|Region||Kununurra, Western Australia|
|156 (2016 census)|
|Miriwoong Sign Language|
(red) Miriwoong language
(purple) other Jarrakan languages(grey) other non-Pama-Nyungan languages
Miriwoong (Miriwung) is an Australian Indigenous language which today has fewer than 20 fluent speakers, most of whom live in or near Kununurra in Western Australia. All of the fluent speakers are elderly and the Miriwoong language is considered to be critically endangered. However, younger generations tend to be familiar with a lot of Miriwoong vocabulary which they use when speaking Kimberley Kriol or Aboriginal English.
Despite the endangered status of the Miriwoong language, the Miriwoong community is vibrantly multilingual. Languages spoken include Miriwoong (for a small number of speakers), the Miriwoong signed language, Kimberley Kriol, and English. Two varieties of English are present in the community, Aboriginal English, and Standard Australian English. Many speakers are bi-dialectical in both varieties while many others have a strong preference for Aboriginal English.
Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring
MDWg engages in a wide range of language revitalisation and documentation activities including a language nest, public language classes and on-country training camps. The language nest reaches around 300 children every week, both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous.
A significant part of MDWg's revitalisation efforts is the publication of books in Miriwoong.
Some grammatical features
Miriwoong distinguishes 19 consonant phonemes. The consonant inventory of Miriwoong is fairly typical for Indigenous Australian languages, having multiple lateral and nasal consonants, no voicing contrast, and no fricatives.
The largely phonemic orthography of Miriwoong was developed at the Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring. Some sounds that do not have a standard character in the Latin script are represented by digraphs. The vowel /u/ is spelled oo in Miriwoong.
|Grapheme||IPA symbol||Miriwoong example||English translation|
|iyi||I: ~ iyi||ngiyi||yes|
|K (only following n)||g||bankalng||footprints|
|rr||r||Darram||Bandicoot Bar (placename)|
MDWg is working with local organisations to conform to the standardised orthography when Miriwoong is written in documents or signage.
Some notable features of Miriwoong grammar are as follows.
Miriwoong nouns have grammatical gender and adjectives and demonstratives agree with the noun. There a two genders designated masculine and feminine.
Nouns are not marked for case in Miriwoong, although arguments are cross referenced on the verb, in most cases using a nominative-accusative pattern.
Verbs in Miriwoong have a compound system of coverbs, which are generally uninflected and carry the main semantic content, and inflecting verbs, which carry the grammatical information. Both coverbs and verbs can stand alone but most verbal expressions comprise both a coverb and an inflecting verb (Newry 2015: 20-21). The inflecting verbs are a closed class and number around 20 while the coverbs are an open class. This type of verb system has been observed in other Australian languages, particularly in languages spoken in the north of Australia
- "Census 2016, Language spoken at home by Sex (SA2+)". stat.data.abs.gov.au. ABS. Retrieved 2017-10-30.
- Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Miriwung". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
- Miriwoong at the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies
- "Our Country". Mirima Dawanga Woorlab-gerring Language and Culture Centre. Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
- Olawsky, Knut (2010). Hobson, John; Lowe, Kevin; Poetsch, Susan; Walsh, Michael, eds. Revitalisation strategies for Miriwoong. Re-awakening languages: Theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia's indigenous languages. Sydney: Sydney University Press. pp. 146–154.
- Newry, Dawayne (2015). Ninggoowoong boorriyang merndang - Family book. Kununurra, WA, Ausrralia: Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring. pp. 20–21. ISBN 978-0-9922849-5-4.
- Galbat-Newry, G., (September 4, 2016) Miriwoong waniwoogeng! Language is the only way to understand our ancient culture. thegardian: Australian Edition, https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/sep/04/miriwoong-waniwoogeng-language-is-the-only-way-to-understand-our-ancient-culture
- Kofod, F. M. (1978). "The Miriwung language (East Kimberley): a phonological and morphological study".
- Kofod, FM, 1976. Simple and Compound Verbs: Conjugation by Auxiliaries in Australian Verbal System: Miriwung. Canberra: Australian Institute for Aboriginal Studies.
- Olawsky, Knut, J. (2010) Revitalisation Strategies for Miriwoong In Re-awakening languages: theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australia's indigenous languages. In Hobson, J., Lowe, K., Poetics, S. & Walsh, M. (Eds.) Sydney University Press: Sydney
- Olawsky, Knut J., 2010. Going public with language: involving the wider community in language revitalisation. In J. Hobson, K. Lowe, S. Poetsch and M. Walsh (eds.), Re-Awakening Languages: Theory and Practice in the Revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous Languages. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press, pp. 75.
- Olawsky, Knut, 2013. The Master-Apprentice language learning program down under: experience and adaptation in an Australian context. Language documentation and conservation, 7
- McGregor, William (2004). The Languages of the Kimberley, Western Australia. London, New York: Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-415-30808-9.
- Newry, G., (2002) Mirima Dawang Wooriab-Gerring Language and Culture Centre. Noongjook: A Journal of Australian Indigenous Issues. 21 26-49.
Miriwoong Language Books
Galbat-Newry, Glennis (2012). Woorlab yarrenkoo Miriwoong! - Miriwoong Animals. Kununurra, Australia: Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring.
Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring (2013). Miriwoong Seasonal Calendar. Kununurra, Australia: Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring.
Newry, Dawayne (2015). Ninggoowoong boorriyang merndang - Family book. Kununurra, Australia: Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring.
Simon, Pamela; Galbat, Paulina (2011). Woorrjilwarim - Molly Springs. Kununurra, Australia: Mirima Dawang Woorlab-gerring.