bruderlin maclean publishing services website
EDITING editing aboriginal voices

Editing Aboriginal voices

Editing Aboriginal writing: is it different?

Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Indigenous?

Australian Aboriginal English

Representing people's voices in print: English words

Representing people's voices in print: language words

Glossing Aboriginal languages

CATE workshop, August 2009

Useful resources for those editing Aboriginal writing

Representing people's voices in print: glossing

The glossing of Aboriginal languages (or sometimes Kriol or Aboriginal English) is not common in trade or even most educational titles; in fact, it's usually reserved for grammars and language learning materials.

The term "glossing" refers to the presentation of a text broken down into its individual words, and the individual words broken down into their various parts. Consider the following example, drawn from the Bigibila (Echidna) story which features on Guwaabal, a web site devoted to the Gamilaraaay and Yuwaalaraay languages of northern New South Wales.

Bigibila-gu-bala winanga-y, guwaa-y, hear-Past say-Past
The porcupine heard it, and he said:


"Aa, minya ngaama bundaa-nhi?"
aa what? that.the fall-Pas
"Aa, what fell there?"


I won't attempt to prescribe rules here for glossing as it's far too specialised a field for me to cover. I do think it's worth bringing to the attention of editors who might find themselves working with Aboriginal languages.

If you're interested, the following link goes to a page on the Leipzig Glossing Rules that were developed by the Department of Linguistics of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and by the Department of Linguistics of the University of Leipzig. While called "rules" they actually reflect common usage, and "only very few (mostly optional) innovations are proposed".



bruderlin maclean facebook page bruderlin maclean home page bruderlin maclean portfolio page bruderlin maclean description of services bruderlin maclean client list bruderlin maclean about us page bruderlin maclean contact details