Kala Lagaw Ya is a mixed language with a Pama-Nyungan base and Papuan and
Austronesian overlays spoken by about 4,000 people on the Western and Central
Torres Strait Islands between Papua New Guinea and the mainland of Australian.
It is one of the few Australian languages with the sounds /s/ and /z/, and
It has five slightly differing orthographies:
a) Mission/Cambridge Reports
a, ă, ā, b, d, dth, e, ĕ, ē, g, i, ĭ,
ī, k, l , m, n, ng, o, ŏ, ō, ò, ö/ë/oe/œ,
p/f, r, s/ch, t, th, u, ŭ, ū, w, y, z/j
d) Mixed – a dominating tendency to use the KKY orthography, and to mark
the glides as in the Mission script.
e) Manuscript Dictionary
a, á, b, d, dh, e, é, g, i, í, k, l, m, n, ng, o, ó,
ò, œ, p, r, s, t, th, u, ù, ú, w, y, z
Diphthong glides : if phonological consonants - -y, -w; if phonological vowels - -i, -u
Kala Lagaw Ya pronunciation
Vowel length is only overtly marked in two of the orthographies,
and sporadically so in the others.
In long diphthongs the first vowel is pronounced long. Vowel length in
diphthongs is only overtly marked in one of the orthographies, and sporadically
so in the others.
Information compiled by Rod Mitchell
Sample text in Kala Lagaw Ya
Kulay daparaginga, nubi arkathagina, mura zaginga, kasa Awgadh
meparuy. Awgadhan kulay dapar aymoedhin wagel nabi arkath, nabi
arkath kulay kawaginga, a boeradharaginga, kasa malu. Senabi malu
koey gubalnga na koey inuralnga. Wa Awgadhaw maygi mari nanga
mulaydhin gimia, nuydh wayadhin nungu woenab nanga, Awgadh
kedha mulaydhin, "Buya nagi". Kalanu buya mekath asidhin.
Awgadhan imadin matha ngoedhagidh, kalanu dhadhia madhin, buya
inurngu. Nuydh buya nel tharan goeyga, inur nel tharan kubil. Kubil
nanga muasin nanga goeyga mangiz sena urapun goeyga.
In the beginning God created heaven and earth. The earth was formless
and empty, and darkness covered the deep water. The spirit of God was
hovering over the water. Then God said, "Let there be light!" So there
was light. God saw the light was good. So God separated the light from
the darkness. God named the light "day", and the darkness he named "night".
There was evening, then morning, the first day.