Bininj Kunwok pilot 2016

Bininj Kunwok pilot 2016

Before we begin


Bininj Kunwok is the term for a group of related languages spoken in West Arnhem Land. ‘Bininj’ is the local word for ‘people’ and ‘Kunwok’ means ‘language’, so it’s the ‘people’s language.’ In this course we will use the term ‘Bininj’ to refer to Aboriginal people of this area. The name ‘Bininj Kunwok’ is mostly used by non-Indigenous people, while Bininj themselves generally refer to specific languages, such as Kunwinjku, Kuninjku, Kundjeyhmi, Kundedjnjenghmi, Kune and Mayali. Linguistically, these can all be considered different varieties of the same language, but for Bininj they are very distinct, and have their own affiliations to people, land, song, ceremony, etc. To read more on this, visit

In this course, you will learn the specific variety known as Kunwinjku. While there are some variations with the other varieties, you will be understood across the region if you speak Kunwinjku.


If you have worked closely with Bininj, you may have been adopted into a family and given a skin name. These are normally carefully assigned, and have a big influence on your relationships with other Bininj. 

For the purpose of this course, it’s very helpful to have a skin name. If you already have one, use this during this course. If you have been given a skin name from another Aboriginal group, you may be able to research connections. (Note that the names here do not correspond to the Yolngu skin names)

If you don’t already have a skin name, please select your own from the list in the Vocabulary lesson.  Please note: this is simply for the purposes of this course, and should not be considered as an entry into Bininj culture. If you have an opportunity to work with Bininj in the future, do not use this name, but wait until you are connected to a family and given a skin name.