Wordlist for Australian languages

Author : Peter Sutton and Michael Walsh

Publication date : 1979

Bibliographical references :

Sutton, Peter and Walsh, Michael. 1979. Revised Linguistic Fieldwork manual for Australia. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.


"This wordlist is intended for use in the study of Australian Aboriginal languages. It is in part a guide to what can be elicited in these languages, and should be useful in dictionary-making, semantic studies and lexical comparisons. It is not primarily a field-elicitation list." (Sutton and Walsh, 1979: 37)
It gathers 2130 words in English to translate into the studied language.

Protocol summary

"The structure of the wordlist follows A. Capell's Methods and Materials for Recording Australian Languages published in Oceania December 1945.  The major divisions are Nouns, Adjectives, Verbs ans Miscellaneous. Within these divisions most items are grouped semantically, and a European taxonomy is applied to flora and fauna. An alphabetical finder-list is placed last and constitutes a number-index to the entries in the various sections". (Sutton and Walsh, 1979: 37)

Development context

"The wordlist is published by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies as a separate book. In its separate book form English entries constitutes a column on the left-hand side with a blank column to the right of them, with spaces left for the insertion of enties in Aboriginal languages - either different languages/dialects or individual speakers of the same language. [...]  
The compilers acknowledge in particular the assistance of the following individuals for their comments on earlier drafts of this wordlist: B.J. Blake, A. Capell, R.M.W Dixon and W.H. Douglas. Most of the substantial published vocabularies of Australian languages, a variety of Aboriginal ethnographies, publications on Australian flora and fauna, and my own experiences in attempting to elicit vocabulary in Australian languages provided the basis for the contents of this list." (Sutton and Walsh, 1979: 37 & 39)

Back to the previous page