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 word of the week for week eighteen coincides with Mother’s Day – apu from the Kala Lagaw Ya language of Western Torres Straits meaning ‘mother’. This week’s word was suggested by Mabalene Whap, IKC Coordinator, Seisia.
Seisia on Northern Peninsula Area at the tip of Cape York was formerly known as Red Island Point. It is also known as Ithunchi in its Aboriginal language. Following a series of king tides flooding villages on Saibai Island, a number of families moved to the Mainland in June 1947. More families followed in 1950 and 1951, living in old army huts before Department of Native Affairs built new housing in 1955.
In 1977, the community at Red Island Point became officially known as Seisia. The name ‘Seisia’ was taken from the first letters of the names of Mugai Elu’s fathers and brothers – Sunai, Elu, Ibuai, Sagaukaz, Isua and Aken.
Seisia is one of the five Northern Peninsula Area (NPA) communities – the others being Bamaga, Injinoo, New Mapoon and Umagico. The language profile of the communities include languages from the Torres Strait Islands, Cape York alongside various Creoles and Aboriginal Englishes. This reflects the original communities from which people were moved to the NPA.
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 Nineteen 7-13 May 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 items in the State Library collections.
Source: Haddon, A. (1971) Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Strait. Q 994.38 CAM
Suggested by Mabalene Whap, IKC Coordinator, Seisia.
Image: View from the north of two vessels tied up at Red Island Point jetty at Seisia, Queensland, ca. 1962. SLQ Image 2804-0037-0008
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Kala Lagaw Ya and neighbouring languages of the Torres Strait include the following:
Aragu, B. Moegina Pawlaw Ya (Little Hen Story). P398.2 ara
Babia, M. and Day, E. Torres Strait Picture Dictionary. JUVQ 499.1503 tor
Bani, E. and Nona, D. Dabu: the baby dugong = Dabu : kazi dhangal. CLP SOL 1992
Davies, A. Notes 1924-1925. OM66-02/3
Edwards, R. Some songs from the Torres Strait. Q 782.5162 SOM
Edwards, R. (ed) Dictionary of Torres Strait languages. Q 499.1503 RAY
Eseli, P. Eseli’s Notebook. S 306.089 001
Ford, K. Ober, D. “A sketch of Kalaw Kawaw Ya”. In Language in Australia, ed. Romaine, S. 118-142. G 409.94 1991
Holmer, N. Notes on Some Queensland Languages. J 499.15 HOL
Jukes, J. Narrative of the surveying voyage of the HMS Fly. J 919.43 JUK
Lawrie, M. Myths and legends of the Torres Strait. Q 398.2099438 MYT
Lawrie, M. The Margaret Lawrie Collection of Torres Straits Materials. TR2082
MacGillivray, J. Narrative of the Voyage of the HMS Rattlesnake. G 994.02 1967
Mosby, L. Stephens, N and Teske, T. D is for dari : a Torres Strait picture dictionary. P 994.38 MOS
Ray, S. Dictionary of Torres Strait Languages. Q 499.1503 RAY
Scragg, S. Retold: A retelling of stories and songs from Myths and Legends of the Torres Strait by Margaret Lawrie. DVD 27464
Shnukal, A. Broken, an introduction to the Creole language of Torres Strait. J 427 shn
For further information on the languages of the Torres Strait Islands, contact the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) which has administrative responsibility for the region and is working towards a language centre for the Torres Strait.