The speech of the Tasmanian Aborigines

Ritz, Hermann B 1909 , 'The speech of the Tasmanian Aborigines' , Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania , pp. 44-81 .

1909-Ritz-Speec...pdf | Download (2MB)
Available under University of Tasmania Standard License.


The reconstruction of the speech of the extinct Tasmanian
Aborigines seems at first almost impossible,
owing to the paucity and dubiousness of the records we
possess; but after careful research we find that, though
the records are scanty, yet they are fairly ample, considering
the comparatively small number of the constituent
parts of the language, and a reasonable degree
of probability can be attained by a patient study of the
material available.
As a trained philologist, I am well aware of the
classification of the languages of mankind, and have a
working knowledge of a certain number of them; but
I find the characteristics of the Tasmanian speech so
primitive and unstable, that I cannot see my way to enrol
it in any of the classes given by the text-books.
Practically all the available material is contained
in H. Ling Roth's work, "The Aborigines of Tasmania" (Halifax, 1899), supplemented by H. De
Charency's "Recherches sur les Dialectes Tasmaniens"
(Alencon, 1880).
What I have endeavoured to do is to find the principles
by which the speech of the primitive race of the
Tasmanians was governed. It seems that the languages
of the Australian continent are far more developed;
however, this is a subject for further research.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Ritz, Hermann B
Keywords: Royal Society of Tasmania, Van Diemens Land, VDL, Hobart Town, natural sciences, proceedings, records
Journal or Publication Title: Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
ISSN: 0080-4703
Collections: Royal Society Collection > Papers & Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania
Additional Information:

In 1843 the Horticultural and Botanical Society of Van Diemen's Land was founded and became the Royal Society of Van Diemen's Land for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science in 1844. In 1855 its name changed to Royal Society of Tasmania for Horticulture, Botany, and the Advancement of Science. In 1911 the name was shortened to Royal Society of Tasmania.

Item Statistics: View statistics for this item

Actions (login required)

Item Control Page Item Control Page