2019 INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES ‘WORD OF THE WEEK’: WEEK TWENTY-EIGHT.

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 28.

State Library’s ‘word of the week’ for Week Twenty-Eight is gijar [pronounced gee-jar], from the Yidinji language of the Cairns region in Far North Queensland. It means ‘paint a mark’ referring to painting up for dance as well as art work.


Mavis Ngallametta in front of her artwork at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns, 2014.
Image number: 31520-0001-0089

This week’s word coincides with the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF) which showcases Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. CIAF runs from 10-14 July and this year celebrates its’ Tenth Anniversary as well as highlighting the International Year of Indigenous Languages within the program.

Yidinj and neighbouring languages, Dixon (1977).

Yidinji is also written as Yidinj, Yidiny, Yidinjdji, etc. and was spoken in the Cairns region south to Gordonvale and along the coastal ranges. Linguistically, it is related to the neighbouring languages of Gunggay, Madjay and Wanjurru. 

Yidinji wordlist, Gribble.

There are some historical wordlists collected in the late 19th Century by Roth, Meston and Gribble, including the image above of “Yetinjie”.

Far North Queensland language resources.

However, most of the linguistic research for Yidinji has been undertaken by Robert Dixon who has worked in the region from the 1960’s. Dixon’s 1977 publication A Grammar of Yidinj provides a comprehensive overview of Yidinji and neighbouring groups.

Bellenden Ker Flora, Meston (1889).

Yidinji is undergoing revitalisation across the region – there are community members with language knowledge; however, it is considered endangered. The revival efforts of community members are 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 Twenty-Eight 9-15 July 2019.

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

Sources: This week’s word of the week has been sourced from the following items in the State Library collections.

Dixon, R. M. W. (1977) A grammar of Yidin. G 499.155 1977

Dixon, R. M. W. (1991) Words of our country: stories, place names and vocabulary in Yidiny, the Aboriginal language of the Cairns-Yarrabah region. G 499.15 1991

Image

Mavis Ngallametta in front of her artwork at the Cairns Indigenous Art Fair, Cairns, 2014. Image number: 31520-0001-0089

References and Further Reading

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

Archibald Meston Papers. OM64-17

Bottoms, T. (1992) The Bama: people of the rainforest: Aboriginal-European relations in the Cairns rainforest region up to 1876. P 994.36 bot

Davis, G. (Nungabana) (2000) The Mullunburra “People of the Mulgrave River”. P 303.089 NUN

Dixon, R. M. W. (1977) A grammar of Yidin. G 499.155 1977

Dixon, R. M. W. (1991) Words of our country: stories, place names and vocabulary in Yidiny, the Aboriginal language of the Cairns-Yarrabah region. G 499.15 1991

Gribble, E. R. B. (1930) Forty years with the Aborigines. G 266.0994 1930

Gribble, E. R. B. Journals and notebooks re Tumbarumba and Yarrabah, 1891-93. FILM 0641

Meston, A. (1889) Bellenden-Ker Range (Wooroonooran) North Queensland: report. RBQ 574.99436 mes

Roth, W. (1903) Reports to the Commissioner of Police and others, on Queensland aboriginal peoples 1898-1903. FILM 0714

Websites

Cairns Indigenous Art Fair (CIAF)

North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre