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By R. M. W. Dixon

Professor Dixon's ebook The Dyirbal Language of North Queensland (CUP 1972) is recognize to be a vintage research. His research of Yidin is without delay related in significance. Yidin, that is additionally a demise language, is Dyirbal's northerly neighbour. but the 2 languages have notable and primary changes in every one quarter of grammar (while nonetheless either belonging to the Australian language family). within the phonology, there's a choice for every notice to include a fair variety of syllables, so that it will fulfill the strain objectives of Yidin. Syntactically, the language is of a 'mixed ergative' sort that can't simply be accommodated by way of regular syntactic conception. those and several particular gains of Yidin have a very important concerning a number of theoretical enquiries into linguistic universals.

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There were fighting and singing corroborees, involving several neighbourhood tribes, at regular intervals (Roth 1908). In addition to providing a regulated outlet for aggressiveness, these served for social intercourse - the exchange of news, stories and songs - and were probably used for trading. It is significant that there appears to have been little or no trading or social meetings with the Dyirbal-speaking tribes, to the south. In fact Stan Connolly, a Gurjgajid,i who has tried to reconstruct his tribal history, maintains that the Yidiji-speaking tribes lived in perpetual fear of the Mamu and Dyirbal - whom they regarded as much fiercer and more aggressive than themselves - and that the Gurjgajid,i (a relatively weak tribe) had a ' pact of defence' with the more dominant Yidijid,i, that the latter would come to their aid if they were attacked by 'the Tully mob\ Although there appears to have been some contact between the Dyirbal-speaking Ngad,and,i and the inland Yidind,i - on the tablelands - there seems to have been little interchange along the coast.

3). 1). There is fuller discussion of these points, together with an account of the meanings that can be attached to the terms * tribe* and 'language' for this region, in Dixon 1976b. But the similarities between Yidiji and Nga4an are all at the surface level. Anyone knowing just one language would find the other quite unintelligible (many members of the two tribes had a degree of bilingualism in Yidiji and Nga4an - but this was, of course, quite another matter). The rather low lexical score between Yidiji and Nga4an 29 % - suggests that they had been in contiguity for a relatively short time (certainly, a shorter time than that which has elapsed since Yidiji and Dya:bugay emerged as separate languages).

Anyone knowing just one language would find the other quite unintelligible (many members of the two tribes had a degree of bilingualism in Yidiji and Nga4an - but this was, of course, quite another matter). The rather low lexical score between Yidiji and Nga4an 29 % - suggests that they had been in contiguity for a relatively short time (certainly, a shorter time than that which has elapsed since Yidiji and Dya:bugay emerged as separate languages). To the south-west of Yidiji was Ngayguqu, an extinct and poorly documented tongue.

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