2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages: Word of the Week – Week Fifteen.

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.

thuwathu

State Library’s IYIL2019 Word of the Week: Week 15.

Week 15’s word is thuwathu [pronounced thoo-wah-thoo], from the Lardil language of Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria – it means ‘Rainbow Serpent’ a creation ancestor found in many language groups across Australia. Dick Roughsey published “The Rainbow Serpent” story in 1975 using Goorialla as another name that refers to the Rainbow Serpent.

Different language groups have their own word or name for the Rainbow Serpent as part of their Creation stories. For example in my language Gamilaraay, it is referred to as Garriya and has the head of a crocodile and the body of a snake.

The Rainbow Serpent by Dick Roughsey.

This week’s word is sourced from a community dictionary of Lardil compiled in 1997 by Ngakulmungan Kangka Leman and Ken Hale and published by the Mornington Shire Council. This text is found in the State Library collections and is one of the best sources for Lardil language. The following text refers to part of a Creation Story from Mornington Island.

kalajalala: Lardil Dictionary entry (1997).

Recent work includes a series of community and traditional stories illustrated by children from Mornington Island State School.

Seagull and CraneJUV 299.9215 SEA

These books and other children’s stories which have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language content will be showcased as part of an International Year of Indigenous languages exhibition in kuril dhagun.

Dugong HuntingJUV 799.27559 PET

Lardil is also known as Laierdila, Ladil and Kunana. Kununa is also spelt as Gunana and refers to the traditional name of Mornington Island.  Lardil is closely related to neighbouring languages of Yukulta, Kayardild and Yangkaal which are spoken on the North Wellesley and Bentinck Islands as well as the adjoining mainland. Linguistic research classifies these languages as the ‘tangkic’ group which is derived from tangka which means person in all four languages.

Squid and ratJUV 299.9215 SQU

Lardil is spoken by less than 50 people in the community and classed as critically endangered; it is one of the languages supported by the North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre.

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 Fifteen 9-15 April 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

References

The word of the week has been sourced from the following items in the State Library collections.

SourceLardil Dictionary: a vocabulary of the language of the Lardil people, Mornington Island. Compiled by Ngakulmungan Kangka Leman and Ken Hale. (1997) G 499.15 1997

Further Reading

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

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 IslandP 994.0049915 tin

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