A to Z challenge · Bloggers · languages

W is for … Warlpiri

Blogging from A to Z

Theme: Languages of the World


Warlpiri belongs to the South-West Ngarga branch of the Pama-Nyungan language family, the largest of the Indigenous Australian language families. It is spoken by about 2,500 Warlpiri people in Australia’s Northern Territory. It is one of the largest Northern Territory languages in Australia in terms of number of speakers.

Warlpiri has no official status in Australia. The language is endangered in spite of efforts to teach it to children in Warlpiri settlements. In some Warlpiri communities, children and young adults use “Light Warlpiri”, a variety of speech that combines elements of Warlpiri, Australian Aboriginal Kriol (an English-based creole) and Australian English.


Fascinating facts about Warlpiri

Warlpiri country is located in the Tanami Desert, east of the NT-WA border, west of the Stuart Highway and Tennant Creek, and northwest of Alice Springs.

The main communities in Warlpiri country are: Yuendumu, Lajamanu, Nyirrpi, and Willowra. Many Warlpiri live in Alice Springs, Tennant Creek, and the smaller towns of Central Australia.

Warlpiri traditional territory was resource-poor to white eyes, and lay a considerable distance away from the main telegraph routes and highway infrastructure built by Europeans, a fact which meant they conserved unlike many tribes affected by these intrusive developments, relatively intact and flourishing.

Warlpiri are famous for their tribal dances.

Warlpiris divide their relatives, and by extension the entire population, into eight named groups or subsections. These subsections are related to kinship, and determine one’s family rights and obligations. It follows from these rules that one must choose one’s spouse from a particular subsection, and traditional Warlpiri disapprove of marriages that break this constraint. The correct subsection to marry from is that of one’s maternal grandfather (though of course one seeks a spouse closer to one’s own age).

Warlpiris often address each other by subsection name rather than by personal name, and incorporate their subsection name into their English one, usually as a middle name.

Thanks for reading 🙂

army of authors · blog tour · dystopian

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Phil Featherstone

Paradise Girl

by Phil Featherstone

A few words from the author:

Readers often ask me where I got the idea for my novel Paradise Girl. The answer is, it came from a bug. Or, to be more precise, a virus.

Nobody knows how many viruses exist, but scientists agree that they outnumber all other living things put together (actually there’s some debate about whether viruses can actually be considered alive, but for now we’ll assume they can). Only a tiny number of them affect humans, and most of those that do are easily dealt with by the body’s immune system. However, there are a few that the immune system can’t cope with, and these can cause serious illness and, in extreme cases, death. An example is Ebola, which is spread through the transfer of body fluids. It’s also transmitted by fruit bats, which can carry the virus without being affected by it.

A few years ago a volcano in Iceland erupted, throwing smoke and ash several kilometres into the sky. A result of this was the grounding of commercial aircraft for several days. I live in a remote farmhouse high on the Pennine hills in the north of England. Usually the only signs of human life outside my home are the vapour trails of planes as they approach or depart from Manchester, or traverse the country to and from other places. At the time of the Icelandic eruption, they stopped. The skies were empty, a beautiful, clear blue. For that short time I could have been the only person alive. This started me thinking: suppose that really was the case, where might everyone else have gone? What might have happened to them? Destroyed by radiation? Abducted by aliens? Wiped out by a plague? Ebola was in the news at the time, and so the latter seemed the most likely.

I began to work on the idea. Somebody in such a situation would be subject to unbearable pressures. They would be desperately lonely and terribly afraid, alternating between relief at surviving and the daunting prospect of a future without hope. It would add poignancy if the central character was young, maybe still in their teens with their life before them. Think about an almost endless series of days stretching ahead, with nothing to relieve them or distinguish between them. What dark places might a mind go when faced with that? What terrible dreams might occur?

They would try to cope by writing a diary, which would describe what they saw, heard and thought, and through which they could reflect on their predicament. It seemed to me that this would work best if such a character was female. Kerryl Shaw introduced herself, and I began to write her story. You can read it in Paradise Girl.

Find the Paradise Girl here: https://amzn.to/2ETah9P

If you decide to grab a copy, be sure to leave a review for Phil.

Reviews keep authors writing! 

Thanks for reading.