Language Resources for Longreach and Central West Queensland

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The Information Guide has been developed to support individuals and communities in their research into the Aboriginal languages of Longreach and central west Queensland. It complements a community language workshop held in Longreach in June 2010.

Minimal language materials exist relating to the Longreach region; however there has been work undertaken during the 1970-80s in surrounding areas of the central west, notably by Breen. In terms of recent linguistic work in the area, there has been an absence of any definitive studies. Despite this limited research base, there has been some ongoing language activity in terms of community-based projects to revive or reclaim languages of the region.

Iningai/Yinangay has long been recognised as the main language group of Longreach, however the forced removals of local Aboriginal people has impacted on language and cultural revival. The region also has several neighbouring language groups which have similar or related languages. This is characteristic of their interaction with each other for trading, social and ceremonial activities.

There is enormous diversity across languages in the central west and north west regions, which is based on the Eyre Basin. In addition to the Dieri trading markets, regional groups also interacted with each other along the river/drainage systems of the Cooper, Thomson and Diamantina crossing the contemporary state boundaries.

Language Groups/Dialects of the central west, include the following groups:

Mt Isa Region

  • Mount Isa – Kalkatunga/Kalkadoon, Yalarrnga, Yanda
  • Cloncurry – Mitakoodi
  • Richmond – Mbara, Wunumara
  • Julia Creek – Jgawun, Mayi-Kulan
  • Hughenden - Yirandali

Winton: Guwa

Boulia: Pitta-Pitta, Wangkamana

Longreach: Iningai and Kuungkari
Desert Region [Birdsville, Windorah, Innamincka]

  • Wambaya, Alawa, Ngandji, Wakaya, Bularnu, Waluwarra, Wangkangurru, Birria,
    Maiawali, Karuwali, Wangkumara, Mithaka

Aramac: Dalleburra
South west Queensland

  • Bidjara
  • Margany
  • Kulilla

Note: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were oral-based; there may be several variations in the spelling of language names. The above list indicates the most commonly used name for languages/dialects of the Longreach and central west Queensland regions.

Languages Today

The traditional landscape changed dramatically with the settlement of the Longreach region in the late 1870-1900s period as the pastoral expansion spread to the central west. Those Aboriginals that survived the frontier conflict of this time were pushed to the fringe of towns in camps and later moved to missions such as Deebing Creek (via Ipswich), Taroom and later Woorabinda and Palm Island. There is evidence that many local Aboriginals remained in the area providing the workforce for cattle properties.

The Longreach region today has a small but active Aboriginal population comprising descendants of local groups as well as groups drawn from the surrounding regions, notably south west Queensland communities as well as western centres such as Winton, Windorah and Boulia. Many of these people have moved to Longreach for economic reasons as rural centres decline; however they still maintain familial and cultural links back to country.

Despite this fragmentation of Aboriginal culture, there are some language materials/resources, including recordings of speakers for the central west language groups – linguists such as Blake and Breen undertook linguistic surveys in the 1970-80s; however these tended to be on surrounding languages and not Iningai. In addition, there have been ongoing community-based initiatives to revive languages and culture in the Longreach and central west region.

Desert Channels Queensland, Longreach has worked with Traditional Owners in the Lake Eyre Basin to create a selection of pictorial dictionaries for languages in the region, e.g. Pitta Pitta and Waluwarra. Central Queensland Language Centre, based at Gidarjil in Bundaberg supports languages in the region.

Sources

There are additional reference materials for Longreach and central west Queensland located at The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Canberra – this material may include sound recordings, as well as vocabulary and word lists.
AIATSIS has an online catalogue: http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/collections/using-collection/search-collection

AIATSIS Language Select Bibliographies

The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) in Canberra has produced PDF versions of Select Bibliographies for a range of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. AIATSIS has a community access policy to provide copies of materials back to communities. The Select Bibliographies provide a list of materials held by AIATSIS relating to specific languages, including those from Longreach and central west Queensland. A full list of these can be found at http://aiatsis.gov.au/research/guides-and-resources/language-and-people-bibliographies

The Longreach area languages have been grouped under their respective names, e.g.:

The following list of print resources and other materials are useful starting points for language activities in schools, communities or public libraries – these items are held at State Library of Queensland, while further reference materials may be found in local/regional collections, including public libraries. Out-of-print materials may not be readily available and held in collecting institutions such as the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (Canberra).

Aguas, E.F. (1968) ‘Gudandji’ in Papers in Australian Linguistics 3. Pacific Linguistics A-14 Canberra: 1-20. Q 499.15 kin
Blake, B. and Breen, J. G.  (2007) An illustrated dictionary of Yulluna by domains. Yulluna Land Council and James Cook University: Mount Isa. J 499.51 ILL
Blake, B.J. (1967) A brief description of the Kalkatungu language. Pacific Linguistics Canberra. GSC 499.15 1967
Blake, B.J. (1979b) “Pitta-Pitta”. In Dixon, R. M. W. & Blake, B. (Eds), The handbook of Australian languages 1, 182-242. Canberra: ANU Press and Amsterdam: John Benjamins. G 499.15 1979
Blake, B.J. (1988) ‘Redefining Pama-Nyungan: towards the prehistory of Australian languages’ in N Evans and S Johnson (eds) Aboriginal Linguistics 1:1-90. UNE Department of Linguistics Armidale, NSW. J 499.15 ABOBreen, J. G. and Blake, B. (2007) The grammar of Yalarnnga: a language of western Queensland. Pacific Linguistics: Canberra. J 499.152 BRE
Breen, J.G. (1976) ‘Warluwara and Bularnu’ in R. M. W. Dixon (ed.) Grammatical Categories in Australian Languages, Linguistic Series No. 22, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies, Canberra. pp. 250-257, 331-335, 586-590. G 499.15 1976
Breen, J.G. (1981) The Mayi Languages of the Queensland Gulf Country. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Press. J 499.15 bre
Breen, J.G. (1990) Salvage Studies of Western Queensland Aboriginal Languages. Australia Pacific Linguistics Canberra. J 499.15 bre
Breen, J.G. (2003) 'Wanyi and Garrwa comparative data' in N Evans (ed.) The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia. Pacific Linguistics: Canberra. J 499.15 NON
Breen, J. G. (2004) Innamincka talk: a grammar of the Innamincka dialect of Yandruwandha with notes on other dialects. Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 BRE
Breen, J. G. (2004) Innamincka words: Yandruwandha dictionary and stories.Pacific Linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 INN
Chadwick, N. (1971) ‘Ngarndji Wordlist and Phonological Key’ in Papers on the Languages of Australian Aboriginals. Australian Aboriginal Studies 38. AIAS Canberra: 34-45. SER 499.15
Conrick, P. (1988) Dictionary of Dieri-Yantrawantra-Wangkumara tribes of the Cooper-Tibooburra-Innamincka areas. Patrick Conrick: Dareton. Q 499.15 con
Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. John Ferres Government Printer: Melbourne. RBF 572.994 cur
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Kalkadoon Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 KAL
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Pitta Pitta Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 PIT
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Waluwarra Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 WAL
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Koa Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 KOA
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Yulluna Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 YUL
Evans, N. (2003) (Ed.) The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia. Pacific Linguistics: Canberra. J 499.15 NON
Hercus, L. and Sutton, P. (1986) This is what happened: historical narratives by Aborigines.  Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. J 994.0049915 thi
Holmer, N. (1988) Notes on Some Queensland Languages. Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 HOL
Howitt, A.W. (reprint) (1996) The Native Tribes of South-East Australia. Australian Studies Press: Canberra. [Online access through SLQ]
Keen, S. (1983) ‘Yukulta’, in RMW Dixon and BJ Blake (eds.) Handbook of Australian Languages 3:190-304. ANU Press Canberra. G 499.15 1979
Macgillivray, A. (1886) “The Flinders and Cloncurry Rivers”. In E. M. Curr The Australian Race: Its Origins, Languages, Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which it Spread Itself over that Continent, pp.340-5. Melbourne: John Ferres, Government Printer. RBF 572.994 cur
Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers Undated. OM64-17
Mushin, I. (2012) A Grammar of (Western) Garrwa. De Gruyter: Boston. J 499.15 MUS
Nancarrow, C. (2014) Gangalidda to English Dictionary. Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation: Cairns. J 499.15 GAN
Nekes, H., Wurms, E. and McGregor, W. (2006) Australian Languages. Berlin: Mouton De Fruyter. J 499.15 NEK
Nordlinger, R. (1998) A Grammar of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia) C-140 Pacific Linguistics Canberra.G 499.15 1998
Pensalfini, R. (2003) A grammar of Jingulu grammar: an Aboriginal language of the Northern Territory. Pacific linguistics, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 PEN
Pittman, R. and Kerr, H. (Eds) (1964) Papers on the Languages of the Australian Aborigines. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra.Q 499.15 PAP
Prowse, D. (1994) English, Kalkadoon illustrated language book. Kalkadoon Language Prints: Mt Isa. P 499.15 PRO
Yallop, C. (1969) ‘The Aljawara and their territory’, Oceania 39(3): 187-197. [Online access via SLQ Databases]
Yallop, C. (1977) Alyawarra: an aboriginal language of Central Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. G 499.15 1977

General references and further reading in SLQ Collections

Australia (1992) Report of the Inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language Maintenance. House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Australian Government Printing Service: Canberra. G 499.15 1992
Department of Education, Employment and Training (DEET) (1995) Langwij comes to School. Curriculum Corporation: Canberra. G 372.60899915 1994
Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1981) Handbook of Australian Languages. The Australian National University Press; Canberra. G 499.15 1979
Dixon, R. and Ramson, W. (1992) Australian Aboriginal words in English. Oxford University Press: Melbourne. J 499.15 AUS
Gason, S. (1874) The Dieyerie tribe of Australian Aborigines. Government Printer: Adelaide. RBJ 305.8 GAS
Harman, D. & Henderson, J. (Eds) (1994) Aboriginal Languages in Education, IAD Press: Alice Springs. G 499.1507 1994
Hercus, L.; Hodges, F and Simpson, J. (2002) The land is a map: placenames of Indigenous origin in Australia. Pandanus Books: Canberra. Q 919.4003 LAN
Horton, D. (1994) Aboriginal Australia. (Map) Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies: Canberra. M 804 1999 04700 E
Queensland (2005) Engaging Queenslanders: introduction to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Queensland Government, Department of Communities: Brisbane. P 305.89915 ENG
Roth, W. (1897) Ethnological studies among the North-West-Central Queensland Aborigines. Government Printer: Brisbane. NAT 572.9943 ROT
Thieberger, N. and McGregor, W. (Eds) (1994) Macquarie Aboriginal Words: a dictionary of  words from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Macquarie University: North Ryde. J 499.15 M'QU


Further details:

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at SLQ, please contact:
Queensland Memory, State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place, South Brisbane Qld, 4101.
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane Qld, 4101.
t: (07) 3840 7666 f: (07) 3842 9126

SLQ Indigenous Languages Blog: http://blogs.slq.qld.gov.au/ilq/

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