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 of the week is ndhan [pronounced n-darn] which is from the Linngithigh language of Cape York meaning ‘messmate bark’. Linngithigh is also known as Lenigniti, Winduwinda, Winda Winda, Adetingiti, Andyinit, etc. The term Winda Winda refers to a creek in the language area which extends between the Archer and Mission Rivers on Western Cape York.
Linngithigh share words with the neighbouring languages of Anguthimri, Nggerikudi and Mpakwithi. There is some linguistic material collected by Roth as well as more recent linguistic work by Sutton, Hale, Crowley and others. Austlang indicates there are some community members with language knowledge; however, it is classed as endangered.
Messmate bark is the main source for traditional canoes on Eastern Australia, notably Cape York but also used as far south as Sydney. The above image from the collections shows messmate bark is also used for shelters. Messmate (stringybark Eucalyptus tertradonta) is the primary material for what is termed ‘sewn’ canoes. The technique involves a single sheet of messmate bark being shaped then stitched together with hibiscus bark.
This knowledge is still being used today; the flexi-school students at Aurukun IKC have been working with Elders to recreate a range of canoe craft. Traditional knowledge including canoes will be a feature of State Library’s upcoming Spoken language exhibition. The Aurukun IKC canoe will sit alongside an example from the Queensland Museum collected by Ursula McConnell in the 1930’s from Aurukun. The image below shows the detail in the stitching of the messmate bark.
Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Forty-One 8-14 October 2019.
#slqIYIL #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
Jarjum stories: A kuril dhagun showcase focusing on children’s books and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Opens 19 October 2019.
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. Opens 21 November 2019.
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 item in the State Library collections.
Sources: Sutton, P. (ed) (1974) Languages of Cape York: papers presented to the Linguistic Symposium, Part B, held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Biennial General Meeting, May, 1974. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. G 499.15 1976
Images: Wet season shelter, Weipa. JOL Negative number: 111849.
Messmate canoe making at Aurukun IKC. Photo – Noel Waterman, IKC Coordinator.
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to
Linngithigh and neighbouring languages, include the following:
Dixon, R. M. W. and Blake, B. (Eds) (1981) Handbook of Australian languages, vol. 2. J 499.15 HAN
Roth, W. E. (1898-1903) “Reports to the Commissioner of Police and others, on Queensland aboriginal peoples 1898-1903.” FILM 0714
Sutton, P. (ed) (1974) Languages of Cape York: papers presented to the Linguistic Symposium, Part B, held in conjunction with the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Biennial General Meeting, May, 1974. Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies: Canberra. G 499.15 1976
Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits and Proper Names. Q 994.0049915 tin