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

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.

State Library’s IYIL2019 Word of the Week: Week 16.

To coincide with Easter, Week 16’s word is bilby [pronounced bill-bee], from the Yuwaalayaay language of South-West Queensland and North-West NSW– meaning ‘Bilby or Rabbit-eared bandicoot’. It has become very popular in recent times as an alternative to the Easter bunny!

Bilby: Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaalayaay Dictionary entry.

This week’s word is sourced from a community dictionary of Yuwaalayaay compiled in 1998 by John Giacon and Ian Sim drawing on the knowledge of language speakers, including Mrs G. Rose, Willie Willis, Greg Fields and Mrs West. Yuwaalayaay was spoken along the Queensland-NSW border, including Goodooga and Walgett and extending into South-West Queensland.

The word bilby is derived from ‘bilba‘ which is used in both Yuwaalayaay and the neighboring language Yuwaalaraay.  There is also another word used for the bilby and that is dhuluun.gayaa which is based on dhulu meaning ‘stick’ and refers to the way that a bilby’s tail stands up like a stick when it is running while gayaa is based on gayaay meaning ‘sandy country’.

Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaalayaay Dictionary. J499.1503 GAM

Yuwaalayaay is also known as Yuwalyai, Euahlayi, Yualai, Yualeai, etc. and is closely related to neighbouring languages of Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay. Linguistic research indicates Yuwaalayaay is spoken by less than 20 people in the community and classed as critically endangered; it is one of the languages supported by the Walgett Language Program.

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 Sixteen 16-22 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

Jarjum stories: A kuril dhagun showcase focusing on children’s books and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. 19 October 2019-10 May 2020.

Spoken: celebrating Queensland languages: A major exhibition exploring the survival and revival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages throughout Queensland. Join in the many talks and events to celebrate the rich and diverse languages spoken today. Opens21 November 2019 -19 April 2020.

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.

Source: Giacon, J. and Sim, I. (1998) Yuwaalayaay, the language of the Narran River. P 499.15 yuw

Further Reading

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

Ash, A., Giacon, J. and Lissarrague, A. (2003) Gamilaraay, Yuwaalaraay, Yuwaalayaay Dictionary. J 499.1503 GAM

Barlow, H. (1865) Harriet Barlow Manuscript. Provides the basis for her work “Aboriginal Vocabularies of Queensland”. OM91-69

Duncan, B. and White, H. (2014)  Speaking our way : a collection of Aboriginal languages of the Northern Tablelands of NSW J 499.15 SPE

Giacon, J. (1999) Yuwaalaraay/Gamilaraay Wordlist. P 499.1503 yuw

Giacon, J. and Sim, I. (1998) Yuwaalayaay, the language of the Narran River. P 499.15 yuw

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

Ridley, W. (1875) 2nd edn, Kamilaroi and other Australian Languages. Q 499.15 rid

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

Wafer, J. and Lissarrague, A. (2008) A handbook of Aboriginal languages of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. J 499.15 WAF