Linguistic prehistory of the Australian boab

Patrick McConvell, Thomas Saunders, Stef Spronck

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


    Boabs, a close relation of the African baobabs, are found only in the Kimberley region of Western Australia and a region close by in the Northern Territory. Here several of the words for the boab tree and its parts are examined with special emphasis on loanwords which cross language family boundaries going in a west-east direction. It is proposed that this linguistic diffusion may reflect dispersal of the tree into new areas on the east, in relatively recent times. On the other hand another recent diffusion from the west of new salient functions of the boab fruit spread a new term to central Kimberley where boabs are known to have been present and used by humans for many thousands of years.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2014
    Event44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013 - Melbourne Australia
    Duration: 1 Jan 2014 → …


    Conference44th Conference of the Australian Linguistic Society, 2013
    Period1/01/14 → …


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