ⓘ Mbabaram language. Mbabaram is an extinct Australian Aboriginal language of north Queensland. It was the traditional language of the Mbabaram people. Known spea ..

                                     

ⓘ Mbabaram language

Mbabaram is an extinct Australian Aboriginal language of north Queensland. It was the traditional language of the Mbabaram people. Known speakers were Albert Bennett, Alick Chalk, Jimmy Taylor and Mick Burns. Recordings of Bennett and Chalk are held in the Audiovisual Archive of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies. R. M. W. Dixon described his hunt for a native speaker of Mbabaram in his book Searching for Aboriginal Languages: Memoirs of a Field Worker. Most of what is known of the language is from Dixons field research with Bennett.

                                     

1. Classification

Until R. M. W. Dixons work on the language, "Barbaram" as it was then known was thought to be too different from other languages to be part of the Pama–Nyungan language family. Dixon revealed it to have descended from a more typical form, that was obscured by subsequent changes. Dixon 2002 himself, however, still regards genetic relationships between Mbabaram and other languages as unproven.

Albert Bennett identified Agwamin as the language most subjectively similar to Mbabaram.

                                     

2. Geographic distribution

Mbabaram was spoken by the Mbabaram tribe in Queensland, southwest of Cairns 17°20′S 145°0′E.

Nearby tribal dialects were Agwamin, Djangun Kuku-Yalanji, Muluridji Kuku-Yalanji, Djabugay, Yidiny, Ngadjan Dyirbal, Mamu Dyirbal, Jirrbal Dyirbal, Girramay Dyirbal, and Warungu. While these were often mutually intelligible, to varying degrees, with the speech of the adjacent tribes, none were even partially intelligible with Mbabaram. The Mbabaram would often learn the languages of other tribes rather than vice versa, because Mbabaram was found difficult.

                                     

3. Phonology

Vowels

Mbabaram would have originally had simply three vowels, /i a u, like most Australian languages, but several changes occurred to add /ɛ ɨ ɔ/ to the system:

  • also developed from original */u/ in the second syllable of a word if the first syllable began with */ɟ, */ɲ, or */j/.

The first consonant of each word was then dropped, leaving the distribution of /ɔ ɛ ɨ/ unpredictable.

                                     

4. Word for "dog"

Mbabaram is famous in linguistic circles for a striking coincidence in its vocabulary. When Dixon finally managed to meet Bennett, he began his study of the language by eliciting a few basic nouns; among the first of these was the word for "dog". Bennett supplied the Mbabaram translation, dog. Dixon suspected that Bennett hadnt understood the question, or that Bennetts knowledge of Mbabaram had been tainted by decades of using English. But it turned out that the Mbabaram word for "dog" was in fact dog, pronounced almost identically to the English word. The similarity is a complete coincidence: there is no discernible relationship between English and Mbabaram. This and other false cognates are often cited as a caution against deciding that languages are related based on a small number of lexical comparisons.

                                     

5. Bibliography

  • Dixon, R. M. W. 1991. "Mbabaram". In Dixon, R. M. W.; Blake, B. J. eds. Handbook of Australian Languages. Vol. 4. Melbourne: Oxford University Press.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. 1966. "Mbabaram: A Dying Australian Language". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 29 1: 97–121. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00060833.
  • Dixon, R. M. W. 2002. Australian Languages: Their Nature and Development. Cambridge University Press.
                                     
  • long time mystery surrounded the Mbabaram language The little that was known of it hinted that it might be a language isolate, since it appeared to differ
  • Mbabaram Babaram may refer to: Mbabaram people Mbabaram language
  • Southern Agwamin Mbabaram Mbara Walangama The name Gugu Mini means good speech and have been applied to several languages in the Thaypan area
  • the bunya pine. Norman Tindale claimed that the Djakunda language bore resemblances to Mbabaram and suggested also that their small stature was reminiscent
  • consonant cluster. Some languages avoid this by disallowing initial dropping if the result is a difficult cluster. In Mbabaram for example, initial dropping
  • sites oft Oak Park, Einasleigh, Queensland Einasleigh and Forsayth. The Mbabaram lay directly north of the Ewamin. In clockwise direction, their eastern
  • Warrgamay, Waruŋu and Mbabaram of the Dyirbal tribes. Ngajanji Ngadyan was according to Robert M. W. Dixon, the name for the language spoken by a people
  • within the same language or from different languages even within the same family. For example, the English word dog and the Mbabaram word dog have exactly
  • Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 424 431. Dixon, Robert M. W. 1966 Mbabaram a dying Australian language Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 424 431. Dixon, R. M. W. 1966 Mbabaram a dying Australian language Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
  • Melbourne: J. Ferres. pp. 418 421. Dixon, R. M. W. 1966 Mbabaram a dying Australian language Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies