Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several by James Dawson

By James Dawson

James Dawson first released Australian Aborigines in 1881, after figuring out that his cautious description of the tribes, languages, customs, and features of the indigenous peoples of the western district of Victoria used to be too cumbersome for its initially meant booklet in a newspaper. basically a field-inspired anthropological account of the dwindling Aboriginal inhabitants, written ahead of the emergence of anthropology as a proper self-discipline, Dawson's e-book attracts on his daughter's skill to talk the neighborhood languages and makes an attempt a balanced description of a tradition he thought of ill-used and under-appreciated via white settlers. Minute information about garments, instruments, cost and ideology mix to depict a fancy society that possessed hugely ritualised customs deserving of admire. Dawson additionally incorporated an intensive vocabulary of phrases in 3 indigenous languages that he was hoping could facilitate additional cross-cultural figuring out. His paintings offers important resource fabric for contemporary researchers in anthropology and linguistics.

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Extra resources for Australian Aborigines: The Languages and Customs of Several Tribes of Aborigines in the Western District of Victoria, Australia

Sample text

When the family is travelling, the youngest child under two years old is carried on the mother's back beneath her rug, occasionally in company with a young dingo. When obliged to leave its comfortable pouch to make room for another arrival, it rides on its father's back for a year or two, with a leg over each shoulder, and both hands holding on to his front hair. In cold weather, the children, while sitting in the wuurn, are covered with a single kangaroo skin or a small opossum rug, thrown over their shoulders ; but when they go outside they leave the skin or rug behind, as they prefer keeping them dry for inside comfort.

The widow, with the sanction of the chief, make arrangements for her re-marriage, and she must marry the man chosen for her. If the widow has no near relatives, the arrangements are made by the chief of her tribe. Her own inclinations are not consulted in the matter. No marriage or betrothal is permitted without the approval of the chiefs of each party, who first ascertain that no 'flesh' relationship exists, and even then their permission must be rewarded by presents. So strictly are the laws of marriage carried out, that, should any signs of affection and courtship be observed between those of ' one flesh,' the brothers, or male relatives of the woman beat her severely; the man is brought before the chief, and accused of an intention to fall into the same flesh, and is severely reprimanded by the tribe.

Every person speaks the tribal language of the father, and must never mix it with any other. The mother of a child is the only exception to this law, for, in talking to it, she must use its father's language as far as she can, and not her own. At the same time, she speaks to her husband in her own tribal language, and he speaks to her in his; so that all conversation is carried on between husband and wife in the same way as between an Englishman and a Frenchwoman, each speaking his or her own language.

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