Language name: Wik-Mungkan

Wik-Mungkan Austlang code: Y57

Historical overview of Wik-Mungkan Nation:

Wik-Mungkan is a Paman language variety classified as Middle Paman based on lexicostatistical work carried out by Hale (1966). The majority of Wik-Mungkan speakers reside at Aurukun, a community established on the west coast of CYP as a Moravian mission in 1904 and now home to approximately 1300 people with a number of clan and language affiliations. The shire of Aurukun includes Wik, Wik-way and Kugu country (www.aurukun.qld.gov.au).

Language situation:

Wik-Mungkan is the first language of children at Aurukun, but is also coming under increasing pressure from English, the language of administration, schooling and health in the community of Aurukun.

Hale, K. (1966). The Paman group of the Pama-Nyungan phylic family. In G. N. O’Grady, C. F. Voegelin & F. M. Voegelin (Eds.), Languages of the world: Indo-Pacific fascicle 6 (Anthropological Linguistics 8/2) (pp. 162-197).

Sources: History of Wik-Mungkan Nation (publications, recordings, film etc.)

Adams, E. J. (1970). Changes in Wikmunkan kinship structures: An introductory analysis.

Martin, D. F. (1993). Autonomy and relatedness: An ethnography of Wik people of Aurukun, Western Cape York Peninsula.

Martin, D. F. (2002). Counting the Wik: The 2001 Census in Aurukun, western Cape York Peninsula. In D. F. Martin, F. Morphy, W. G. Sanders, & J. Taylor (Eds.), Making sense of the Census: Observations of the 2001 enumeration in remote Aboriginal Australia (pp. 13–28). Canberra: Australian National University E Press.

McConnel, U. H. (1930a). The Wik-Munkan Tribe of Cape York Peninsula. Oceania, 1(1), 97–104.

McConnel, U. H. (1930b). The Wik-Munkan Tribe. Part II. Totemism. Oceania, 1(2), 181–205.

McConnel, U. H. (1934). The Wik-Munkan and allied tribes of Cape York Peninsula, N.Q. Oceania, 4(3), 310–367.

McConnel, U. H. (1935). Myths of the Wikmunkan and Wiknatara tribes: Bonefish and Bullroarer totems. Oceania, 6(1), 66–93.

McConnel, U. H. (1945). Wikmunkan Phonetics. Oceania, 15(4), 353–375.

McKnight, D. (1971). Some problems concerning the Wik-mungkan. In R. Needham (Ed.), Rethinking kinship and marriage (pp. 145–180). London: Tavistock Publications.

McKnight, D. (1973). Sexual symbolism of food among the Wik-Mungkan. Man, 8(2), 194–209.

McKnight, D. (1975). Men, women, and other animals: Taboo and purification among the Wik-mungkan. In R. Willis (Ed.), The interpretation of symbolism (p. ??). London: Malaby Press.

McKnight, D. (1981). The Wik-Mungkan concept Nganwi: A study of mystical power and sickness in an Australian tribe. Bijdragen Tot de Taal-, Land- En Volkenkunde / Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia, 137(1), 90–105.

Needham, R. (1962). Genealogy and category in Wikmunkan society. Ethnology, 1(2), 223–264.

Needham, R. (1963). The Wikmunkan mother’s brother: Inference and evidence. The Journal of Teh Polynesian Society, 72(2), 139–151.

Sayers, B. J. (1977). Aboriginal world view and tense, mood and aspect in Wik-Munkan. In ?? (Ed.), Workpapers in Papua New Guinea Languages 20 (pp. 69–85). Ukarumpa: Summer Institute of Linguistics.

Sturmer, J. R. von. (1978). The Wik region: Economy, territoriality and totemism in western Cape York Peninsula, north Queensland.

Sutton, P. (1978). Wik: Aboriginal society, territory and language at Cape Keerweer, Cape York Peninsula, Australia.

Sutton, P. (2002). On the translatability of placenames in the Wik region, Cape York Peninsula. In L. Hercus, F. Hodges, & J. Simpson (Eds.), The land is a map: Placenames of Indigenous origin in Australia. Canberra: Pandanus Books.

Thomson, D. F. (1936). Fatherhood in the Wik Monkan tribe. American Anthropologist, 38(3), 374–393.

Thomson, D. F. (1946). Names and naming in the Wik Monkan tribe. The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, 76(2), 157–168.

 

 

Overview of previous documentation efforts:

Bible translation work by Scripture Gift Mission, Bible Society in Australia and Wycliffe Bible Translators. SIL (mid-70’s)

 

Wik-Mungkan: Linguists and existing archived materials:

·      Ken Hale

·      Sandra Keen

·      Christine Kilham

·      Michael Winnington Martin

·      Barbara Sayers

·      Peter Sutton

·      Manuscripts/field notes in the AIATSIS library

·      Tape transcriptions/field note available

Wik-Mungkan grammar:

·      Kilham, Christine. 1977. Thematic organization of Wik-Munkan discourse: Pacific Linguistics B52. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

·      Alan Ray, In prep. A grammar of Wik-Mungkan. PhD Dissertation. Monash University, Clayton, Victoria.

Wik-Mungkan dictionary:

·      Christine Kilham, Mabel Pamulkan, Jennifer Pootchemunka, and Topsy Wolmby. 1986. Dictionary and source book.

AUSTLANG Documentation Score

Word list         Large (more than 200 pages)                           4

Text Collection            Large (more than 200 pages)               4

Grammar         Large grammar (more than 200 pages)            4

Audio-Visual  More than 10                                                   3

Sources relating to documentation of target language:

Adams, E. J. (1970). Changes in Wikmunkan kinship structures: An introductory analysis.

Godfrey, M. (1964). Tentative outline grammar of Wik-Munkan. In W. J. Oates & L. F. Oates (Eds.), Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies (pp. 57–78). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Godfrey, M. (1970). Wik-Munkan verb morphology. In S. A. Wurm, A. Capell, & D. C. Laycock (Eds.), Pacific linguistic studies in honour of Arthur Capell (pp. 741–756). Canberra: Linguistic Circle of Canberra.

Godfrey, M. F. (1967). Notes on Word, Phrase and Sentence Levels in Wik-Munkan.

Godfrey, M., & Kerr, H. B. (1964). Personal pronouns in Wik-Munkan. In R. Pittman & H. B. Kerr (Eds.), Papers on the languages of the Australian Aborigines (pp. 13–34). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Hale, K. (1976). Wik reflections of Middle Paman phonology. In P. Sutton (Ed.), Languages of Cape York (pp. 50–60). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Huchet, F. M. (1990). Spatial deixis, aspect and direction in Wik-Mungkan.

Kerr, H. B. (1964). Comparison of Anyula base pronouns with Burera, Maung and Wik-Munkan. In R. S. Pittman & H. B. Kerr (Eds.), Papers on the languages of the Australian Aborigines (pp. 149–150). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Kilham, C. A. (1972). Wik-Mungkan – an ergative Aboriginal language? (Vol. 27458). John Oxley Collection.

Kilham, C. A. (1974a). Compound words and close-knit phrases in Wik-Mungkan. In Papers in Australian linguistics (Vol. 7, pp. 45–73). Canberra: Linguistic Circle of Canberra.

Kilham, C. A. (1974b). Thematic organization of Wik-Munkan discourse.

Kilham, C. A. (1977). Thematic organization of Wik-Munkan discourse. Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Kilham, C. A. (1986). Grammatical sketch of Wik-Mungkan. In C. Kilham (Ed.), Dictionary and source book of the Wik-Mungkan language (pp. 399–419). Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines Branch.

Kilham, C. A. (1987). Word order in Wik-Mungkan. In W. Winter & D. C. Laycock (Eds.), A world of language: Papers presented to Professor S. A. Wurm on his 65th birthday (pp. 361–368). Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Kilham, C. A., Adams, J., Bell, J., & Namponan, G. (1986). Dictionary and sourcebook of the Wik-Mungkan language. Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines Branch.

Kuntz, L., & Johnson, S. (1989). Topics in Wik Mungkan Phonology.

Oates, W. J., & Oates, L. F. (1964). Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Osgarby, D. (2015, January). A hundred years of language change: Introductory remarks on the post-colonial history of Wik and Kugu languages in Aurukun (Cape York Peninsula). Presented at the CoEDL/UQ Language Contact Symposium, St Lucia, QLD.

Sayers, B. J. (1964). The phonemes of Coen Wik-Munkan. In W. J. Oates & L. F. Oates (Eds.), Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies (pp. 51–56). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Sayers, B. J. (1976a). Interpenetration of stress and pitch in Wik-Munkan grammar and phonology (Part 1). In J. Hudson (Ed.), Papers in Australian linguistics: No. 9 (pp. 31–79). Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Sayers, B. J. (1976b). The relevance of stress and pitch in the grammatical hierarchy of Wik-Mungkan (Wik-Munkan). In P. Sutton (Ed.), Languages of Cape York (p. ??). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Sayers, B. J. (1976c). The sentence in Wik-Munkan: A description of propositional relationships. Canberra: Department of Linguistics, Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.

Sayers, B. J. (1977). What are contrastive syllables? The Wik-Munkan picture. In J. Hudson (Ed.), Five papers in Australian phonologies (pp. 131–143). Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines Branch.

Sayers, B. J. (1980). Wik-Munkan children’s speech: A look at their speech and the situation in which it evolved. Sydney.

Sayers, B. J. (1981). Language and culture: A look at their relationship in Wik-Munkan. Sydney.

Sayers, B. J. (1982). From morpheme to discourse: A study of reference in Wik-Munkan.

Sayers, B. J. (1997a). Reference in the Wik-Mungkan relative clause. In M. McLellan (Ed.), Studies in Aboriginal grammars (pp. 77–86). Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines and Islanders Branch.

Sayers, B. J. (1997b). Reference in Wik-Mungkan from a systemic perspective. In M. McLellan (Ed.), Studies in Aboriginal grammars (pp. 63–75). Darwin: Summer Institute of Linguistics, Australian Aborigines and Islanders Branch.

Sayers, B. J., & Godfrey, M. (1964). Outline description of the alphabet and grammar of a dialect of Wik-Munkan spoken at Coen, North Queensland. In W. J. Oates & L. F. Oates (Eds.), Gugu-Yalanji and Wik-Munkan language studies (pp. 49–78). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Sayers, B. J., & Kerr, H. B. (1964). Wik-Munkan locative, temporal and demonstrative pronouns. In R. Pittman & H. B. Kerr (Eds.), Papers on the languages of the Australian Aborigines (pp. 1–12). Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.

Sutton, P. (1978). Wik: Aboriginal society, territory and language at Cape Keerweer, Cape York Peninsula, Australia.

 

Overview of previous maintenance and revitalisation efforts:

Missionary work began in Aurukun in 1902 by German Moravian Rev. Arthur Richter and his wife Elisabeth. In 1913 the Richters left Aurukun temporarily for Germany and did not return due to the outbreak of World War I. The mission then changed hands from the Moravians to a Mr Holmes who lived as superintendent in Aurukun mission with his wife until 1924.

From 1925 to 1965, the Presbyterian missionary Rev. J. W. ‘Bill’ MacKenzie lived in Aurukun as superintendent with and his wife Geraldine. The then isolation of Aurukun from the English-speaking world, and the MacKenzies’ unusually liberal support of traditional Wik practices, ceremonies and languages may have contributed to the maintenance of Wik-Mungkan throughout their forty year period in Aurukun. After the departure of the MacKenzies, a new and increasing mission staff arriving in Aurukun exposed Wik speakers for the first time to negative and derogatory attitudes to Wik languages.

In December 1971 Athol Durre, the head teacher in Aurukun, invited the Summer Institute of Linguistics to Aurukun to begin plans for a bilingual education program in the primary school. The program commenced in 1973 and lasted for around fifteen years until 1988, when a policy of ‘mono-literacy’ in English was adopted. The years after the bilingual education program saw a slowing of production of teaching materials in Wik-Mungkan. Despite the lack of institutional support, language materials continued to be published, notably with the consistent support of Jeanie Adams.

In 2013 Cape York Institute supported a volunteer placement in Aurukun to investigate the possibility of reintroducing language lessons to the Koolkan Aurukun Community School (Cape York Aboriginal Australian Academy, Aurukun Campus). This developed into a collaboration between Good to Great Schools Australia and Cape York Institute in 2014–2015 to develop materials and curriculum for a Wik-Mungkan language program. During this period a proposal was developed to establish a regional Ancestral Language Unit within the Institute, leading to the establishment of the Pama Language Centre in 2015.

Sources of information relating to and resources produced by previous revitalisation efforts

Ganter, Regina. (2016). Aurukun (1904-1913). Retrieved January 30, 2016, from http://missionaries.griffith.edu.au/qld-mission/aurukun-1904-1913#_ednref4

Kretschmann, G. C. (1988). Bilingual program – the Aurukun experience: Where from? Where to? Aboriginal Child at School, 16(4), 21–28.

Queensland Government. (2015). Aurukun. Retrieved January 30, 2016, from https://www.qld.gov.au/atsi/cultural-awareness-heritage-arts/community-histories-aurukun/

Sayers, B. J. (1982). Aurukun children’s speech: Language history and implications for bilingual education. In G. R. McKay & B. A. Sommer (Eds.), Applications of linguistics to Australian Aboriginal contexts (pp. 46–56). Parkville: Applied Linguistics Association of Australia.

 

 

Current situation

Benchmarking observations

Current EGIDS rating:

Vigorous (6a), i.e. the language is used for face-to-face communication by all generations and the situation is sustainable.

Quantification, elaboration, discussion
Intergenerational transmission Wik-Mungkan is acquired as the first language of all children in Aurukun, although the form of the language and the extent to which language mixing with varieties of English occurs is rapidly changing.
Oracy Members of all generations speak fluent Wik-Mungkan, and do so on a daily basis. Usually interactions in English are restricted to those involving someone not raised in Aurukun (a non-Wik-Mungkan speaker). Children of all ages speak to each other in Wik-Mungkan.
Literacy Very few speakers are able to read Wik-Mungkan fluently. No more than five older community members (who were involved in literacy programs at the school) are able to read and write fluently. Although many of the year six and seven students (2014) were able to read a jointly written Wik-Mungkan play without formal reading lessons. This is potentially attributable to a transparent orthography, and a literacy program at the school with a strong focus on phonemic awareness in English.
# speakers grandparent generation 100%
# speakers parent generation 100%
Other observations Number of speakers

1050 speakers (Census, 2006)

NILS endangerment Grade (0–5)

Grade 5

NILS language proficiency and usage scale

1–19 years 20–39 years 40–59 years 60+
8 8 8 8

 

 

Existing and potential resources

Existing resources  Description
Word list/dictionary

Wik-Mungkan Dictionary and source book.

Author: Christine Kilham, Mabel Pamulkan, Jennifer Pootchemunka, and Topsy Wolmby

Date: 1986

Location:

 

 

Grammar

Thematic organization of Wik-Munkan discourse: Pacific Linguistics B52. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Author: Kilham, Christine

Date: 1977

Location:

Grammar

A grammar of Wik-Mungkan. PhD Dissertation. Monash University, Clayton, Victoria.

Author: Alan Ray

Date: In prep.

Location

Other (specify)

Author

Date

Location

Other
Other
Other