HOME

TheInfoList




The Gunai language ( , also spelt Gunnai, Ganai, Gaanay, Kurnai, Kurnay ) is an
Australian aboriginal Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Mainland Australia, Australian mainland and many of its islands, such as Tasmania, Fraser Island, Hinchinbrook Island, the Tiwi Islands, and Groote Eylandt, but excluding the Tor ...
dialect cluster A dialect continuum or dialect chain is a series of language varieties spoken across some geographical area such that neighboring varieties are mutually intelligible In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of langua ...
of the
Gunai people The Gunai ( ), also spelt Gunnai, or Kurnai ( ), often now referred to as the Gunai/Kurnai ( ), people are an Aboriginal Australian Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as firs ...
in
Gippsland Gippsland is a rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary ...
in south-east
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
. Bidhawal (Birrdhawal) was either a divergent dialect or a closely related language.


Varieties

means 'man'. The language had no traditional name, but each of its dialects was referred to separately. In a 1996 report to the
Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages Aboriginal Victorians, the Aboriginal Australians of Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, occupied the land for tens of thousands of years prior to European settlement of Australia, European settlement. Aboriginal people have lived a semi-no ...
, Clark refers to five Gunai dialects: ''Brabralung'', ''Braiakalung'', ''Brataualung'', ''Krauatungalung'' and ''Tatungalung''. * ( = man, = belonging to) located in
central Gippsland The area ...
. * ( = Man, = west, = belonging to) located around Sale through to the mountains. * (men belonging to this place which have fire; = men, or = fire, = belonging to) located in
South Gippsland South Gippsland, a region of Gippsland Gippsland is a rural region of Victoria, Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (conti ...
. * ( = east, = belonging to) located eastwards to the
Snowy River The Snowy River is a major river in south-eastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...
. * ( = sea, = belonging to) located in the coast area between
Lake King Lake King is a town in the eastern Wheatbelt (Western Australia), Wheatbelt region of Western Australia, from Perth, Western Australia, Perth along List of road routes in rural and remote Western Australia#40, State Route 40 between Kelmscott, W ...

Lake King
and
Lake Wellington The Gippsland Lakes are a network of lakes, marshes and lagoons in east Gippsland, Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia covering an area of about . The largest of the lakes are Lake Wellington (Gunai language: ''Murla''), Lake King (Gunai ...
. Gunai dialects have been confused with Muk-thang/
Bidhawal The Bidhawal (also known as Bidawal and Bidwell) were an Indigenous Australians, Australian Aboriginal tribe of Gippsland, Victoria (Australia), Victoria. According to Alfred William Howitt, the Bidhawal were composed of "refugees from tribes". L ...
; there appear to be two distinct languages here, but it's not clear which variety belongs to which.


Phonology

Like other
Victorian languages Aboriginal Victorians, the Aboriginal Australians of Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, occupied the land for tens of thousands of years prior to European settlement of Australia, European settlement. Aboriginal people have lived a semi-no ...
, Gunai allowed initial in its words. However, it also allowed initial , and well as the clusters () and (). This is quite unusual for an Australian language, and the same pattern was found in the
Tasmanian languages The Tasmanian languages were the languages indigenous to the island of Tasmania, used by Aboriginal Tasmanians. The languages were last used for daily communication in the 1830s, although the terminal speaker, Fanny Cochrane Smith, survived until ...

Tasmanian languages
across
Bass Strait Bass Strait () is a sea strait A strait is a naturally formed, narrowing, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water. The surface water generally flows at the same elevation on both sides and through the strait ...

Bass Strait
.


Consonants


Vowels


Revival

Since the early 1990s, the
Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages Aboriginal Victorians, the Aboriginal Australians of Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, occupied the land for tens of thousands of years prior to European settlement of Australia, European settlement. Aboriginal people have lived a semi-no ...
(VACL) organisation, established the Yirruk-Tinnor Gunnai/KĊ­rnai language program which focused on reviving and reclaiming the Gunnai language of Gippsland. Doris Paton, Coordinator of the Program and Lynnette Solomon-Dent, Language worker and consultant are involved in the program. They have been responsible for developing a number of resource materials to support and educate further knowledge of the Gunnai language and Culture. Lynnette Solomon-Dent co-wrote with Christina Eira the VACL Linguist, the
Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) is a statutory authority A statutory authority is a body set up by law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act accor ...
(VCAA) ''Aboriginal Languages, cultures and reclamation in Victorian schools:'' standards P-10 and protocols and were involved in the VCE Revival and Reclamation Study. These teaching documents and resources are collectively used to educate school aged children P-10, VCE, higher learning institutions and the Aboriginal community members, to further their knowledge and allow community members to continue to educate future generations.


Placenames possibly derived from the Gunai language

A number of placenames in Gunai country feature the ending , meaning "place".


References

* * * * * *


Notes

Gippsland languages Extinct languages of Victoria (Australia) {{ia-lang-stub