Language Snapshots

Kalaw Kawaw Ya (Saibai Island, Western Torres Strait Islands, Australia) - Language Snapshot 


  • Alistair Harvey


Kalaw Kawaw Ya is spoken on the three most northerly Western Torres Strait Islands of Saibai, Boigu, and Dauan, as well as the Saibai Island satellite communities of Bamaga and Seisia which are situated on the Australian mainland Northern Cape York Peninsula Area. The majority of Saibai Islanders (Watkin-Lui 2012 suggests 85% of Torres Strait Islanders) live on the Australian mainland, with approximately 300 living on Saibai, and around 1,000 living between the communities of Bamaga and Seisia. Kalaw Kawaw Ya (KKY) is strongest amongst senior Saibaians with young people now speaking either the Torres Strait Creole language of Yumplatok and/or English. There are continuing efforts to revitalise KKY. 


SaibaiBoiguDauanNorthern Cape York Peninsula
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 20
  • Page/Article: 75-85
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd36
  • Published on 30 Jun 2021