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 puuya [pronounced boo-yah] from the Umpila language of Cape York. It means ‘the soul’ or ‘the heart’ which is a reminder that language is an important part of identity that shapes who we are as people in a changing world.
Umpila is also known as Ompeila, Ompela, Koko-umpilo, etc. is spoken in the Princess Charlotte Bay region of Cape York. There are several related languages in the region including Kuuku Ya’u and Kaanju. Umpila has a small number of speakers, notably in Lockhart River Community.
Language has been a feature of children’s stories from Lockhart including the PCAP (Priority Country Area Program) Books of the 1980s – the image above for the Jarjum Stories exhibition is from Greg Omeenyo from his story “The Crocodile”.
Recent resource development for Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u includes a set of readers developed by Clair Hill and David Thompson with the Lockhart River community. This resource kit is in the State Library collections and comprises a series of booklets and audio to create a set of learning modules. Ongoing work supported through AIATSIS has incorporated the use of technology and multimedia for language revival and maintenance.
Community language projects such as these ensure the soul of language is kept strong for the next generation. This is the essence of language and a theme which features in State Library’s IYIL2019 exhibitions.
Join the conversation as we post a new word for each week!
Week Fifty-One 17-23 December 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 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. 21 November 2019 to 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: Thompson, D. (1988) Lockhart River ‘sand beach’ language : an outline of Kuuku Ya’u and Umpila. J 499.15 THO
Other materials in the State Library collections relating to Umpila and neighbouring languages include the following:
Charles, B., Neuenfeldt, K. and Pegrum, N. (2006) Ba’il muzik Kincha Ngumpulungu songs from the East Coast Lockhart River. HCD 782.42162 BAI
Curr, E. M. (1887) The Australian Race: its origins, languages, customs, place of landing in Australia and the routes by which it spread itself over that continent. RBF 572.994 cur
Hill, C. and Thompson, D. (2012) Lockhart River language readers Umpila and Kuuku Ya’u languages. HKT 418 HIL
Omeenyo, G. (1987) The crocodile. JUV A823.3 ome
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
Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS)