Language of the Week: Week Six - Jarowair
By dcrump | 4 July 2020
Welcome to Week Six of the A-Z of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages!
This week's language of the week is Jarowair, a language spoken in the Toowoomba district, particularly Toowoomba City and extending north towards Crow's Nest. Jarowair is also written as Yarrowair, Yarow-wair, Yarrow Wair while the language is also referred to as Barunggam or Djakunda. Linguistically, it is part of the Wakka Wakka language chain and shares similar words and grammar. Due to limited linguistic data, there is some uncertainty over the status of Jarowair as it may be a clan group or a dialect of Wakka Wakka.
The Jarowair language region includes the landscape within the local government boundaries of the Toowoomba Regional Council, particularly Toowoomba north to Crow’s Nest and west to Oakey. Giabal is the Southern neighbour in Toowoomba City; however, while Giabal is related to the Bundjalung chain of languages, there were shared words between the two languages.
Austlang indicates that Jarowair has minimal speakers and is considered endangered. There is an historical wordlist entitled 'Toowoomba language' collected by Meston in 1875 when he was the editor of the Darling Downs Gazette. Harriet Barlow includes some Jarowair words in her Aboriginal Dialects of Queensland papers. A further limited list of words was recorded by Joshua Bell at Jimbour Station. These items represent the only material for the language and provided the basis for contemporary linguistic work by Holmer, Kite and Wurm and more recent community-based work undertaken by the Condamine Alliance.
Condamine Alliance Resource: Languages of the Condamine - Jarowair Vocabulary.
The above image depicts a Jarowair word list from the Condamine Alliance, developed as part of a community project in 2013 which documented languages along the Condamine River Catchment. This resource is held in the State Library collections and includes a learning kit for schools as well as words and basic vocabulary structures for several languages along the Condamine River.
Join State Library for next week's Language of the Week - Kayardild from the Gulf of Carpentaria!
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?
Postcard: Margaret Street, Toowoomba c. 1906. State Library Image Number: 4831-0005-0194
Condamine Alliance Resource: Languages of the Condamine - Jarowair Vocabulary. P 499.9915 LAN
References and Further Reading
State Library collections have some material relating to Jarowair and the Toowoomba languages; however, most of these items are part of larger, general linguistic or historical references on Toowoomba and the Darling Downs. Collection items include the following:
Harriet Barlow Manuscript ca. 1865. OM91-69
Condamine Alliance (2013) Languages of the Condamine: schools Activity guide. P 499.9915 LAN
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. RBF 572.994 cur
Feehely, D. (1997) The fire people 1830s-1930s: a history of the Burra, the Aboriginal people of the Eastern Darling Downs. Q 305.89915 fee
Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern Queensland. Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 HOL
Kite, S. & Wurm, S. (2004) The Duungidjawu language of Southeast Queensland: Grammar texts and vocabulary. J 499.15 KIT
OM64-17 Archibald Meston Papers
Riethmuller, N. (2006) The Darling Downs Aborigines, 1787-2004: genocide and survival. P 994.33 RIE
L R Schwennesen Papers. M 292
Steele, J. G. (1984) Aboriginal Pathways in Southeast Queensland and the Richmond River. Q 994.3102 ste
Watson, F. J. (1944) Vocabularies of Four Representative Tribes of South Eastern Queensland. REFJ 499.15 wat
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