Y72: Yir Yoront

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 
Yir Yoront


ABN name
ABS name
Cape York Peninsula Languages, nec (Yir Yoront)
Horton name
Yir Yoront
Ethnologue name
Yir Yoront
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Thesaurus heading language
Yir Yoront language Y72
Thesaurus heading (old)
Yir Yoront language (Y72) (Qld SD54-15)
Tindale (1974)
Yir Yoront, Yir-yiront, Kokomindjan (valid alternative with the accentuation as given above), KokoMindjin, Kokominjan, KokoMandjoen, Koko-manjoen, KokoMinjen, Koka-mungin.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Yir? Yoront, Kokomindjin, Kokomandjoen, Kokominjen
Other sources
Kuuk-Thawvnhon and Koko-Minychéna (Kuuk-Thaayorre names for Yir Yoront), Yirr-Yorront, YirrqYorront and Yirrq-Thuch (Yir Yoront names for themselves), Kok-Minychéna (Koko Bera name for Yir Yoront [Alpher 2006 p.c.)
Yirr Yorront, Yirr Thutjim, Cape York Peninsula Languages, Jir Joront, Dangedl, Dhanuun, Djudjan, Dudjym, Gorminag, Gwandera, Jirjoront, JirJorond, Jir djudjam, Jir Jirond, Jirmel, Koka mungin, Koko manjoen, KokoMandjoen, Kokomindjan, Kokomindjen, KokoMindjin, Kokominjan, KokoMinjen, Mandjoen, Mel Jir, Millera, Mindjana, Mindjen, Mindjin, Mundjun, Mynduno, NgambaWandh, YirThangedl, Yir yiront, Yir Yorond, Yirmel, Yirtangettle, Yirtutiym, Kokomindjin, Kokomandjoen, Kokominjen, Kuuk Thawvnhon, Koko Minychéna, YirrqYorront, Yirrq Thuch, Kok Minychéna
Yir-Yoront speakers belong to clans associated with estates, affiliation is patrilineal; there was continuity of social and political relationships with Kuuk-Thaayorre Y69 to the north and Yirrg+mayn (Bakanh) Y64 to the northwest. Most Yir-Yiront speakers now live at Kowanyama and some at Pormpuraaw, which lie just outside Yir-Yoront country. Various pronunications of the language name include Yirr-Yoront (main stress on first syllable of second element); Yirrq+Yorront (main stress on first syllable of first element), or Yirrq-Yirront; alternation between yirrq-yirr is regular. Yirrq+Yirront is a compound yirrq 'speech, language, group' and yorront, which has various interpretations, the most compelling from 'yorr' sand (of sandridges) and refers to people of the western (seaward) fringe of this country; an alternative name for this group and language is Yirr-Thuchm from thuch 'sandridge'. Neighbouring people (inland up the Mitchell River) speak Kin-Kopl, a variety of Yir-Yoront; some of the Kin-Kopl groups were originally speakers of Yirrk-Thangalkl Y214, described as a sister dialect of Yir-Yoront (Alpher, 1991:3-4).
  • Alpher, Barry. 100 word list for Australian languages ; Wik Mungkany, Yir Yiront and Yir Thangedl. PMS 14.
  • Alpher, Barry. 1973. Son of ergative: the Yir Yoront language of northeast Australia, Cornell University: PhD. (MS 77).
  • Alpher, Barry. 1991. Yir-Yoront lexicon: sketch and dictionary of an Australian language: Trends in Linguistics, Documentation 6. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 
The territory of these people lies in northeastern Queensland, on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, near the mouth of the Mitchell River, approximately between 15 and 15.15 south latitude. Most of the speakers of the language now live just south of their original territory, at the Mitchell River settlement (until May 1967 a Church of England Mission) (Alpher 1973:1). He gives the "main Yir Yoront" as living on the Coleman River and the northern half of Wallaby Island. Of these, the people living closest to the beach are known as pamlopm. The Yir Tjutjm are given as living on the southern part of Wallaby Island, the Kin Kopol to the east of the North Mitchell River, and the Yir Thangedl at the mouth of the South Mitchell River. People who characterize themselves as Yir Tjutjm say their territory is "Main Mitchell", or near the mouth of the Main Mitchell. Those designated by others as Kin Kopol usually refer to themselves as Yir Tjutjm, and apply the term Kin Kopol to groups father east, like the Yir Mayin (Alpher 1973:5). About mouth of Coleman River and the three widely separated mouths of the Mitchell River, extending along the coast between them and inland to about the limits of tidal waters. (Tindale) Most speakers of Yir-Yoront currently live at the settlement Kowanyama (formerly Mitchell River Missioin) a few live just to the north at Pormpuraaw (formerly Edward River Mission). Both settlements are former Anglican missions; both lie just outside traditional Yir-Yoront country (Alpher 1991:1)
Barry Alpher, Donald Emerson Crim
Indigenous organisations: 
Year Source Speaker numbers

Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.

Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).

Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Grammar Large grammar (more than 200 pages) 4
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Alpher, Barry. 1973. Son of ergative: the Yir Yoront language of northeast Australia, Cornell University: PhD.

Alpher, Barry. 1991. Yir-Yoront lexicon : sketch and dictionary of an Australian language. Berline: Mouton de Gruyter.
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Paman Yir Yoront Yir Yoront Yir Yoront [dialects: Dangedl (Dhanu'un, Djudjan, Dudjym), Gorminang, Jir'jorond (Jirmel Mel-Jir, Ngamba'wandh, Yirmel, Yirtangettle, Yir Thangedl, Yirtutiym).]
Dixon (2002) WESTERN CAPE YORK PENINSULA AREAL GROUP Coastal southwest Pama group Yir-Yoront (Yirr-Yorront, or Yirr-Thutjim) Yir-Yoront (Yirr-Yorront, or Yirr-Thutjim) Alpher (1991) further dialects: Yirrk-Thangalkl (=Yirr(k)-Mel)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Paman Yir Yoront
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Paman Western Pama Yir Yoront
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Western Pama Yir Yorond
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Pama-Maric Western Pama Yir Yoront (Koko Mindjan)
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Pama-Maric Western Pama Jir Joront