Wik Mungkan-English Interactive Dictionary


Compilers:    Christine Kilham, Mabel Pamulkan, Jennifer Pootchemunka and Topsy     


Copyright:    © 2011 Australian Society for Indigenous Languages

Publication:   AuSIL Interactive Dictionary Series A-6

Series Editor:Charles E. Grimes

Editor:         Maarten Lecompte (for interactive version)

Contact:       ausil@sil.org



The Wik-Mungkan language (Ethnologue/ISO code: wim) is spoken on the western side of Cape York Peninsula of Queensland. The majority of the Wik-Mungkan people today live at Aurukun. Wik-Mungkan is spoken by about 1000 people, either as a first or second language. A map of the Aurukun area showing Wik-Mungkan and other closely related languages can be found here.



In 1962, Marie Godfrey and Barbara Sayers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) started linguistic and translation work in the Wik-Munkan language in Aurukun. They began a dictionary file, and added to it over several years. Their work was continued and expanded by other SIL members, namely, Christine Kilham and Ann Eckert and was eventually published by SIL/AAB as the Dictionary and source book of the Wik-Mungkan language (Kilham. C, 1986).


A full list of contributors to the printed dictionary can be found here.

The interactive version is based on the printed dictionary and has not been changed or updated, other than to add semantic categories to assist electronic searches.


The interactive version of this dictionary and the introduction was prepared by Maarten Lecompte using Toolbox and Lexique Pro.


Wik-Mungkan alphabet and pronunciation guidelines

The following information on the spelling system used in Wik-Mungkan is adapted from Kilham’s 1986 printed dictionary (p. xx):


Vowels                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Consonants




as in 'cup' when stressed; when unstressed, similar to the second a of 'catapult’ 



as in 'father'; or ar in 'part'



as in 'pet'



as in 'fair' (but without a glide at the end)



as in 'pit'



as in 'feet'


as in 'hot'



as in 'port' or 'caught'


as in 'put'



a lengthening of the u as in 'put'. Not very similar to anything in English,  except perhaps the our in 'gourd'



as in 'chip' but said lightly and without a puff of air


as in English but usually said without the puff of air at the beginning  of words



as in English



as in English



as in English



as in 'song',  but also said at the beginning of words



as in English but made with the tongue either between the teeth or else just slightly behind the teeth



as in 'onion', or ny as in Spanish mañana



as in English, but usually said without the puff of air at the beginning of words



said either as a quick flap or trill—tongue is in the same position as for n



as in English, but usually said without the puff of air at the beginning of words



said with tongue between teeth or just behind teeth. Not like th in English words like 'thistle'. Closer to the word 'then', but the sound is clipped short, with no friction



as in English



as in English



as in English



known as the glottal stop. No equivalent in English. Similar to saying “ah-ah” to a naughty child, where the flow of air is briefly stopped altogether



Further instructions on the use of the dictionary can be found here.


Related resources available from AuSIL

The following information can also be found in Kilham (1986), and available in PDF:


Grammatical sketch of Wik-Mungkan (2.6 Mb)

Wik-Mungkan kinship terms (Phyllis Doty) (1.5 Mb)

Seasons (Margaret Evans) (1.4 Mb)


Some references on Wik-Mungkan

Godfrey, Marie P. and Barbara, J. Sayers (1964). Outline description of the alphabet and grammar of a dialect of Wik-Munkan spoken at Coen, Nth. Q’land. Occasional Papers in Aboriginal Studies 2.

Godfrey, Marie P. and Kerr, Harland B. (1964). Personal pronouns in Wik-Munkan. Occasional Papers in Aboriginal Studies 3.

Godfrey, Marie P. (1970) Wik-Munkan verb morphology. Pacific Linguistics C 13.

Kerr, Harland B. (1964) Comparison of Anyula base pronouns with Burera, Maung, and Wik-Munkan. Occasional Papers in Aboriginal Studies 3.

Kilham, Christine A. (1974). Compound words and close-knit phrases in Wik-Munkan. Pacific Linguistics A 37.

Kilham, Christine A. (1977). Thematic organization of Wik-Munkan discourse. Pacific Linguistics B 52.

Kilham, Christine (1986). Dictionary and source book of the Wik-Mungkan language. Summer Institute of Linguistics. Australian Aborigines Branch. Darwin, Australia : Summer Institute of Linguistics, Aboriginal Australians Branch.

Kilham, Christine A. (1987). Word order in Wik-Mungkan. Pacific Linguistics C 100.

Oates, Lynette F. and William, J. Oates (1964). Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies.. Occasional Papers in Aboriginal Studies 2.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1976). Interpenetration of stress and pitch in Wik-Munkan grammar and phonology. Pacific Linguistics A 42.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1976). The sentence in Wik-Munkan: a description of propositional relationships. Pacific Linguistics B 44.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1977). Aboriginal world view and tense, mood and aspect in Wik-Munkan. Workpapers in Papua New Guinea Languages 20.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1977). What are contrastive syllables? The Wik-Munkan picture. Work Papers of SIL - AAB, Series A 1.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1997). Reference in Wik-Mungkan from a systemic perspective. SIL-AAIB Occasional Papers 3.

Sayers, Barbara J. (1997). Reference in the Wik-Mungkan relative clause. SIL-AAIB Occasional Papers 3.