Language of the Week: Week Seven - Kayardild
Welcome to Week Seven of the A-Z of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages!
This week's language of the week is Kayardild, a language spoken in the Gulf of Carpentaria, particularly North Wellesley Islands and the adjoining mainland. Kayardild is also written as Kaiadilt or Gayardilt while the language is also referred to as Maldanunda, Malununda which refers to the people of Bentinck Island. Linguistically, it is connected to the neighbouring language of Lardil spoken on Mornington Island as well as sharing words with Yukulta and Yangkaal which is spoken on the mainland. The map below shows the Kayardild and neighbouring languages.
According to Austlang, there were only a handful of fluent speakers identified in the 2016 National Indigenous Languages Survey. Nick Evans has undertaken linguist work with community members at Mornington and Bentinck Islands which was published as A Grammar of Kayardild, which is held in the State Library Collections. Paul Memmott and others have also undertaken archaeological studies of the region which have also documented language and cultural knowledge.
In addition, there are community language revival efforts on Bentinck and Mornington Islands - Kayardild people were moved from Bentinck Island in 1947-48 following a cyclone and accompanying tidal surge which destroyed most of the mission settlement. Mornington Island State School has published several children's books featuring Kayardild, Lardil and Yangkaal languages. A selection of these books are featured in the Jarjum Stories exhibition including cover image featured in the blog - Painting with Sally, which incorporates the art of Sally Gabori, a Kayardild artist.
Join State Library for next week's Language of the Week - Lamalama from the Cape York!
Indigenous Languages Coordinator, State Library of Queensland
State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Webpages
State Library of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Map
Spoken: Celebrating Queensland languages exhibition
Jarjum Stories exhibition
Minya Birran: What next for Indigenous Languages?
Cover image: Painting with Sally. JUV 994.0049915 MUR
Map of Wellesley Islands - from Memmott, P., Robins, R. and Stock, E. (2008) "What exactly is a fish trap? Methodological issues for the study of aboriginal intertidal rock wall fish traps, Wellesley Islands region, Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia." [Accessed from UQ eSpace]
References and Further Reading
State Library collections have some material relating to Kayardild and neighbouring languages; however, most of these items are part of larger, general linguistic or historical references on the Gulf islands. A selection of the Mornington Island State School children's books are featured in the following collection items:
Evans, N. (1995) A grammar of Kayardild : with historical-comparative notes on Tangkic. J 499.15 EVA
Jack, P. (2014) Turtle and wallaby : Barun ban Garnjin. Told by Phil Jack; illustrated by Year 2 students at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 JAC
Loogatha, D. (2014) Mission times. By Dolly Loogatha, edited by Cassy Nancarrow; illustrated by Year 9/10 boys at Mornington Island State School. JUV 994.38 LOO
Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (2014) Squid and Rat : a traditional Lardil story. Illustrated by Year 1 students at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 SQU
Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (2014) Sugarbag honey bees with Yeren and Balibal : a traditional Lardil story. Illustrated by Year 3 students at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 SUG
Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (2014) Two boys and two devils : a traditional Yangkaal story from Forsyth Island. Illustrated by Year 3 students at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 TWO
Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (2014) Seagull and Crane : a traditional Lardil story. Illustrated by Year 4 students at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 SEA
Mirndiyan Gununa Aboriginal Corporation (2014) Moon story : bidibil - gidigil : a traditional Lardil story. Illustrated by Year 7-8 boys at Mornington Island State School. JUV 299.9215 MOO
Nekes, H., Wurms, E. and McGregor, W. (2006) Australian Languages. J 499.15 NEK
Peters, G. (2014) Dugong hunting : gendabaliyagu. Told by Gully Peters; illustrated by Year 9/10 boys at Mornington Island State School. JUV 799.27559 PET
Tindale, N. B. (1962) Geographical knowledge of the Kaiadilt people of Bentinck Island. P 994.0049915 tin
Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper names. Q 994.0049915 tin