CHIRILA stands for Contemporary and Historical Reconstruction in the Indigenous Languages of Australia. The name is based on the word tyirilya, a widespread term for “echidna” in the languages of Australia’s Western Desert Region. We wanted an acronym that describes the database, that relates to the languages we are working with, and that is pronounceable for English speakers.
The database is a lexical database (a database with words from different languages). Currently there are about 780,000 words from all over Australia. The publicly available portion of the database, at present, is considerably smaller, representing the materials that we have received explicit permission to release.
Contributing to the Database
We accept data contributions of all types relating to the languages of Australia. You can upload files directly to our site. The more data we have in the database, the more generally useful it will be. We would like, eventually, to have a database that contains words from all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in Australia. There are some parts of the country where we don’t have much information at the moment. These include:
- Cape York Peninsula
- Western Arnhem Land and Central Top End
- Southwest Western Australia
We’d be particularly interested in getting in contact with researchers and communities from these regions.
This project was funded in part by a Yale Digital Humanities Lab Software Development Seed Grant
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