Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development by R. M. W. Dixon

By R. M. W. Dixon

Aboriginal humans were in Australia for no less than 40,000 years, talking approximately 250 languages. via exam of released and unpublished fabrics on all the person languages, Dixon surveys the ways that the languages fluctuate typologically and provides a profile of this customary linguistic region. The areal distribution of so much good points is illustrated with greater than 30 maps and an index of languages and language teams is supplied.

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McConvell (1985) undertook a detailed and perceptive study of the distribution of subsection systems and the names for the subsections. These names have masculine and feminine prefixes which McConvell identifies as originating in NCa2, Nungali, spoken just north of the lower Victoria River, Northern Territory. By examination of the forms of subsection terms he suggests that the system came about through the amalgamation of two existing section systems, one originating in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and the other originating south of Darwin.

There is no accepted overall name. I have employed ‘Dyirbal’ as a label for this linguistic language; it is an alternative spelling of the name for a central dialect (Jirrbal) which had the most remaining speakers when I began linguistic work, in 1963. But speakers prefer to refer to their tribal language names – Girramay, Ngadjan, and so on. Throughout this work I have had to make up names (like Dyirbal) for what are languages on linguistic criteria; they are simply labels of convenience. I have had to make decisions concerning ‘what is a language (in the linguistic sense)’ and ‘what is a dialect’.

And THUS they speak Jawoyn. The Australian Aborigines never developed agriculture. Like almost all huntergatherer communities across the world, there is no chief and no set of stratified social classes. Everyone in a tribe has specific social obligations towards everyone else, according to a finely articulated classificatory kinship system. Aboriginal religion is, in large part, pragmatic. It is believed that ancestral spirits created the country, and the places and foodstuffs in it; knowledge about them is handed down from generation to generation.

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