Aboriginal Languages of Australia - Bayala Database - columns and fields
Aboriginal Languages of Australia - Bayala Database - columns and fields
Aboriginal Languages of Australia - Bayala Database - columns and fields




INDICATOR TRANSCRIPTION 1 and 2 (shades of charcoal)












Fig. 4.31 Transcription indicators, and the explanation of the first example displayed in the charcoal bar


The ‘Indicator transcription’ columns provide keys to the particular transcription rule followed for the example concerned. For example, in English ‘ie’ and ‘ei’ can be sounded as in ‘either’, ‘receive’, ‘heifer’, ‘niece’, ‘pie’, ‘sieve’





















ie=cap I: ASSUME'-ie' PRONOUNCED AS IN 'die': TRANSCRIBE AS /a/ OR /ayi/





The table and explanation below it reproduce five of the ‘transcription indicator’ and their  associated ‘rues’. About a hundred are used in all, whereas for an Italian-based spelling system it might have been than none might have been needed.


NO HYPHENS (tawny)

As stated above, the ‘No hyphens’ column, which avoids the use of hyphens and double letters, aims at the simplest possible presentation of a respelt word, to enable the maximum possible ‘matches’ when a search is undertaken. 

This column is not intended as a ‘correct’ way to respell indigenous words but rather as a useful way of doing so for the purpose of these ‘Bayala databases’, given that they might examine any Australian indigenous language from Tasmania to the Tiwi Islands for comparative purposes, and their consequent need to adopt a single set of respelling principles for all.

Phonetics. There is no column that attempts to present a truly phonetic accurate rendering of any word, though such a column could be added. But the more specific the transcription, the fewer ‘matches’ will occur and the minor variations introduced will reduce the uniformity necessary for matches to occur.

Local respelling systems. There is also no column that reflects the spelling choices of any local indigenous group. Some such groups prefer the adopting of ‘k’, ‘t’ and ‘p’ in place of /g/, /d/ and /b/. 


And some systems reproduce ‘long’ vowels by doubling them. In this respect it is known (from William Dawes’s observations) that in the Sydney language ‘to see’ had such a long vowel, portrayed by Dawes as ‘naa’. However, consistent with the ‘no doubles’ principle, in this database system only ‘na’ is used. Part of the reason for this avoidance of portraying long vowels by doubling is that while ‘naa’ might known, practically no other Sydney language words are known with any certainty, and ‘no doubling’ avoids guesswork that would otherwise be necessary. 









Fig. 4.32

Australian indigenous languages have a way of pronouncing ‘n’ and ‘d’ different from English, which is sometimes rendered ‘nh’ and ‘dh’ by transcribers. For such occurrences, these databases may use a capital N and D. This is a visual clue to the corresponding sounds, but as the computer database does not distinguish between lower case and capital letters for sorting purpose, this devise does not reduce the sorting strength at all.



Similarly, capitals are used to denote long ‘a’ and ‘u’ vowels when they have been indicated by recorders, and again this usage is visual but by not altering the spelling again does not reduce the sorting strength in any way. The above graphic sometimes is present to indicate that these devices are being used.