In 1972 when R. M. W. Dixon's classic grammar, The Dyirbal Language of North Queensland, was published, under thirty speakers of the 'traditional' language remained. Now only some of their children and grandchildren use the language; these younger people speak a simplified version. In this impressive empirical survey, Annette Schmidt analyses the changes that have taken place in the Dyirbal spoken by that last generation of its speakers at the levels of phonology, morphology, syntax, the lexicon and semantics. She also provides a detailed account of the socio-linguistic setting of the community and the attitudes towards Dyirbal among younger speakers, their elders and English speakers.
1. Introduction; 2. Aim and Method; 3. Sociolinguistic Perspective; 4. Structural Change; 5. Yd in Natural Context; 6. A Topic in Semantics: Changes in Noun Classification; 7. Lexicon; 8. Phonology; 9. Jambun English; 10. Language Death and General Linguistic Issues; 11. Conclusion.