Waljen (A11 ) in Handbook of Kimberley Languages (1988).
3.5 Miriwoong / Miriwung
Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Mariu (Tindale), Mariung (Capell), Mireau (Nekes & Worms), Miriau (Worms), Miringg (SIL), Miriung (Peile, SIL), Miriwing (SIL), Miriwoong (KLS), Miriwun (Capell, O'Grady, Oates & Oates, AIAS), Miriwung (Black, Kofod, Oates, Cooling), Miriwu? (Tindale), Mirung (Harrison)
The spelling Miriwoong has been adopted in Kununurra for the proposed Miriwoong Language Resource Centre.
Classification of the language:
Jarrakan family, Miriwoongic (Miriwunic) group
Oates 1973: 43.1
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Kununurra and nearby communities
Kofod (1978) - 20 full speakers (many more part speakers - Kofod, pers.comm)
Irvine - 80 to 100 speakers
Milliken - 56 speakers
Sutton - 350 speakers
It would seem that the most likely figure is in the vicinity of 100 speakers (Kofod and Irvine, pers.comm.); Sutton's estimate cannot be regarded as particularly reliable since it is not based on field investigation.
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Frances Kofod, 1971-1974, Kununurra
In 1987 the Catholic Education Language Team decided on a variant of the North Kimberley orthography, to be used in Miriwoong materials being produced for the language awareness programme in Nulungu College.
Capell (1940), Cooling (nd a, nd b, nd c), Kofod (nd, 1976a, 1978), Hudson & McConvell (1984), Summer Institute of Linguistics (1971).
Cooling (nd a, nd b, nd c), Kofod (1978)
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Kofod (nd, 1978)
Material available on the language:
Capell, A. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10. 241-272, 404-433.
Cooling, G. nd a. [Transcript of tape A1730, field tape 2: material collected at Kununurra, W.A., from the Miriwung people.] 2,4,4pp. typescript. AIAS pMs 374. (A2;B2).
_____ .nd b. [Transcript of tape A1730 and A1807, field tape 2: material collected at Kununurra, W.A., from the Miriwung people.] ii + 13pp. typescript. AIAS pMs 374. (A2;B2).
_____ .nd c. [Transcript of tape A1807, field tapes 1, 1a, 1b: material collected at Kununurra, W.A., from the Miriwung people.] 17pp. typescript. AIAS pMs 376. (A2;B2).
Kaberry, P. 1937. Notes on the languages of the East Kimberley, north-west Australia. Oceania 8/1. 90-103.
Kofod, F.M. 1976a. Miriwung-English [wordlist]. 122pp. typescript and manuscript. AIAS Ms 1896 (A1;B5)
_____ .1976b. Are Australian languages syntactically nominative-ergative or nominative-accusative?: Miriwung. In Dixon, R.M.W. (ed.), Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: AIAS. 584-586.
_____ .1976c. Simple and compound verbs: conjugation by auxiliaries in Australian verbal systems; Miriwung. In Dixon, R.M.W. (ed.), Grammatical categories in Australian languages. Canberra: AIAS. 646-653.
_____ .1978. The Miriwung language (East Kimberley): a phonological and morphological study. MA thesis, University of New England. vii + 373pp. typescript. AIAS Ms 107. (A1;B5).
_____ .nd. [Outline of Miriwung grammar]. typescript and manuscript. In possession of Alan Dench, copy given to KLRC.
Summer Institute of Linguistics. 1971. AIAS word list for N.E. Kimberleys survey: Miriwing/Miringg. 18pp. manuscript. AIAS tape A2175.
Worms, A.E. 1957b. Australian mythical terms: their etymology and dispersion. Anthropos 52. 732-768.
Saint Joseph's Catholic School in Kununurra held Miriwoong classes in early to mid 1980s. There are plans to begin SAL type literacy classes in Miriwoong for adults literate in English in 1987.
A Miriwoong language awareness course is planned for Nulungu College, and materials are produced using the orthography described above.
Language learning material:
McGregor, William. 1988 Handbook of Kimberley Languages. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics. © Author.
AIATSIS gratefully acknowledge William McGregor for permission to use his material in AUSTLANG.