Point Lookout
Pulan Pulan Amity Point
Capembah Myora Springs
Gabura    Blue Lake
Bummiera Brown Lake
Mulgumpin Moreton Island
Currigee / Garadgi  South Stradbroke Island
Bangamba Mud Island
Danggar   Green Island
Yerobin  King Island
Canaipa Russell Island
Jercuruba Peel Island
Jencumercha Macleay Island
Nandeebie Cleveland
Talwalpin Redland Bay
Warrer Warrer   Victoria Point
Cullen Cullen Wellington Point
Winnam Wynnum
Narlang Manly  
Dingallpa Tingalpa

Sandra Delaney 2019

Interested in learning Jandai or other language related projects? Minjerribah Ganaba are seeking numbers for potential language projects. Register your interest here or fill in our contact form

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