February 13, 2006

'Kangooroo' is the word that James Cook originally recorded in his June 1770 diary, and it comes from the Guugu Yimidhir language in Northern Australia. Later when white people landed around present-day Sydney, the locals who spoke a completely different language naturally didn't understand them when they pointed to the large jumping creatures. English borrowed the words koala, dingo, billabong, kookaburra, and boomerang from the language of these aboriginals, but that language is now dead. Since the arrival of Captain Cook, many other Australian aboriginal languages have also gone extinct.


Anonymous said...

what does billabong mean? i know there is clothing line called billabong.

Stephen said...

n. Australian
1. A dead-end channel extending from the main stream of a river.
2. A streambed filled with water only in the rainy season.
3. A stagnant pool or backwater.
And according to the Cambridge dictionary "a low area of ground which was part of a river in the past, which only fills up with water when the river floods"