Dhiiyaan (Family)

The word dhiiyaan (family) is based on dhii (totem).


  1. In some areas a person of the same bloodline or mother’s totem is called dhiiyaan-da (family+in).
  2. Family terms did not traditionally refer to the same people as in English, because they also reflected relationships according to skin groups and totems.
  3. The word badhii (grandmother) was traditionally used for ‘mother’s mother’, and mamaay for ‘father’s mother’. Similarly, dhaadhaa (grandfather) for ‘mother’s father’ and dhilaa/dhilaagaa for ‘father’s father’.
  4. Some family terms are/were ‘reciprocal’, where they refer to both people in the relationships, e.g. when grandparents also call their grandchildren by the same word the children call them, similar to English ‘granny’ in English referring to both grandmother and grandchild.

Please see the page for Yaadha Gunidjarr-gu (Mother's Day) for information about words for Mother/Mum.

Please see the dictionary for other words, and details about these words and how they relate to totems.

Dhiiyaan posters

A set of nine A4 size posters of different family members.
Some include the question and answer: Ngaandi nginu ___? X ngay ___.

Download pdf here:Dhiiyaan_posters.pdf

Dhiiyaan ngay (My family)

A template for children to draw their family.

Download pdf:
Download pdf:

Song: Warra-ya Dhiiyaan-da (Stand by your family)

Download sound file: Warra-ya-Dhiiyaan-da-Stand-by-your-Family.mp3


Set of seven small flashcards of family members for children to colour in, cut out, laminate, etc.

Download pdf here: Dhiiyaan_flashcards.pdf