N20: Tiwi

AIATSIS code: 
N20
AIATSIS reference name: 
Tiwi

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Name
ABN name
Tiwi language (Australia) (Previously Tiwi language (Melville Island))
ABS name
Tiwi
Horton name
Tiwi
Ethnologue name
Tiwi
ISO 639-3 code
tiw
Tindale name
Tunuvivi
Thesaurus heading language
Tiwi language N20
Thesaurus heading (old)
Tiwi language (N20) (NT SC52-16)
Tindale (1974)
Tiwi (assigned name), Diwi (Capell conformists variant), Wonga:k (Iwaidja term), Wongak, Wunuk, Ni-mara, Woranguwe
O'Grady et al (1966)
Wunuk
Glottocode
tiwi1244
Other sources
Synonyms
Tunuvivi, Diwi, Nguiu, Nimara, Wonga:k, Wongak, Woranguwe, Wunguk, Wunuk, Yeimbi, Ni mara
Comment
Comments: 
Traditional Tiwi is a non-Pama Nyungan (polysynthetic) language, typologically similar to the languages of north-west Australia, sharing similar sound, pronoun systems and verbal construction, although Tiwi is not known to be closely related to other Australian languages. Tiwi verbs have complex internal structure and carry affixes, mainly prefixes, indicating subject, object, indirect object; tense, aspect and mood; time and location. (1-2). In modern forms of Tiwi complex verbal inflection is absent, replaced by analytic verb forms and isolating morphology. Nominals, adverbs etc are expressed with free form words. (Lee, 1987: 1-3). Modern Tiwi incorporates influences from English and other languages, it is constantly evolving; Traditional Tiwi is spoken by older people; Tiwi Land Council Chairman Robert Tipungwuti expressed the view that 'It is the Tiwi's job to teach the Tiwi Language at home to their children not at school.' reinforcing the value of language to transmit culture, and the responsibility of the community to maintain Tiwi language .
References: 
  • Lee, Jennifer, 1987. Tiwi today : a study of language change in a contact situation. Canberra:Dept. of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National University.
  • Tindale, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Berkeley: University of California Press/Canberra: Australian National University Press.
Status: 
Confirmed
Location
State / Territory: 
NT
Location information: 
Melville and Bathurst islands (Tindale 1974).
Maps: 
-
Catalogue
Links
Programs
Activities: 
-
People: 
Arthur Capell, Helen Groger-Wurm, Jennifer Lee, Charles Osborne, Nguiu Nginingawila Literature Production Centre, Wycliffe Bible Translators, Darwin Community College
Indigenous organisations: 
-
Speakers
Year Source Speaker numbers
1975Oates1400
1984Senate1400
1990Schmidt1400
1996Census1822
2001Census2050
2004NILS2000
2005Estimate2100
2006Census1716

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).

Documentation
Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Grammar: 

Osborne, Charles. 1974. The Tiwi language : grammar, myths and dictionary of the Tiwi language spoken on Melville and Bathurst islands, northern Australia. Canberra: AIAS.

Dictionary: 
Lee, Jennifer. 1993. Ngawurranungurumagi nginingawila ngapangiraga: Tiwi - English dictionary. Bathurst Island, NT: Nguiu Nginingawila Literature Production Centre.
Classification
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Tiwian Tiwi
Dixon (2002) Tiwi Tiwi Osborne (1974), Lee (1987)
Wurm (1994) Tiwi Tiwi
Walsh (1981) Tiwian Tiwi
Oates (1975) Tiwian Tiwi
Wurm (1972) Tiwian Tiwi
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Tiwian Tiwi