Language today

Muurrbay hosted Darkinyung Language workshops to encourage revitalisation from 2005. These were well attended and the community was keen to see the language research lead into people learning and sharing the Language. 

We published the Darkinyung grammar and dictionary: revitalising a language from historical sources compiled by Caroline Jones, in 2008. Caroline worked closely with the Darkinyung Language Group.

Since then we have hosted language workshops at The Darkinjung LALC, see ​​ and for a welcome to country see

A partnership between Darkinyung people and Barker College saw a new primary school established Darkinjung Barker College, see 

To view the opening and smoking ceremony, see

In March 2016 Darkinyung Language workshops were hosted by Muurrbay in Wyong and Kariong. The workshop functioned as a community consultation – giving the community opportunity to meet our teacher linguist Albert Burgman and voice their interest for the revitalisation of Darkinyung. Following the workshops an Advisory Group has formed and set some guidelines.

To read more and see pictures from the workshops go here

Language features

Some features of Darkinyung include:

  • Three vowels: a, i, and u which can also be pronounced as a longer vowel  ‘ayi’, and 14 consonants: b, d, dh, dj, g, m, n, nh, ng, ny, r, l, w and y.
  • A rich system of noun tag endings to indicate who is doing what, with what, possessor, location, movement towards, movement from etc.
  • Pronouns are singular, dual and plural, (singular pronouns have tag endings) and appear in many different forms depending on what meaning they convey.
  • Verbs have three tenses: present, past and future as well as conveying different meanings, such as continuous action, might or want to.
  • Sentences have free word order, although there is a tendency towards the order of: ‘doer to’ – ‘done to’ – verb.

Language name

Darkinyung is one of 35 languages once spoken in the area now known as NSW. Alternative spellings include: Darkinjang (Tindale 1974), Darkinjung, Darkiñung (Mathews 1903), Darrkinyung, Darginjang, Darginyung, Darkinung, Darkinoong, Darknüng, and Darkinyung. 

Books etc

Jones, C (2008). Darkinyung grammar and dictionary: revitalising a language from historical sources. Nambucca Heads, Australia: Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative. See our publications page.Darkinyung grammar and dictionary cover

Mathews, R. H. (1903). Languages of the Kamilaroi and other Aboriginal tribes of New South Wales. Journal of the Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 33, 259–283.