You might feel that I’m cheating a bit with this week’s language of the week. You won’t find it in Ethnologue, either under this spelling or under the more technically correct Uuwini. If you google it you’ll find 25 or so hits. About half of them originate from some sort of china-egg site or spam sites, the other half are from my discussions of Oowini in relation to Bardi. To be honest, it’s not even clear that Oowini is a language name. It could equally well be a name like Mayala (an island group) or Iininalabooloo (people who belong to the islands close to One Arm Point).
We don’t know anything about the name these days except that it refers to speakers of a Worrorran language who lived on the islands south-east of Sunday Island (see google map here). We know that there were contacts between Bardi people and Oowini people, and that Oowini people learnt some Bardi (but not vice versa).
It may be that the name Oowini refers to Unggarranggu or Yawijibaya (both Worrorran languages in the same general area), but to my knowledge no one speaks those languages either these days and the only materials I know of can’t be quoted because of the archiving provisions of the linguist who recorded them.
So there we are.
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