KLRC Overview

Kriol is a language spoken across the north of Australia, from WA into the Northern Territory and part of Queensland. The spelling of the name is a version of ‘creole’. There are many creole languages spoken around the – the majority came in to being as a result of colonisation. The Kriol spoken across the north of Australia varies from east to west, and there are several dialects, even within the Kimberley region.

Kimberley Kriol Orthography

The first orthography for Kriol was developed in the Northern Territory. For many years speakers of Kimberley Kriol raised the following issues:

  • the difference between Northern Territory and Kimberley dialects of Kriol;
  • the desire to have an identifiable writing system for Kimberley Kriol;
  • the need to write Kriol in such a way that it will support the teaching of English literacy

A group of Kriol speakers in the Kimberley requested help in writing Kriol, particularly for use in stories for young children. The Kimberley Language Resource Centre and Department of Education and Training Kimberley District Education Office responded by organising two workshops, in September 2003 and June 2004.

By the end of the first workshop, an initial orthography was agreed on. Between workshops many practised using this orthography in order to provide feedback for the next workshop.

In June 2004, minor changes were made and a trial orthography was agreed on for wider use. It was decided to call it Kimberley Kriol Orthography. Below is a list of the letters being used as of 2010 with an English word and picture to illustrate the sound.

Kimberley Kriol Alphabet and Sound Chart

a – apool

ai – rain

ar – card

b – booloomun

d – doldol

dd – munguddee

e – egk


eye – heye

f – famlee

g – gwanu

h – han

i – insied

ie – meedpie

ir – tirdil

j – jelee

k – kamp

l – lolee

m – munee

n – nes

ng – fishing

ngg – manggoa


o – orinj

oa – road

oi – toiyoadu

oo – book

oo – boot

or – stor

ou – toun

p – popgorn

r – ribu

s – snaik


t – tieyu



u – ununeet

w – winmil

y – yard

Kriol speakers (from Kimberley Government and Independent Schools) developed and authorized this orthography in 2003.
This chart is provided (and can be printed) for Kriol speakers to write their language. It is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes.
Photographs and design ©Annette Millar.

We acknowledge the old people, elders and language speakers who have passed.

Please be aware their images or voice may appear on this website.