Biri language

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Biri
Eastern Maric
Native toAustralia
RegionQueensland
EthnicityBiria, Kangulu, Wiri, Yuibera, Yilba, Barada, Yambina, Yetimarala, Karingbal, Yangga, Giya (Bumbarra), Baranha, Miyan
Dialects
  • Biri
  • Garaynbal
  • Gangulu
  • Baradha
  • Yambina
  • Yangga
  • Yilba
  • Wiri (Widi)
  • Giya (Bumbarra)
  • Yetimarala/Yetimarla
  • Yuwi (Yuipera)?
  • Mandalgu?
Language codes
ISO 639-3Variously:
bzr – Biri
gnl – Gangulu
xgi – Garingbal
Glottologeast2716[1]
AIATSIS[2]E56 Biri, etc.

Biri, also known as Biria, Birri Gubba, Birigaba, Wiri, Perembba and other variants, is an Australian Aboriginal language of the Mackay area of Queensland spoken by the Biri people. There are at least eight languages regarded as dialects of Biri, and two which are related but whose status is not yet fully determined (see infobox). All are covered in this article.

A grammar of Biri proper was written before the language became nearly extinct. As of January 2020 some of the dialects have been undergoing a revival for some years.

Dialects[edit]

Map of traditional lands of Aboriginal people around Mackay, Rockhampton and Gladstone in Queensland

The following languages are regarded as confirmed dialects of Biri by the AUSTLANG database maintained by AIATSIS. Only one alternative name is given, for brevity; most have many more. All of these dialects appear to be extinct; AUSTLANG shows no speakers for any of them since 1975.

  • E38: Garaynbal (Garingbal)[3]
  • E40: Gangulu (Kaangooloo)[4]
  • E48: Baradha (Thar-ar-ra-burra)[5]
  • E51: Yambina (Jampal)[6]
  • E52: Yangga (Jangga)[7]
  • E54: Yuwi (Juipera)[8]
  • E55: Yilba (Yukkaburra)[9]
  • E57: Wiri (Widi)[10]
  • E58: Giya (Bumbarra)[11]
  • E59: Ngaro (Giya)[12]
  • E63: Yetimarala / Yetimarla (Bayali)[13]

Yuwi[edit]

E54: Yuwi (Juipera, Toolginburra, Yuipera, Juwibara, Yuibera, Yuwiburra, Yuwibarra, Yuwibara): Yuwibara is treated as a dialect of Biri by Angela Terrill, based on Bridgeman and Bucas' list in Curr (Vol.3, pp. 44-51), having over 80% in common with Biri. However Gavan Breen assigns it to Wiri (E57) – another dialect of Biri – on the basis of geography and other evidence. AIATSIS had not as of October 2020 assigned a status to it.[8]

Yuwi had no recorded speakers between 1975 and 2016 according to AUSTLANG,[8] but efforts are being made to revive the language. After a group of Yuwi descendants had worked hard to revive the language, by January 2020 elders were able to conduct "Welcome to Country" ceremonies in language. It was a long process, which included Elders consulting with the State Library of Queensland, working on building word lists and developing a dictionary. The organisation First Languages Australia (a language advocacy body established in 2013[14]) lends support.[15]

The language and people are usually referred to as Yuwibara today,[16][17] with a 2020 native title determination made in this name.[18]

Ngaro[edit]

E59: Ngaro's status as a separate dialect is unconfirmed, with a Tindale wordlist being the only source. Breen assigns it to Wiri (E57).[12]

Gabulbarra[edit]

Gabulbarra is name for a people of Central Queensland, but little is known about their language. Gavan Breen thinks that they spoke a dialect of Biri, and the status of their language is recorded as "potential" on AUSTLANG.[19]

Phonology[edit]

Sounds[edit]

Labial Velar Dental Palatal Alveolar/
Retroflex
Stop b ɡ ɟ d
Nasal m ŋ ɲ n
Lateral l
Rhotic r
Approximant w j ɻ

Vowels are noted as /a, i, u/.[20]

Peoples[edit]

The following peoples spoke the dialects of Biri mentioned above:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Eastern Maric". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  2. ^ E56 Biri, etc. at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  3. ^ E38 Garaynbal at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  4. ^ E40 Gangulu at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  5. ^ E48 Baradha at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  6. ^ E51 Yambina at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  7. ^ E52 Yangga at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  8. ^ a b c E54 Yuwi at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  9. ^ E55 Yilba at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  10. ^ E57 Wiri at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  11. ^ E58 Giya at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  12. ^ a b E59 Ngaro at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  13. ^ E63 Yetimarala / Yetimarla at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  14. ^ "First Languages Australia". First Languages Australia. 29 April 2020. Retrieved 16 October 2020.
  15. ^ Maddison, Melissa; Wykeham, Ollie (13 January 2020). "How Welcome to Country helped save the Yuwi language from the brink of extinction". ABC News. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 13 January 2020.
  16. ^ Battley, Daniel; Kesteven, Sophie (26 March 2015). "Yuwibara language kept alive in Mackay". ABC Tropical Queensland. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Traditional Owners". Reef Catchments. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Native Title Determination Details: QCD2020/001 - Yuwibara People". National Native Title Tribunal. 7 October 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
  19. ^ E45 Gabulbarra at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
  20. ^ Terrill, Angela (1998). Biri.

Further reading[edit]