Re: Australian bird names

To: "List Birding-aus" <>
Subject: Re: Australian bird names
From: "Glen Ingram" <>
Date: Tue, 16 Jun 1998 15:43:45 +1000
>> 3. Many of the Aboriginal names for birds are difficult to assimilate
>> to the
>> phonetic system of English (the original of Gang-gang for example was
>> something like Ngang Ngang-not impossible to say, but difficult to say
>> easily). If we water down Aboriginal names into 'English-friendly'
>> forms, we
>> might as well not bother.
>Agreed again.  I naively thought that I might get some names back into
>popular usage, but they are on the whole "too hard", and I can't bear to
>hear them butchered by ignorant/careless speakers!  There are some
>beautiful names in many languages, particularly some of the onomatopoeic
>and ecological names, but how would we choose which language name to
>Lawrie Conole


It is not a problem not being able to pronounce the name because Aboriginal
tongues are idiosyncratic. The principle of "Hobson Jobson", alien words
being reconstituted so they can be pronounced in a more familiar way, is
quite time honoured. For example, "paddymelon"  apparently evolved from two
aboriginal words "patta" for macropod and "mella" denoting the specific

I still think Sue has a point

Best wishes

Glen Ingram
Brisbane, Australia.

?I think we consider too much the good luck of the early bird and not enough
the bad luck of the early worm? Franklin D. Roosevelt.

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU