I’m at UT Austin at the moment, I gave a talk in their linguistics colloquium series yesterday on Australian historical linguistics. I’m a terrible book snoop and since I’m in their departmenal library at the moment I thought I’d like a look at their Australian holdings. Most of the books are in the main library but in addition to the Dyirbal Language of North Queensland and Merlan’s Mangarrayi grammar, there are two ‘finds’.
The first is Language of the Aborigines of the Colony of Victoria, and other Australian Districts, by Daniel Bunce, C.M.H.S., author of ‘Hortus Tasmaniensis’, … ‘Manual of Practical Gardening’, etc. (1859) It’s the Melbourne language, judging by the information about the people Bunce talked to. What I especially like about this particular copy, though, is that someone at some point has gone through and marked a bunch of Basque and Andaman ‘cognates’. So, for example, ‘Chill, cold’ Cabbin is annotated with Andam. gurka. Another thing I love about this book is the ‘familiar specimens in dialogue’ at the end. It has the useful Aussie exchange “Where are you going?” “To the beach.” and perhaps the less resonantly occa: “Yes, I’ll go and fetch the water, but do not you gammon me or deceive me on my return.” N’ uther mooyoop? “No gammon?”
The other book is Cooper’s ‘Australian Aboriginal words: 2000 examples and their meanings. “The words chosen are pleasantsounding and simple to pronounce.” Most are South Australian languages (e.g. Antikirinya, Arabana, or Diyari). I hadn’t seen this particular example of a collection like this before, and I thought of Peter’s post on Koala names and looked them up.
The only one I could find is Alkina: alkirna is here as ‘twilight’ and alkira as ‘bright, sunny’ Also alknira ‘evening’ (obviously the same as alkirna; someone’s undergone metathesis).