Indigenous Strine (Woiwurrung) - Strine - Unknown Nichigo - ストラインと日本語


Guugu Yimithirr warriors

Modern Japanese is filled with examples of borrowed words from foreign languages, which are known as gairaigo. “G’day” is probably widely known throughout Japan as a symbol of Australian English, but there are some even more uniquely Australian words that have also made their way into Japanese.


Prime among those words is kangaroo, Australia’s national animal. An old myth is that kangaroo was the Guugu Yimithirr Indigenous Australian tribe’s term for “I don’t understand,” after Capt. James Cook had asked a tribe member the name of the mysterious animal with the pouch while in Australia in 1770. But kangaroo actually derives from the Guugu Yimithirr word gungurru.


Wallaby, the kangaroo’s shorter, stouter relative, comes from woraba in the Dharug language spoken by Indigenous Australians living in the area that is now Sydney. Rumors that wallaby was used for the name of Warabi, a city in Saitama Prefecture, are totally unfounded.

Wallabies cuddle up

Koala is another Dharug word to enter Japanese and means “one who doesn’t drink.” Koalas survive entirely on a diet of eucalyptus leaves and never need to consume water.


Finally, there’s another Indigenous Australia word of unknown origin in Japanese that keeps coming back – literally: boomerang, which of course refers to the weapon and tool, of which some versions return to the thrower after being hurled into the sky and is a uniquely Indigenous Australian gift to the world. Incidentally, Japanese astronaut Takao Doi confirmed in 2008 that boomerangs return in the weightlessness of space, just as they do on earth.


 最後にもうひつ、語源は不明な豪州原住民語だが日本で使われ、いくらそれをなくそうと思っても必ず手元に帰ってくる、という言葉がある。それがブーメランだ。(言葉をなくそうという動きがあるわけではないがギャグのために、そのように表現した。失礼!)。先住民は、数種類のブーメランを武器や狩猟用の道具として使用した。その一部のブーメランが投げ方により投げた人のところに戻ってくる。先住民が世界中に贈ったユニークなものだ。ちなみに、2008年3月に日本人宇宙飛行士土井 隆雄氏は、無重力の宇宙環境の中でもブーメランを投げれば戻ってくることを確認した。

注意: 日英豪問わず、オーストラリア先住民をアボリジニと呼ぶことがほとんどだ。しかし、アボリジニには「土人」という意味があり、確かに未だに広く使われ、聞き馴染みがあるかも知れませんが、豊かな文化や伝統を持つ先住民に対して差別的な意味合いがあるので、考えRoo.comでは使いません。