Royal Australian Mint
Whenever you rifle round in your purse for some change quickly, you may be fortunate sufficient to tug out a brand new 50 cent coin, launched immediately by the Royal Australian Mint to have fun the Worldwide Yr of Indigenous Languages.
The coin, developed in session with Indigenous language custodian teams and designed by the Mint’s Aleksandra Stokic, options 14 totally different phrases for “cash” from Australian Indigenous languages. However the place do these phrases come from?
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Outdated phrases for brand spanking new issues
Cash, or an object which abstractly represented the worth of products and providers, didn’t exist in Australia earlier than European colonisation. Commerce occurred, however it was between gadgets deemed to be of comparable price, for instance, pearl shell, quartz, meals or songs. With the entry of cash into the Indigenous financial system, new phrases have been wanted to check with cash and later, notes.
Most Indigenous phrases for cash come from phrases for “stone”, “rock” or “pebble”, little question in reference to the scale and form of cash. On the brand new 50 cent coin, you’ll discover phrases for “stone” from throughout Australia:
from the Northern Territoy, wumara (from the Gurindji language), wangarri (Warumungu), gudaru (Alawa) and awarnda (Anindilyakwa)
from Western Australia, boya (Nyungar) and tjimari (Yankunytjatjara)
and from Queensland, bakir (Meriam), mulu (Yugambeh) and nambal (Guugu Yimithirr).
Kaytetye, spoken in Central Australia, and Kaurna, the language of Adelaide, go towards the development by extending the phrases ngkweltye and pirrki (which each imply “piece”), to additionally imply “cash”.
Gathang, from the Central New South Wales coast, makes use of dhinggarr “gray”, maybe as a result of color of most cash, and walang “head”, presumably in reference to the monarch’s head on the coin. Wiradjuri, from the identical space, additionally makes use of walang, however on this case it means “stone”.
Felicity Meakins and Brenda Thornley
Different phrases for ‘cash’ from Indigenous languages
The range of Indigenous phrases for cash on the brand new coin is an try to mirror the linguistic tapestry of Australia, a nation of over 300 languages and plenty of extra dialects. Nonetheless, the phrases on the coin are only a small pattern of Indigenous phrases for cash.
Some languages differentiate between cash and paper cash. Murrinh-patha, spoken within the Daly River area of the Northern Territory, makes use of palyirr “stone” for cash and we “paperbark” to imply notes.
Different languages have phrases that fluctuate by denomination. Alyawarr, spoken simply north of Alice Springs, makes use of aherr-angketyarr “numerous kangaroos” to check with the A$1 coin, and rnter-rnter “crimson” in reference to $20 notes.
Alyawarr folks additionally say kwert-apeny “like smoke” for $100 notes. That is maybe complicated at first, till you recall the unique mild blue and gray $100 observe (1984-1996) depicting Sir Douglas Mawson.
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Borrowed phrases for cash
In some circumstances, phrases for cash have been borrowed from different languages. The English phrase “cash” has been given an area flavour by totally different languages, for instance: mani/moni (Kriol) and maniyi or tala (Warlpiri).
One other borrowing comes from Australia’s shut neighbours. The legacy of 18th century Macassan merchants from present-day Indonesia stays in phrases for “cash” initially derived from rupiah (Indonesia’s phrase for forex). These embrace rrupiya (Mawng, Burarra, Djinang) and wurrupiya (Tiwi). (And observe that Tiwi additionally makes use of wurrukwati “mussel shell” for “cash”).
In all probability probably the most progressive borrowing for cash, nonetheless used all through south-western Queensland, is banggu. The phrase derives from financial institution and –gu, the latter getting used to specific possession. So banggu actually means “of the financial institution”, and maybe emerged through the interval in Queensland historical past when the state authorities was withholding wages from Indigenous folks. These stolen wages are actually regarded as price as a lot as A$500 million in banggu.
Indigenous illustration on Australian forex
Indigenous Australians haven’t all the time been nicely represented on Australian forex. Take the bark portray by David Malangi on the again of the previous $1 observe launched in 1966, which was used with out consent or acknowledgement, or the primary polymer $10 observe, launched in 1988, which featured an nameless Indigenous man painted up for ceremony.
Distinction this to 1995, when the Indigenous man on the $50 observe was named as the primary revealed Indigenous creator, Ngarrindjeri author David Unaipon, or 2017 when a commemorative 50 cent coin was designed by Boneta-Marie Mabo and launched for Nationwide Reconciliation Week.
The usage of a number of phrases for cash on the brand new coin challenges the parable of a single Australian language. It additionally represents a shift to naming and individuation: from depicting Australian Indigenous folks and their languages as a single group, to recognising the variety of those teams and their languages.
Felicity Meakins receives funding from the Australian Analysis Council and contributed to the session on the usage of the Gurindji phrase for cash on the brand new 50 cent coin.
Michael Walsh receives funding from the Nationwide Well being and Medical Analysis Council.