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.

IYIL2019 Word of the Week: Week 8.

This week’s word is yanga [pronounced young-ah] from the Baradha language of Central Queensland, extending from Lotus Creek along the inland ranges, particularly the Connors Ranges towards Nebo – it means ‘mother’. This week’s word coincides with International Mother Language Day which is celebrated on 21 February; follow State Library on Twitter to discover more words relating to ‘mother’ from other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Curr (1887) Port Denison to Cape Gloucester.

yanga is used in several languages across Central and Southern Queensland. Baradha is closely related to neighbouring languages and is considered to be part of the Biri language chain – these groups include Biri, Wiri, Yangga, Yilba, Miyan, Gabulbarra, Baranha, Yambina, Yetimarala, Gariynbal. All of these languages and dialects have many shared words such as yanga. The above image taken from Curr (1887) shows a word list from Port Denison (present-day Bowen) from Giya language. Giya takes in Proserpine and is a northern neighbour to Baradha.

Terrill, A. (1998) Biri. J 499.15 TER

Angela Terrill”s work Biri is an excellent source of information on Baradha and neighbouring languages of Central Queensland; Terrill draws upon historical sources and wordlists from the Central Queensland region. Additional material for Baradha includes the Meston Notebooks as well as W E Roth’s 1901 report “The Aborigines of Rockhampton”, while contemporary linguistic work was undertaken by Breen in 2009.

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 Eight 19-25 February 2019.

#IYIL2019 #IYIL #IY2019WordoftheWeek #SLQIndigenousLanguages


Desmond Crump

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: Terrill, A. (1998) Biri. J 499.15 TER 

Further Reading

Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Baradha and neighbouring languages include the following:

Breen, G. (2009) “The Biri dialects and their neighbours”. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia, V133, No.2. SER 506.942

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

Holmer, N. (1983) Linguistic Survey of South-Eastern QueenslandJ 499.15 HOL

Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers 1860-1960. OM64-17

Roth, W. (1898) The Aborigines of the Rockhampton and surrounding coast districts. Microfilm. FILM 0714

Thozet, A. (1866) Notes on some of the roots, tubers, bulbs, and fruits used as vegetable food by the Aboriginals of northern Queensland, Australia. [Available online through SLQ]

Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits and proper namesQ 994.0049915 tin