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Kunwok IPA Example Comments
a ɑ mah (ok) a as in father
b b bobo (bye) b as in baby
d d daluk (woman) d as in dog
dj ɟ djedje (woman's child) j as in jam (but with tongue body against hard palate)
rd ɖ wurdurd (child) like d but with tongue tip curled back
e ɛ kunkeb (nose) e as in pet (not before ng)
e æ bebmeng (arrived) a as in cat (before ng)
h ʔ yoh (yes) glottal stop, like tt in bottle in some English dialects
i i bininj (man) e as in beet (but with the tongue body pushed up)
k k daluk (woman) k but with no aspiration (at end of syllable)
k g kured (camp) g as in game (at start of syllable)
l l delek (white clay) l as in long
rl ɭ berluh (aunty) like l but with tongue tip curled back
m m manme (food) m as in man
n n nayin (snake) n as in nose
ng ŋ ngalyod (rainbow serpent) ng as in sing
nj ɲ njale (what) gn as in gnocci
rn ɳ birriwern (everyone) like n but with tongue tip curled back
o ɒ kunwok (language) o as in not (UK, Australian) or thought (US)
r ɻ kured (camp) r as in red (but with tongue tip curled back further)
rr ɾ or r djarrang (horse) t as in water (said like a fast d) or else rolled r as in Scottish English
u u kundulk (tree) u as in boot (US, UK), u as in book (Australian)
w w wakwak (crow) w as in wet
y j yoh (yes) y as in yes


Kunwok IPA Example Comments
ay aj malaywi (morning) pronounced like aye in Scottish English
aw aw yawkyawk (girl) ou as in ouch
ey ɛj kunngey (name) a as in name
ew ɛw kudjewk (wet season) like el in elk but with rounded lips instead of the l
iw iw ?
oy ɔj doydoy (kin term) pronounced like 'oy!'
ow ow rowk (all) ow as in row
uy uj mannguy (flower)


  • the second column uses the international phonetic alphabet (IPA); click on the IPA letters for more information
  • consonants are not aspirated like they are sometimes in English (no puff of air after k)
  • some words have doubled consonants like ngabba (father); take care to lengthen these
  • sometimes it helps to break words down into syllables before trying to pronounce them, e.g. kun.ngey (name), be.rluh (aunty), (freshwater crocodile)
  • rd is usually written d when we can predict an rd is required, e.g. rdird~dird (moon), kuwardrde~kuwardde (stone country)
  • d is pronounced rr when it appears between two vowels and when the following syllable is not stressed
  • Kunwok placenames sometimes have an English spelling that is distinct from the Kunwok spelling, e.g. Gunbalanya~Kunbarlanjnja