Ancestral Language Facilitator (ALF): Xavier Barker

Language name: Injinoo Ikya – Angkmuthi

Austlang code: Y7

ISO639-3: avm

A note on the name of this project

The Injinoo peoples refer to their languages – a group of closely related dialects or languages – as “Injinoo Ikya” (“Injinoo Speak”). The three language varieties are Angkamuthi, Atambaya, and Yadhaykanu.

Indjinoo Ikya corresponds to Terry Crowley’s umbrella name “Uradhi”, or, rather Injinoo Ikya are the surviving dialects of Crowley’s Uradhi complex. Since no speakers use the name Uradhi the ALAT has decided to name the project Injinoo Ikya – Angkamuthi. Angkamuthi has been added to the project name since Injinoo Ikya has no language code and the intention is to base the revitalisation project on the Angkamuthi dialect.

Historical overview of the Injinoo Ikya Language Nation:

The Northern Peninsula Area is composed of five communities: Injinoo, Umagico, Bamaga, New Mapoon and Seisia.

The peoples of the Angkamuthi, Atambaya, and Yadhaykanu clans settled the Injinoo community. New Mapoon was settled by the clans of Tjungundji and related groups including the Mpakwithi, who came from the area around Port Musgrave.

Bamaga and Seisia were settled by a small number of families from Saibai island, south of the Fly River Delta in Papua New Guinea whilst Umagico was developed by a number of different groups, chief among them the Bakanambia and Jeteneru people from Princess Charlotte Bay and the Wuthathi people from Lockhart River.

Injinoo Ikya Language Situation

There are no surviving fluent speakers of Atambaya and only one individual of the grandparental generation self-reporting fluency in Gudang – a related language from the east coast of the Northern Peninsula Area – as well as fluency in Angkamuthi and Yadhaykanu. Several members of the parental generation can be classed as semi-speakers and they are the major motivators of the revitalisation movement.

Sources: History of Injinoo Ikya – Angkamuthi Nation (publications, recordings, film etc.)

Crowley, Terry, “Uradhi” In Dixon, R.M.W. and Blake, Barry J. (eds), Handbook of Australian Languages, Vol. 3 pp. 306–428. Canberra: The Australian National University Press (1983)

Helen Harper, Helen “Having Language and getting Language back: traditional language use in Injinoo today” Australian Aboriginal Studies: Journal of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies No. 1 . Canberra (1996)

Harper, HelenThe Gun and the Trousers Spoke English: Language Shift on Northern Cape York Peninsula” PhD thesis (2001)

Harper, Helen. 2007. “Try look that yellow book”: The legacy of Terry Crowley’s work in Cape York Peninsula. In Language Description, History and Development: Linguistic ndulgence in memory of Terry Crowley, Jeff Siegel, John Lynch, and Diana Eades (eds.), 9–12. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Overview of previous documentation efforts.

Terry Crowley (1983) provides a grammar sketch, typology and some supralinguistic information. Crowley described the ‘Injinoo Ikya’ language cluster as “Uradhi”.

Other linguists such as Ken Hale have discussed aspects of the language/dialect cluster. Helen Harper’s work (see above), whilst not narrowly linguistic in nature, provides important information about the language and the community.

In the literature there are differing opinions about the status of the language varieties as distinct languages. Crowley notes that Angkamuthi and Yadheykemu differ from most other varieties of Uradhi in that they are ŋ- lacking, but considers both to be dialects (1983: 226). Helen Harper directly addresses Crowley’s classification, stating “Terry Crowley’s…description of ‘Uradhi’ is actually a description of three closely related languages: Angkamuthi, Atambaya, and Yadheykenu”

Sources relating to documentation of Injinoo Ikya (Uradhi)

Crowley, Terry, “Uradhi” In Dixon, R.M.W. and Blake, Barry J. (eds), Handbook of Australian Languages, Vol. 3 pp. 306–428. Canberra: The Australian National University Press (1983)

Crowley, Terry. 1975. Cape York tape transcriptions. (Accessed August 15, 2011).

Hale, Ken “Phonological developments in a Northern Paman language: Uradhi” in Languages of Cape York, pp. 41–49 (1976)

Previous maintenance and revitalisation efforts:

Helen Harper (1996) reports being involved in an earlier revitalisation effort that led to the creation of some hymn books (date unknown, cited in personal communication), a worldlist (Injinoo Ikya, date unknown, cited in personal communication) and ultimately her PhD thesis (2001).

Sources of information relating to and resources produced by previous revitalisation efforts

Current situation

Current EGIDS rating:

Moribund (8a): The only remaining active users of the language are members of the grandparent generation and older.

Intergenerational transmission Interrupted at grandparental generation.
Oracy Limited to isolated words and phrases
Literacy Limited
# speakers grandparent generation 1 fluent (self-reported) in Gudang and Yadhaykanu
# speakers parent generation 0 fluent, >10 semi-speakers
Other observations

Aspirations of Language Nation

Meeting or interview with: Apudthama Land Trust

Date: Wednesday, 20th January, 2016. 3pm

Location: Apudthama Land Trust Office, Injinoo

                                       Notes on speakers Ancestral Language aspirations and ideas
Name of interviewee/ speaker Uncle Meun “Shorty” Lifu

Gudang/Yadhaykenu elder

Name of interviewee/speaker Mrs Cecilia Ropeyarn

Atambaya elder

Name of interviewee/speaker Sandra Sebasio (nee Woosup)

Angkamuthi elder

Name of interviewee/speaker Olive Bagie

Angkamuthi elder

Name of interviewee/speaker Richard Woosup

Angkamuthi elder

Name of interviewee/speaker Christopher Lifu

Gudang/Yadhaykenu elder

Summary Elders represented the Apudthama clans and proposed that a lingua franca be developed based on Angkamuthi but that the other related dialects and languages of Injinoo be preserved and maintained parallel to this development.

There was also strong interest in facilitating the return of primary data collected by anthropologists and linguists in the past.

Existing resources Description
Word list/dictionary

Author: Helen Harper

Date: 2001


Bilingual Injinoo Ikya-English gloss. Approximately 200 words.



Author: Terry Crowley

Date: 1976


Other (specify)

Author: Helen Harper

Date: 1996


Having Language and Getting Language Back

Long-term goals (vision)


Their intention is to direct revitalisation efforts towards the development of Angkamuthi as the Injinoo Ikya lingua franca, with clan groups to be individually responsible for the maintenance of their own dialects.


Injinoo Ikya – Angkamuthi becomes the first language of all Injinoo children.

Medium-term goals

Establish a body to preserve and maintain culture and language.

Create and archive of all documentation materials relevant to Injinoo Ikya.

Language Action teams

In January 2016, the Angkamuthi ALAT has 8 members:

Actions for 2015-16 and 2016+

Upon consultation with representatives of the three clan groups, it was decided that whilst the first language project of Injinoo Ikya was the long term goal, immediate plans must be made to record two CDs of music: a collection of Injinoo Ikya hymns and a collection of Injinoo Ikya corroborree songs (anychirri).

A second project planned for 2016 is to retrieve recordings and records from AIAITSIS and from Injinoo BRACS,

These two activities are described in the Project Proposals below.

Four further actions were discussed at the first meeting of the Injinoo Ikya ALAT.

  • Production of a number of books by 31 December 2016
  • A series of storybooks in Injinoo Ikya with illustrations by community members and English translations.
  • Produce a picture dictionary with definitions provided in the three dialects of Injinoo Ikya
  • Establish a dance group.

Planning for these four activities remain at an early stage so Project Proposals have not been included in this report.