Burarra language

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Burarra
Region Northern Territory
Native speakers
800 (2005) to 1,070  (2006 census)[1]
Dialects
Gun-narta (Gidjingaliya, Anbarra)
Gun-nartpa (Gudjarlabiya)
Gun-narda (Martay)
Language codes
ISO 639-3 bvr
Glottolog bura1267[2]
AIATSIS[1] N82

Burarra is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken by the Burarra people of Arnhem Land. It has several dialects.

Other names and spellings include Barera, Bawera, Burada, Bureda, Burera, An-barra, Gidjingaliya, Gu-jingarliya, Gu-jarlabiya, Gun-Guragone (also used for Guragone), Jikai, Tchikai.

The Djangu people have a Burarra clan, which is sometimes confused with this language.[3]

Classification[edit]

Burarra is a prefixing non-Pama-Nyungan language. Along with Gurr-goni, it makes up the Burarran branch of the Maningrida language family (which also includes Ndjébbana and Na-kara).[4][5][6]

Distribution[edit]

The Burarra people are from the Blyth and Cadell River regions of Central and North-central Arnhem Land, but many now reside further west in Maningrida township at the mouth of the Liverpool River.[4][7]

Dialects[edit]

Glasgow (1994) distinguishes three dialects of Burarra: Gun-nartpa (Mu-golarra/Mukarli group from the Cadell River region), Gun-narta (An-barra, western side of the mouth of the Blythe River), and Gun-narda (Martay, eastern side of the Blythe River). These dialect names derive from each dialect's word for the demonstrative 'that'. She further notes that the two latter dialects (Gun-narta and Gun-narda) are frequently grouped together and referred to by their eastern neighbours as 'Burarra', and by themselves as 'Gu-jingarliya' ('language'/'with tongue').

Green (1987) distinguishes two dialects: Gun-nartpa and Burarra (Gu-jingarliya), but notes that noticeable dialectal differences exist within the group of Burarra speakers.

Grammar[edit]

Burarra is a prefixing, multiple-classifying language. Verbs co-reference their subjects and objects through the use of prefixes, and inflect for tense and status. Serial verbs can be used to express categories like aspect, compound action and causation.[4]

Nouns inflect for case and belong to one of four noun classes (an-, jin-, mun- and gun-).[4][7]

Further reading[edit]

Capell, A. 1942. Languages of Arnhem Land, North Australia. Oceania, 12 (4), 364-392.

Elwell, Vanessa. 1977. Multilingualism and lingua francas among Australian Aborigines: A case study of Maningrida. Honours Thesis, Australian National University.

Elwell, Vanessa. 1982. Some social factors affecting multilingualism among Aboriginal Australians: a case study of Maningrida. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 36: 83-103.

Glasgow, Kathleen. 1981. Burarra phonemes. In Work papers of SIL-AAB, series A (Vol. 5). Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Glasgow, Kathleen. 1994. Burarra–Gun-nartpa dictionary with English finder list. Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Green, Rebecca. 1987. A sketch grammar of Burarra. Honours Thesis, Australian National University Canberra.

Green, R. 2003. Proto Maningrida within Proto Arnhem: evidence from verbal inflectional suffixes. In N. Evans (Ed.), The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of Northern Australia: comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region (pp. 369–421). Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Handelsmann, Robert. 1996. Needs Survey of Community Languages: Central Arnhem Land, Northern Territory (Maningrida and Outstations). Report to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, Canberra.

Trefry, D. (1983). Discerning the back vowels /u/ and /o/ in Burarra, a language of the Australian Northern Territory. Working papers of the Speech and Language Research Centre, 3 (6), pp. 19–51.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Burarra at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  2. ^ Nordhoff, Sebastian; Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2013). "Burarra". Glottolog. Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. 
  3. ^ Burarra (Djangu) at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ a b c d Green, Rebecca (1987). A sketch grammar of Burarra. Canberra: Honours thesis, Australian National University. 
  5. ^ Elwell, Vanessa (1977). Multilingualism and lingua francas among Australian Aborigines: A case study of Maningrida. Canberra: Honours Thesis, Australian National University. 
  6. ^ O'Grady, G.N.; Voegelin, C.F. (1967). "Languages of the world: Indo-Pacific Fascicle Six". Anthropological Linguistics. 
  7. ^ a b Glasgow, Kathleen (1994). Burarra–Gun-nartpa dictionary with English finder list. Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics. 
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