2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages: Word of the Week – Week Forty-One.

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 41.

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.

Languages of Cape York, Q499.15 lan

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.

Wet season shelter, Weipa. JOL Negative number: 111849.

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.

Messmate canoe-making at Aurukun IKC. Photo – Noel Waterman.

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.

Closeup detail of canoe, Queensland Museum.

Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!

Week Forty-One 8-14 October 2019.

#slqIYIL #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. 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

References

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.

Further Reading

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 NamesQ 994.0049915 tin

Weblinks

Pama Language Centre