The Google Earth .kmz file can be downloaded by clicking here.

Darling Harbour East, a part of Sydney that is currenty a shipyard and will be turned into just another residential and business precinct, has been renamed Barangaroo, despite calls from many to call it The Hungry Mile.

Now, I could go on about the politics of it all, but it’s all been said. Paul Keating called it ‘Aboriginal kitsch’, and others have called it token, pointing out that the site had a language name Go-mo-ra (Precisely which language I don’t know) that should have been chosen instead. It’s mostly summarised here.

The whole ‘aboriginal names’ thing got me interested again in ethnotoponymy, and I decided to update a Google Earth file that I started last year. It began when I learned that the Geographic Names Board gave dual names to 20 sites in and around Sydney Harbour.

Anyway, I found information in the public domain about other place names in Aboriginal languages that the Geographic Names Board knows about from strong historical records. So, I consolidated all this information and put it into the file and came up with a Google Earth folder with a large number of placenames (75 or so) in lcoal languages. Unfortunately there isn’t much information available that indicates which languages they are, but I’m sure someone out there knows this.

Also, this is an orthographical mess, due to a number of factors, most notably the Geographic Names Board redefining orthography and spelling systems so that the names are pronounceable with only English as assumed knowledge. For instance, they use ‘oo’ where linguists would use ‘u’ and they use ‘u’ where linguists use ‘a’. With some of the names, apart from the first 20, I have used a spelling that differs from the ‘official’ one (I don’t think it’s official at all, so I think I’m allowed to), for reasons such as ease of reading, orthographical regularity, and so on. Apart from this I have simply reproduced information that is available online. Translation: if any of this is wrong, it ain’t my fault.

I’m seeing a lot of benefits to using Google Earth for linguistics-related things, Lameen over at Jabal al-Lughat had another use for it that could be very useful.

I don’t quite know how to upload such files, so this may not work. Click here, it should download straight away.