For the Dieri Aboriginal Corporation ILS project we are working on developing several bilingual dictionaries of the Dieri language. We expect that there will be a number of dictionaries that come out of the project, meant for different users and different uses.
Peter Austin has been working on creating a reference dictionary that will be a major resource for teachers and language learners and will include lots of information about words, meanings, cultural context and use and will include examples of the words taken from his recordings made in the 1970s, along with material from present-day speakers. He has created a draft of the dictionary that has three parts:
- Dieri-English section organised according to the Dieri words, with their English translations and explanations
- English-Dieri section that lists English words and their Dieri equivalents, but with less detail about meanings and uses
- Categories section organised according to meanings, so all the words for particular topics and concepts are group together
The Dieri-English and Categories sections contain illustrations for plants, animals, artefacts and other words so that readers can gain more information about a particular itemn. Here is one page from the list of words beginning with ka- that shows what the dictionary might end up looking like.
Here is what a page from the Categories section for Birds might look like:
We also hope in the future to make a web-based dictionary that includes sounds so that people can hear the words pronounced by a native speaker and then model their pronunciation on them.
Note: The title for this post consists of yawarra meaning ‘language’, the ending ya meaning ‘for, belonging to’ (called the ‘possessive ending’) and pipa meaning ‘book’ (and originally from the English word ‘paper’). Together this means ‘books for language’