Re: birding-aus Bird raving

To: Goodfellow <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus Bird raving
From: Laurence and Leanne Knight <>
Date: Sun, 15 Aug 1999 18:36:27 +1000
Goodfellow wrote:
> The right to speak out certainly isn't and hasn't been the norm in many
> cultures, for instance among bush Aboriginal people.  It makes them
> really easy to suppress.
> Political correctness means that a few visible people belonging to the
> dominant culture and having the strings to pull can build a mould into
> which they try to squeeze others with global, national and regional
> consequences.   Over time cultures outside of the mainstream become an
> empty shell of practices acceptable to the wider society.  Minority
> opinions are suppressed.
> Have a look at what happens with bird names.  Now obviously the good of
> having common bird names as with any term, is that everyone knows what
> everyone else is talking about.  But this works on a regional basis as
> well.  Members of my Kuninjku language group all know what bird we mean
> by Djagana.   But regional bird names are suppressed by names adopted by
> the wider society, and that includes Aboriginal language names.  Whether
> that's good or bad depends on who you are.  If you're a visitor or
> newcomer to a region you probably want names you are familiar with.  But
> there are unintended consequences, namely the loss of legitimacy of
> regional differences, and languages.   Bird names are  part of the total
> process that causes national, regional differences that helped locals
> make sense of their world, gave them a sense of identity, to be subsumed.
> People down south may all agree on calling Jabiru, Black-necked Stork or
> Owl-faced Finch, Double-barred Finch.  Has anyone asked long-term locals?
>  Or bush Aboriginal people?  When it was decided to name Grey Whistler,
> did anyone take into account the fact that our bird is brown?  Not only
> that but the type was taken up here?

I don't see anything wrong with having alternate "common names".  I for
one prefer "weero" to "cockatiel" - it more accurately captures the
essence of the species [and cockatiel has dutch origins].  I also reckon
panpanpallella would be a fair moniker for the crested bellbird.

Generally though, I think most common names [eg malleefowl,
spinifexbird, whipbird] are fairly descriptive of the birds in question
for English speakers.

Just out of interest, how many common names have aboringinal origins [eg

Regards, Laurie.
To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<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