Kala Lagaw Ya Language Analysis

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There are two main traditional languages, which are Kala Lagaw Ya and Meriam Mir, in Torres Strait Islands. Kala Lagaw Ya spoken on the western and central Torres Strait had four dialects, but now, only two of those dialects remain which are Kala Lagaw Ya and Kala Kawaw Ya (Shnukal 1993, pp. 152, 154). People live in islands located to near Papua New Guinea, such as Boigu and Saibai, speak Kala Kawaw Ya while Kala Lagaw Ya is spoken on Babu and Mabuiag (Shnukal p. 154). Another traditional language, the eastern Meriam Mir is spoken by older Murray Island and another dialect is spoken by people of Erub and Ugar (Shnukal 1993, p. 155). These traditional language is really significant for the Islanders, because language related to culture and identity (ppt). Shnukal (1993, p. 152) stated: ‘The absence of a shared language suggests that there was little sustained contact between two groups [the western and the eastern islands].’ Indeed, Kala Lagaw Ya is very different from Meriam Mir, for instance, the word turtle is ‘warru’ in Kala Lagaw Ya and ‘nam’ in Meriam Mir. Therefore, differences of languages can help the Islanders to understand and identify where they are originally from and make strong connection to their home islands. Especially, Torres Strait Islander cultures are ‘traditionally oral culture’ (ppt), so their languages have always made their cultures, such as songs and …show more content…

Philip, J 2001, 'Dogai (canoe figurehead) and warup (drum) and Dan-ga mai (breast ornament) and kuta (basket) and Pit tonar and bud lu (mourning necklance and mourning articles) ', in Past time: Torres Strait Islander material from the Haddon Collection, 1888-1905: a National Musuem of Australia exhibition from the University of Cambridge, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, ACT, pp. 13,16,23,31,45. 4.

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