Kaddikkaddik ka-wokdjanganj 'Kaddikkaddik spoke': language and music of the Kun-barlang Kaddikkaddik songs from Western Arnhem Land

Isabel O'Keeffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Kaddikkaddik ‘oyster catcher’ songs are an endangered set of individually owned, didjeridu-accompanied songs, sung predominantly in Kun-barlang, a Gunwinjguan language from Western Arnhem Land. Performances of Kaddikkaddik ‘oyster catcher’ songs display considerable textual and musical variation. Berndt suggests that despite this variation there is a distinctive ‘sound’ that allows listeners to identify the songs, but admits that further musicological analysis is needed. In this paper I seek to address this need, and to evaluate the idea of a distinctive sound, by providing a musical and linguistic analysis of recorded Kaddikkaddik song performances. I outline variations that occur in the songs and note features of the songs that are distinctive within the wider musical and linguistic context of Western Arnhem Land.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalAustralian Journal of Linguistics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • textual variation
  • musical variation
  • Kun-barlang
  • Kun-borrk songs
  • rhythmic modes
  • spirit language
  • multilingualism

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