A Grammar of Yidin by R. M. W. Dixon

By R. M. W. Dixon

Professor Dixon's e-book The Dyirbal Language of North Queensland (CUP 1972) is recognize to be a vintage learn. His learn of Yidin is without delay similar in significance. Yidin, that's additionally a loss of life language, is Dyirbal's northerly neighbour. but the 2 languages have extraordinary and primary modifications in every one quarter of grammar (while nonetheless either belonging to the Australian language family). within the phonology, there's a choice for every observe to include a good variety of syllables, that allows you to fulfill the tension objectives of Yidin. Syntactically, the language is of a 'mixed ergative' kind that can't simply be accommodated by way of regular syntactic idea. those and several other unique gains of Yidin have a very important pertaining to a number of theoretical enquiries into linguistic universals.

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Several further attempts were made to work with the Stewarts during the next nine months (when the writer was almost exclusively concerned with a depth investigation of Dyirbal) but each time they were either unavailable or too ill to work. Then, in 1967, when Jack Stewart again could not be located, his brother-in-law Alec Morgan iSat4u) S a v e some grammatical information on Yidiji, and a few words in Dyalrjuy. By 1970, when the writer began intensive work on Yidin, Jack and Nellie Stewart had died and Alec Morgan was totally senile and of no further use as an informant.

For instance, he appears to have had virtually no understanding of Aboriginal culture or social ethic. He certainly learned nothing of the language - filling in a vocabulary questionnaire for the Australasian Anthropological Journal in 1897, Gribble (1897a: 17) gave for 'to live' the form gobo, which is in fact 'leaf', and for 'to know' he quotes gnudjuy which is actually the negative particle (yudjU 'no, not' is one of the commonest words in Gurjgay and if Gribble had had even a smattering of the tongue must have recognised it).

There are now about one thousand people at Yarrabah, all living in the central town - but there is no trace of any agricultural endeavour. There is, in fact, very little work available at Yarrabah. Typically, a group of new houses may be built and painted by white workmen from Cairns (who tendered for a government contract), with Aborigines perhaps being used to help dig the foundations. The settlement staff is almost entirely European and although the Aboriginal Council is consulted on some matters, all major decisions and organisational details are arranged by the white manager.

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