Wheeled vehicle terminology in Australian languages

David Nash

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    Indigenous Australians' original encounters with wheeled vehicles have led to their forming terminology in their languages to denote this concept (or concepts). I survey the words in Australia which encompass 'wheeled vehicle' and 'motor vehicle' as a sense, and some related terminology (vehicle parts, related actions) and some cultural associations. In areas where non-motor vehicles were already known, those terms were simply extended (loans of 'cart', 'wheelbarrow', but apparently not 'wagon' or 'dray'). Where the first encountered vehicles were motorised, a relevant borrowing from English is common (such as from 'motor car', 'truck'). Sometimes an existing word of the language has its meaning extended, so for instance a 'coolamon' word acquires the sense 'vehicle, boat'. Sometimes a shared attribute is metonymically chosen (for instance 'fast', or the manufacturer's name). Coinages are based on shape, sound, or action.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationMore than mere words: Essays on language and linguistics in honour of Peter Sutton
    EditorsPaul Monaghan and Michael Walsh
    Place of PublicationAdelaide
    PublisherWakefield Press
    ISBN (Print)978 1743057551
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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