Biri is the name of a dialect from central Queensland, which has come to be known as a language name for a number of closely related dialects. This language has also been called by another dialect name, Gangulu E40 and belongs to the Mari goup of languages, after the word for 'man'.
The people were called Birigaba and possibly Biriyaba, the latter reflects a placename Briaba (Breen, 2009:219, 223).
Dialects of the Biri language include Yangga E52, Yilba E55, Miyan E50, Wirri E57, Gabulbarra E45, Baradha E48, Baranha E53, Yambina E51, Yetimarala E63, Garaynbal E38, Gangulu E40 and the Brown River language (Breen, 2009, see 2009:234). See also Mandalgu E65 and Wadjigu E39.
Beale gives the tribal area as the region encompassing Bowern, Ayr, Collinsville, and Nebo. Most sources agree with these, some adding Mackay and Cape Cleveland.
It is generally agreed that the Biri dialect was the language of the people of Bowern River. Tindale agrees with this (Terrill 1998:70).
On Bowen River north to junction with Burdekin River; east to Clarke Range; west to Leichhardt Range; south to Netherdale (Tindale 1974).
The Biri country mapped is for the Biri language not the Biri dialect. It includes the country of other Biri dialects.
Search MURA language®
North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre
Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.
Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).
Terrill, Angela. 1998. Biri. Munich: Lincom. Beale, Anthony. 1974. A grammar of the Biri language, ms.