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.
To coincide with the Melbourne Cup, this week’s word is yaraman [pronounced yah-rah-man]; variations of the word is found in most Queensland languages and means ‘horse’!
The word is believed to originate from the Sydney area, possibly Dharug language and is derived from yira / yeira meaning teeth and refers to ‘something with big teeth belonging to man’; hence “yaraman”. Historical records also indicated that another word yanyuwa was also used in the Sydney region when referring to horse.
As settlement extended away from the Sydney area, the word was ‘borrowed’ and passed along all the way to Cape York! Other variations on the word include: yarraman, yadaman, yardaman,yarraaman, etc. The Queensland town of Yarraman was also named after ‘horse’.
While many languages have borrowed Yaraman; there are records of older, traditional words used at the point of contact. Barumbi or brumby originates from Western NSW and Western Queensland and is also well-known referring to a ‘wild horse.
The use of Yaraman shows the living nature of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages; this dynamic nature of community language will be a feature of State Library’s upcoming language exhibitions. Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Forty-Five 5-11 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 to 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 is sourced from a number of languages across Queensland.
Commissioner for Railways (1914) Nomenclature of Queensland railway stations. GSB 929.409943 1914
Dixon, R. M. W., Moore, B., Ramson, W. and Thomas, M. (2006) 2nd edn. Australian Aboriginal Words in English. J 499.15 AUS
Hammett, I. (2013) Tharnggan. Illustrated by Donna Cobus. JUV 499.15 HAM
Horses at Surbiton Station, Alpha District, Queensland, ca. 1940. JOL Negative number: 170667
“Patrobas, Winner of the Melbourne Cup”. The Queenslander Pictorial, supplement to The Queenslander, 13 November, 1915.