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.
This week’s word is kamula [pronounced cam-oo-la] from the Pitta Pitta language of the Boulia region. It is a new word, derived from Aboriginal English, meaning ‘camel’ and coincides with the Boulia Camel Races which will be held on 22 July. The event pays tribute to the rich history of camel trains and Afghan cameleers. The image below from the State Library collections shows a camel train arriving in Boulia from South Australia in the 1890’s.
Pitta Pitta is also written as Pitapita, Bitha Bitha, etc. and was spoken in the Boulia district. Linguistically, Blake believes Ringu-Ringu, Mayawarli, Kunkalanya, Ngulupulu, Karanya, and Rakaya are related dialects with many shared words.
State Library has several items in the collection relating to Pitta Pitta, including the Pitta Pitta Pictorial Dictionary developed by Desert Channels Queensland based on the work of Blake and Breen.
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-Nine 16-22 July 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 linguistic text in the State Library collections:
Blake, B.J. (1979b) “Pitta-Pitta”. In Dixon, R. M. W. & Blake, B. (Eds), The handbook of Australian languages 1, 182-242. G 499.15 1979
Camel train in front of Fielding’s general store in Boulia, Queensland. C. 1893. Negative number: 146128
References and Further Reading
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Pitta Pitta and neighbouring languages include the following:
Breen, J.G. (1990) Salvage Studies of Western Queensland Aboriginal Languages. J 499.15 bre
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
Desert Channels Queensland (2013) Pitta Pitta Pictorial Dictionary. Desert Channels Queensland: Longreach. JUVQ 499.9915 PIT
Dixon, R. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1981) Handbook of Australian Languages. The Australian National University Press; Canberra. G 499.15 1979
Holmer, N. (1988) Notes on Some Queensland Languages. Australian National University: Canberra. J 499.15 HOL
Meston, A. (undated) Archibald Meston Papers 1860-1960. OM64-17
Pittman, R. and Kerr, H. (Eds) (1964) Papers on the Languages of the Australian Aborigines. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. Q 499.15 pap
Boulia Camel Races website