Yir-Yoront (several other names; see below) is an Australian Aboriginal language spoken in coastal southwestern Cape York Peninsula, Queensland. It is the traditional language of the Yir-Yoront people, most of whom now speak English.
is written hyphenated
as a way of indicating that the syllable following the hyphen is stressed. In the standard orthography, it is correctly spelt Yirr-Yorront
(with "rr" to indicate a tapped liquid). There is a valid alternative pronunciation with stress on the first syllable; this can be written YirrqYorront
. Other spellings encountered include Yir Yoront
(with a space) and Jir Joront
Other names for the language include
- Yirr-Thuchm ('from the sandridges')
- Kok-Minychen, the name of this language in Koko-Bera (Kok-Kaper), now used by speakers of a number of other languages and occasionally used as a self-designation (other spellings encountered include Koko-Minychena, Kokomindjen, Mandjoen, Mind'jana, Mundjun, and Myunduno)
- Kuuk-Thaanhon, the name of this language in Kuuk-Thaayorre
- Gwandera (designating a language to the south in early sources, and occasionally incorrectly applied to this group)
- Millera (no source given)
(known in Yirr-Yorront as Yirr-Thangell) are sister dialects. The territory of Yirr-Yorront is around the mouth of the Main Mitchell River and to the north and east; that of Yirrk-Thangalkl is south of there to the mouth of the South Mitchell, and running to the east and north. Yirrk-Thangalkl is also known as Yirrk-Mel
(Yir Mel in the writings of the anthropologist Lauriston Sharp).
Inventory of Sounds
Yirr-Yorront contrasts stops and nasals at five points of articulation (labial: p
; lamino-dental: th
; apico-alveolar: t
; apico-post-alveolar (retroflex): rt
; lamino-alveopalatal: ch
; and dorso-velar: k
; it contrasts laterals at three of these positions (lh
), a retroflex tap at one position (rr
), and glides at three positions (w
); in addition, there is a contrastive glottal catch (q
). There are five contrastive full vowels (i
) and a schwa (v
) that distinguishes certain syllable types.
Yirrk-Thangalkl has a similar system minus rt, rn, rl, and q.
- Alpher, B. (1991). Yir-Yoront lexicon: sketch and dictionary of an Australian language. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.