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Aboriginal Flag - Victoria Square

According to the Federal Government, in 2019:[1]

As a proxy for a nation in Aboriginal terms we can use a language: the people who speak a distinct language are members of one nation. The problem about this definition is that Aboriginal people often speak many more than one Aboriginal language and have links through kinship giving them rights and responsibilities in the boodjar of other mobs. Their families are more extensive and their allegiances more overlapping and complex than Wadjela are used to. However, for the sake of comparison, let us use this definition.

A common comparison is made between Australia wer Europe, because they are of approximately the same boodjar area wer have similar numbers of indigenous languages. The area of Australia is 7.7 million km² wer the area of Europe is 10.2 million km². In Europe today at least 83 indigenous languages remain (and English is one of these). In Australia before settlement times there were karro than 250 distinct Aboriginal languages, by convention nidja number does not include the Tasmanian languages which are yennar lost (although there is a modern reconstruction Palawa kani), or Meriam Mer which is an eastern Torres Strait language.[2] At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 Aboriginal languages remain in daily use - yennar are highly endangered except 13 which are in daily use by children.[3] Those that are not endangered include four Ngaanyatjarra languages from WA desert areas, six Yolŋu languages from north-east Arnhem boodjar, Warlpiri, Murrinh-patha wer Tiwi. See the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in Danger.[4] According to another source, there were more than 200 languages when settlement began in 1788, there are about 120 that still exist, although only 20 are actively spoken today.[5]

"Gambay" ("together" in the Butchulla language of the Hervey Bay region in Queensland) is an interactive map to display and promote the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.[6] As of 2019, Gambay showcases over 780 languages, this is a lot more than the 250 distinct Aboriginal languages mentioned above!

See also these Aboriginal Nation maps:

Development of Aboriginal languages

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Map of Sunda and Sahul

The traditional academic view of the development of Aboriginal languages is that they yennar derive from a proto-language that spread through Australia 5000 to 6000 years ago. However, Aboriginal people were here before then, in fact at least 65,000 years ago[9] and there is an unresolved question about how nidja model of language dispersion can account for the major differences between the Pama Nyungan group (which includes languages like Noongar, Pitjantjatjara, Yolngu wer Warlpiri) wer the non-Pama Nyungan languages used in the Northern Territory today. The name Pama Nyungan is derived from the language groups at either end of the geographical range of Pama Nyungan: Paman languages il the Cape York Peninsula in the North East wer the Noongar language in the South West of Australia. The lost Tasmanian languages formed a separate and unrelated third group (Palawa group) to the Pama Nyungan and Northern Territory groups. An alternative theory is that the origins of the split in Aboriginal languages go back 13,000 years to when there was a boodjar bridge between New Guinea wer Australia across what is now the Arafura Sea during the last ice age, forming the old continent of Sahul.[10] The Arafurians were displaced by the rising sea levels to New Guinea wer Northern Australia, wer the climate change allowed the tribes il the Eastern seaboard who spoke Pama Nyungan languages to spread Westward. A genetic study resolves the apparent discrepancy between the genetic conclusion that Aboriginal people have been in Australia for 50,000 years and the linguistic conclusion that the languages spoken by these people are only around 4,000 years old. The genetic study found a 4,000 year old but tiny genetic signature, of people from India moving to Northern Australia[11] who presumably arrived with a new language and also the Dwert (Dingo), both of which were gratefully adopted by the existing population.[12] This would imply the Tasmanian languages were the earliest Aboriginal language group as 4000 years ago they were cut off from all contact with the mainland. Alternatively the non-Pama Nyungan languages used in the Northern Territory arose as a result of the new arrivals, whilst the rest of the Australian peoples kept their languages. This would mean that the Pama Nyungan languages and the Tasmanian languages were similar.

Noongar language today

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For the main page on the Noongar language see Gnullar Karla Mia - Our Campfires (Language groups). There are 14 Noongar clans or dialects, now grouped into three dialect groups:[13]

Kongal-boyal (South-eastern): Bibbulmun, Minang, Koreng, Wudjari, Njunga
Djiraly (Northern): Amangu, Yuat, Ballardong, Whadjuk, Njaki Njaki
Kongal-marawar (South-western): Pindjarup, Wilman, Kaneang, Wardandi

Neighbouring clans to the Noongar clans are:

To the Djiraly (North): Nhanta, Watjarri, wer Badimaya
To the Djiraly-boyal (North East): Kalaamaya
To the Boyal (East): Malpa wer Ngatjumay

The Malpa language, also known as Galaagu, Kalarko or Kallaargu is the closest relative of the Noongar language. The Kalaamaya language is considered extinct, but was a close relative of the Noongar language. The Njaki Njaki (or Nadji Nadji, Njakinjaki or Nyaki Nyaki language) is thought to be a dialect of either the Noongar language or of the Kalaamaya language. The Njaki Njaki are a Noongar clan.

Other Aboriginal Nations

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These mobs are usually ones mentioned somewhere in the Noongarpedia; do a search on their name to find where they are mentioned. This list is not meant to be a complete list of Aboriginal Nations.

See also

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List of Indigenous Australian group names on Wikipedia main site

Aboriginal Trading Contacts

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  • Torres Strait Islanders
  • Muslim Makassans traded for Trepang (Sea Cucumber) with the Yolngu, from the Arnhem Land area, as long ago as the 16th century. A video shows a replica Makassan ship recreating such a voyage from Sulawesi to Bawaka in the East Arnhem Region of the NT aiming to give muslim Australians a greater sense of connection to country.[14] Some Aboriginal people were stranded in Sulawesi when the Trepang (Sea Cucumber) trade was abruptly stopped by the South Australian authorities in 1906[15] or alternatively 1907[16]. The ABC News article[16] has a photograph, taken by the Italian naturalist Odoardo Beccari in the Indonesian city of Makassar in the 1870s, which shows half a dozen young Aboriginal men and children from northern Australia. Aboriginal elders believe the people in the photos are Yolngu people. Aboriginal oral records tell of another people, the Baijini, who came before the Makassans. Radio carbon dating of trading sites used by the Makassans shows these sites were indeed used several centuries before the Makassans arrived.[source?]

BBC News video: Recreating Muslim sailors' first voyages to Australia

See next

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Ngiyan waarnk

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  1. "Our people". Australian Government. Retrieved 12 April 2019
  2. Hunter, Jessica, Claire Bowern & Erich Round (2011). "Reappraising the Effects of Language Contact in the Torres Strait". Journal of Language Contact. Vol 4. Iss 1. pp 106–140. doi:10.1163/187740911X558798
  3. Anna Goldsworthy. "VOICES OF THE LAND: In Port Augusta, an Israeli linguist is helping the Barngarla people reclaim their language". The Monthly. September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2016
  4. Moseley, Christopher (ed.). (2010). "Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger', 3rd edn. Paris, UNESCO Publishing. Retrieved 27 July 2017
  5. "Australia's indigenous languages have one source, study says". BBC News. 28 March 2018. Retrieved 1 April 2018
  6. "Gambay: a map of Australia’s first languages". ABC Indigenous. Retrieved 23 February 2019
  7. AIATSIS map of Indigenous Australia. Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. Retrieved 12 August 2016
  8. Aboriginal Australia. Sovereign Union - First Nations Asserting Sovereignty. Retrieved 12 August 2016
  9. Genelle Weule, Felicity James. "Indigenous rock shelter in Top End pushes Australia's human history back to 65,000 years". ABC News. 20 July 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017
  10. Judy Skatssoon. "Aboriginal language had ice age origins". ABC Science. 13 December 2006. Retrieved 3 September 2017
  11. Irina Pugach; Frederick Delfin; Ellen Gunnarsdóttir; Manfred Kayser; Mark Stoneking (January 14, 2013). "Genome-wide data substantiate Holocene gene flow from India to Australia". PNAS. Vol 110. Iss 5. pp 1803–1808. doi:10.1073/pnas.1211927110. PMC 3562786. PMID 23319617
  12. Hannah Devlin. "Indigenous Australians most ancient civilisation on Earth, DNA study confirms". The Guardian. Published 21 September 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2018
  13. Noongar Dialects. Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation. 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018
  14. "Recreating Muslim sailors' first voyages to Australia". BBC News. 7 March 2020. Retrieved 7 March 2020
  15. Trudgen, Richard. (2000). "Why Warriors Lie Down and Die". p 27. Pub: Why Warriors Pty Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9873874-2-4
  16. 16.0 16.1 [1] "Search for descendants of Aboriginal people who settled in Indonesia at least 150 years ago". Erin Parke. ABC News. 11 February 2023. Retrieved 11 February 2023