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 mija [pronounced mee-jah] from the Dyirbal language of North Queensland. It means ‘living places’ and ties in with State Library’s IYIL2019 exhibitions which highlight the importance of place in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
The Dyirbal language is spoken in North Queensland along the Tully River and Johnston River Catchments. There are several dialects or related languages across the language Nation including Ngadjan, Waribarra Mamu, Dulgubarra Mamu, Jirrbal, Gulngay, Djirru, Girramay and Walmalbarra. Walsh (1981) further distinguishes Dyirribarra Mamu and Gambilbarra Dyirrbal.
Dyirbal is also written as Jirrbal, Djirbalngan, Jirrabul, Dyirbaldyi, Djirbal, etc. AIATSIS have identified Dyirbal as the standardised spelling and assigned it Austlang Language Code Y123 which is used by many collecting institutions in their catalogue descriptions. There are a small number of Dyirbal language speakers, particularly in the Jumbun community of Murray Upper. Several books published by the Jumbun community are held in the State Library collections and provide an insight into the community and their rich cultural knowledge.
There are a number of children’s books written in Dyirbal language – some of these feature in the Jarjum Stories exhibition in kuril dhagun Showcase. The most well-known is Narelle McRobbie’s work, Who’s that Jumbun in the log? and Bip the snapping bungaroo; other work includes Pamela Galeano’s Counting on country and Count back crocodile.
Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Forty-Four 29 October-4 November 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. 19 October 2019-10 May 2020.
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 2019-19 April 2020.
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.
Source: Dixon, R. M. W. (1972) The Dyirbal language of north Queensland. G 499.15 1972
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Dyirbal and neighbouring languages, include the following:
Dixon, R. M. W. (2015) Edible gender, mother-in-law style, and other grammatical wonders : studies in Dyirbal, Yidin, and Warrgamay. J 499.15 DIX
Galeano, P. (2010) Count on Country. JUVQ 513.211 GAL
Galeano, P. (2013) Count back crocodile. JUVQ 513.211 GAL
Girramay and Jirrbal people of Jumbun (1992) Jaban buningga nyajun wabungga = Eel cooking in the rainforest. P 305.89915 jab
Girramay and Jirrbal people of Jumbun (1992) Aboriginal life in the rainforest. Q 305.89915 abo
Girramay and Jirrbal people of Jumbun (1992) Garrimal wuju wabungga = Summer fruit of the rainforest. P 305.89915 gar
McRobbie, N. (2009) Who’s that jumbun in the log? JUVQ A823.3 M’RO
McRobbie, N. (2009) Bip the snapping bungaroo JUVQ A823.3 M’RO
Unknown (1978) Speaking Jirrbal and Girramay. P 499.15 SPE
Tindale, N. B. (1974) Aboriginal Tribes of Australia: Their Terrain, Environmental Controls, Distribution, Limits and Proper Names. Q 994.0049915 tin
State Library of Queensland: Dyirbal Everyday Words