Linguistic prehistory of the Australian boab

Patrick McConvell, Thomas Saunders, Stef Spronck

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Boabs, a close relation of the African baobabs, are found only in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and a region close by in the Northern Territory. Here several of the words for the boab tree and its parts are examined with special emphasis on loanwords which cross language family boundaries going in a west-east direction. It is proposed that this linguistic diffusion may reflect dispersal of the tree into new areas on the east, in relatively recent times. On the other hand another recent diffusion from the west of new salient functions of the boab fruit spread a new term to central Kimberley where boabs are known to have been present and used by humans for many thousands of years.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSelected Papers from the 44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013
EditorsLauren Gawne, Jill Vaughan
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in conference proceedings

Cite this

McConvell, P., Saunders, T., & Spronck, S. (2014). Linguistic prehistory of the Australian boab. In L. Gawne, & J. Vaughan (Eds.), Selected Papers from the 44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013