Gamilaraay days of the week

Yaama Maliyaa – hi friends.

It was suggested that Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay develop words for days of the week. There was a poll on Facebook which had responses from a number of Gamilaraay people who have been working in language for some time. The majority favoured basing the words on celestial bodies and an ending related to ‘day’. Languages sometimes base a word for day on ‘sun’ (and, like English, the word for month on ‘moon’). ‘Sun’ is yaraay in Gamilaraay and yaay/yayaay in Yuwaalaraay, so the final element of day names is ‑(y)aay. Tracey Cameron, a Gamilaraay woman who has been working on the language for a number of years, suggested the set of names below which Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay can use. The table also has information about the source word and some comments.

Proposed Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay English Source
GR – Gamilaraay
YR – Yuwaalaraay
Yaadha Day    
Yaayaay Sunday yaraay GR yayaay/yaay YR ‘sun’ as in English sun-day
Baalaay Monday baaluu ‘moon’ English: moon-day; Italian lune-di
Guwaybilaay Tuesday Guwaybila Mars YR, guway blood Guwayaay could be a shorter alternative
Muyaay Wednesday Muyaay Pointers of the Southern Cross, and White Cockatoo YR; Muraay in GR There is a story about a Yarraan tree going up into the sky and two Muyaayfollowing it to get back to their nest.
Yarraay Thursday Yarraan The Southern Cross, and River Red Gum YR
Gindamalaay Friday Gindamalaa Venus GR, YR; cf gindamay laugh smiling night, last day of the week
Miriiyaay Saturday mirii star GR


We could now work on words for months of the year. Uncle Ted Fields suggested names based on fruit or other features characteristic of that time. A doc with that information will be uploaded (relatively) soon. Comments about the words and process welcome.

A ps about ‘on x-day’. In Gamilaraay One the place/Locative suffix on y final words is given as -dha, e.g. walaay ‘camp’;walaay-dha ‘at the camp’. This is actually simplified Gamilaraay. Some y-final words have a different process: the y is deleted and then -dha added; e.g. yaraay ‘sun’, yaraa-dha ‘in the sun’. Since the final part of day names comes from ‘sun’, it would be consistent to use that pattern, as set out below.

Yaadha Day  Yaadha-ga, on the day
Yaayaay Sunday Baayaa-dha ‘on Sunday’
Baalaay Monday Baalaadha
Guwaybilaay Tuesday Guwaybilaadha
Muyaay Wednesday Muyaadha
Yarraay Thursday Yarraadha
Gindamalaay Friday Gindamalaadha
Miriiyaay Saturday Miriiyaadha

John Giacon.

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