Documenting Burarra dialectal variation within the multilingual ecology of north­central Arnhem Land

Two women sitting together look at a laptop

Speakers of Burarra (north­central Arnhem Land) identity four dialects of their language: An-barra, Martay, Maringa and Gun-nartpa. However, much variation that distinguishes these varieties survives predominantly in older speakers, outside of the urban centre, Maningrida. This project explores the linguistic construction of difference in this highly multilingual context, and provides a significant record of cultural, mythological and local territorial knowledge. This is achieved through building a stratified corpus of naturalistic language use across a range of genres (traditional stories, language and clan biographies, naturalistic conversation, and elicited speech) from speakers across the Burarra region, and gathering rich data about multilingual practices and language ideologies.

This project produced an archival deposit featuring 75 hours of audio-visual Burarra recordings. It can be accessed through the Endangered Languages Archive.

Chief Investigator: Dr Jill Vaughan