Aboriginal bird names.

Subject: Aboriginal bird names.
From: Con Boekel <>
Date: Mon, 24 Feb 2014 08:03:18 +1100

My favourite was the Pitjantjatjara 'nyi nyi' for Zebra Finch.


On 23/02/2014 4:17 PM, John Harris wrote:

Those who read my anecdote about the night parrot and the Aboriginal name ‘mirrlambing’ will know my interest in Aboriginal bird names and onomatopoeia. Everybody knows, for example, that the aboriginal representation of the bird sound  is the origin of ‘kookaburra' and some of you may be interested to know that in nearby Wiradjuri country and therefore probably around here, the bird was indeed called  'guuguubarra’.
I am posting this to share with you a very lovely Aboriginal bird name just given to me from the Pitjantjatjara language. Before you read on, you may wish to open the attachment from the Pitjantjatjara reader.
Aralapalpalpa is the sound the wings of the crested pigeon make when it first lifts off and is the Pitjantatjara name of the bird itself.  You can more or less get it if you practice the syllables slowly and then say them very fast (ARA-LA-PAL-PAL-PA ). If you want to be really precise, the ‘L’ should be written with a mark below the letter and  is an interdental ‘L’ made with the tongue between the teeth and the flat of the tongue touching the palate – but it’s pretty good, I think, even with the English ‘L’.
Listen yourself next time – they are common enough hereabouts!


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