The structure of Wiradjuri language is different to English. A suffixed language, Wiradjuri words contain much more than a single meaning.

Within the structure and teaching of Wiradjuri language is the concept that all relationships stay the same, Grant and Rudder (2014) explains this as:

  • All things are in a fixed relationship to all others.
  • All things have two dimensions and “inside” and an “outside”
  • All people and things are evaluated or defined in terms for these relationships.
  • The quality of anything can transform to a different expression of the same identity.

Overall he is saying that things, items people never change, they are expressions as identity of the same entity. For example: madhan (tree), when it becomes a wooden table it is still a tree and is expressed as madhan-walar (tree-flat).

Grant Snr, S., & Rudder Dr, J. (2010). A New Wiradjuri Dictionary, English to Wiradjuri, Wiradjuri to English. Wagga Wagga: Restoration House.

key concepts

Piont 1: The word order differs.

  • English sentences always place the actor before the verb that describes the action.  Because of this, we can describe English sentences as having fixed word order, Subject + Verb + Object (SVO).
  • Wiradjuri sentences can place the most important idea first in the sentence and then the next most important idea and so on. Because of this, we can describe Wiradjuri sentences as having free word order.
  • Throughout this resource the majority of sentences have been written using the SVO word order.

Piont 2: The way of marking the nouns to show who did what to who and what happened where differs.

  • For English sentences with a transitive verb, when someone does an action that affects someone or something else, the word order is actor before the verb and then the noun or pronoun describing the person or thing that the action is done to always coming after the verb.
  • For Wiradjuri sentences with a transitive verb, when someone does an action that affects someone or something else, there is a special suffix {–dhu} (or a variation of –dhu) on the actor word which tells us who or what is doing the action. This is what allows the actor word (and other words) to move around in the sentence and we can still  understand what is happening.

Piont 3: The number of words differ.

  • English often includes words like the and a before nouns.
  • Wiradjuri doesn’t have words like the and a.
  • English uses words like to and about.  For example, to the river, about the emu.
  • Wiradjuri adds a suffix to the noun.  For example, bila-gu, dinawan-dhi.