Sounds and Syllables

It is important to be able to say words [pronounce words] before learning to read the printed word. Always ask a Noongar person how to pronounce sounds/words. There are some sounds which are not in English but the sound is always constant, unlike in English where one sound may be said a number of ways. E.g. the English ‘a’, as in cat, many and path. Once the Noongar sounds are known, it becomes easier to say/pronounce words. Remember that occasionally there are exceptions to the rules.

A copy of the Noongar Learners Guide can be found here as a free download.

To obtain a copy of the NBLC brochure about linguistic work at NBLC, click here.

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Pronunciation Guide

Noongar vowel sounds and how to say them

Vowel Noongar English similar
a kar about
aa kaa-kaa car
e djena ten
i bidit hit
o nop stop
oo koolbardi book


Noongar consonant sounds and how to say them

Consonant Noongar English similar
b bindi-bindi spin
bw bwoka
d darp pardon
dj djoombar judge
dw dwangk twitch
k kotj skill
kw kwilena quiet
l kaal lamp
-ly mooly million
m maar man
n nop nil
ng ngorlak sing
ny nyininy onion
-p kep spin
rn ngarna barn said with an American accent


-rd karda card said with an American accent


-rt moort cart said with an American accent


-rl kabarli whirl said with an American accent


-rn yoorn torn
-t kaat hot
-tj boornitj chair
w warding well
y yok yell



Resources such as this alphabet chart are available for purchase from the Noongar Language Centre

Noongar Waangkiny


Welcome: Kaya, ngany djoorabiny noonook djinang. (Hello, I’m happy to see you)
Farewell: Noonook boorda djinang. (See you later)


Naatj?/Naadja/Naadjak? What E.g: Naatj nidja? (What this?)
Ngiyan? Who? E.g: Ngiyan baal? (Who is he/she?)
Naadjil?/Nadjil? Why? E.g: Nadjil baal koorliny? (Why is he going?)
Naatj boola?/Ngalan? How many? E.g: Naatj boola barna? (How many animals?)
Windji?/Windja? Where? E.g: Windji dwert? (Where is the dog?)
Ngiyanaa? Whose is it? E.g: Ngiyanaa baal? (Whose is this?)
Nginda? When? E.g: Nginda noonook koorliny? (When are you going?)



  • Dench Alan.1994.Nyungar.In N. Thieberger & W.McGregorleds, Macquarie Aboriginal Words Sydney: The Macquarie Library.p.p 173-192.
  • Spehn-Jackson, Lois, 2011, Noongar Waangkiny – A Learner’s Guide to Noongar, Batchelor Press.
  • Whitehurst Rose. 1997 2nd Edition, Noongar Dictionary, Noongar Language and Cultural Centre, Bunbury WA

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