ALL IN A NAME?

Australian Geographic - - YOUR SAY -

I en­thu­si­as­ti­cally sup­port Mau­rits Zwankhuizen’s sug­ges­tion ( Cast­ing out the devil, AG 137) of al­lo­cat­ing long­stand­ing Abo­rig­i­nal nomen­cla­ture to Aus­tralian na­tive an­i­mals, be­cause it shows due re­spect and makes for a more ac­cu­rate and in­ter­est­ing lan­guage. When I was a res­i­dent of the Flin­ders Ranges, I wit­nessed the pride of the Ad­nya­math­anha on ref­er­enc­ing that their word ‘witch­etty’ was com­monly used across Aus­tralia for that de­li­cious fat white grub found within the roots and trunks of trees. I re­mem­ber the ap­pre­ci­a­tion they shared when I chose to learn some of their nouns and use them reg­u­larly in con­ver­sa­tions.

COLIN MUR­DOCH, PORT LIN­COLN SA

I thor­oughly en­dorse Mau­rits Zwankhuizen’s sen­ti­ments in his ar­ti­cle Cast­ing out the devil (AG 137). Re­nam­ing our fauna, in my mind, should be a higher pri­or­ity than re­nam­ing ge­o­graph­i­cal lo­ca­tions.This is be­cause so many of our fauna are er­ro­neously named for the rea­sons given by Mau­rits. I was quite dis­ap­pointed a few years ago when I learnt that emu may have come from a Por­tuguese word for os­trich! Some­thing to keep in mind with this process is try­ing to use words the non-Abo­rig­i­nal tongue has a rea­son­able chance of get­ting around. If the word is ‘un­pro­nounce­able’ for the rest of us, it is un­likely to catch on.

KEN AND LYNNE COWEN, BILOELA, QLD

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