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

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 45.

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 Queenslander, 13 November 1915.

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.

Nomenclature of Queensland railway stations, GSB 929.409943 1914

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’.

Horses at Surbiton Station, Alpha District, Queensland, ca. 1940. JOL Negative No. 170667.

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.

Tharngaan Guugu Yimithirr language .

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

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. 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

References

The word of the week is sourced from a number of languages across Queensland.

Further Reading

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.