Ngalakgan Orthography

Alternative spellings: Ngalakan

Main Communities: Urapunga, Ngukurr


Stops (short)b / pd / trd / rtj / tjg / k
Stops (long)pbtdrtdtjjkg
Laterals lrl  
Rhotics rrr  
Glidesw  y 
also:Glottal stoph    


High i u
Mid e o
Low  a 

Note on ‘n’’s and ‘g’’s:

  • ng      Velar nasal as in Ngalakganor English sing.
  • nk      Two sounds- ‘n’+’k’ as in gunku ‘the’ (GU-gender).
  • ngg    Two sounds- ‘ng’+’g’ as in rlangga‘billabong’ or English sound in finger

Note on ‘short’ stops:

‘Short’ stops are written differently, depending on whether they are at the start or end of a word or syllable.  At the start of a word or syllable, we use bd,rdjand g.  At the end of a word or syllable, we use pt,rttjand k.

Previous spellings

Ngalakan Grammar, Texts and Vocabularyby Francesca Merlan uses an old spelling system that isn’t used anymore.

Ngalakgan Resources

  • Merlan, F. (1983) Ngalakan Grammar, Texts and Vocabulary, Pacific Linguistics.
  • Teaching and cultural resources – Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation.

Linguists who have worked on Ngalakgan

Francesca Merlan & Brett Baker