As part of State Library’s commitment to the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages, we will be promoting a ‘word of the week’ from one of the 125+ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and dialects from across Queensland.
This week’s word is wairra [pronounced way-rah with rolled ‘r’] from the Kalkatungu / Kalkadoon language of the Mt Isa region – it means ‘heart, as the seat of emotion’. This week’s word coincides with Valentine’s Day; some Aboriginal languages such as Kalkatungu differentiate between physical and emotional love. Blake in his work indicates that Kalkatungu has two different words for ‘heart’ in the anatomical sense of the word – utunthukantha and yanuanti.
State Library holds a range of materials in the collections relating to Kalkatungu language and the Kalakadoon people of Mt Isa region. This material includes Picture Dictionaries such as the above image which shows the Kalkadoon Pictorial Dictionary developed by Desert Channels Queensland based on the work of Gavan Breen and Barry Blake.
The above image is from Blake’s 1979 work A Kalkatungu Grammar and shows the location of languages in the Mt Isa region. In addition to the work of Breen and Blake, State Library also has historical documents dating back to the 1880’s – a selection of further references can be found at the end of the post.
State Library of Queensland invites you to celebrate the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages as we raise awareness of the rich diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Seven 12-18 February 2019.
#IYIL2019 #IYIL #IY2019WordoftheWeek #SLQIndigenousLanguages
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
UN IY2019 Links
UN International Year of Indigenous Languages webpages
UN International Year of Indigenous Languages Resources
The word of the week has been sourced from the following linguistic text in the State Library collections.
Source: Blake, B. (1967) A brief description of the Kalkatungu language. GSC 499.15 1967
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Kalkatungu and neighbouring languages include the following:
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. J 499.15 bre
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
Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1981) Handbook of Australian Languages. The Australian National University Press; Canberra. G 499.15 1979
Holmer, N. (1988) Notes on Some Queensland Languages. Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 HOL
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 1860-1960. OM64-17
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
Roth, W. (1981) The Kalkadoons of North-West Queensland. Reprint of material from ‘North west central Queensland Aborigines’ by W.E. Roth (1897) Government Printer, Brisbane. P 305.89915 KAL