Australian Languages is the magnum opus of Hermann Nekes and Ernest Worms,
two missionary linguists who undertook pioneering investigations of a
number of languages spoken in Dampier Land and the Kimberley (far north
west of Australia) and to a lesser extent further afield, in Queensland and
New South Wales during the 1930s and 1940s. Presenting a wealth of
information on many now extinct or moribund languages, the work is of
enormous value to descendants of speakers as well as to linguists,
including Australianists, descriptive linguists, typologists, and
historians of linguistics.
The original text of Australian Languages, which previously appeared only
on micro-film, is divided into five parts: a grammar outlining some of the
major features of Australian languages (with particular focus on the
Nyulnyulan languages traditionally spoken on Dampier Land); an English
finder list; an alphabetically arranged wordlist covering a variety of
languages; a separate wordlist of Dyirbal (North Queensland), and a small
number of texts.
William B. McGregor has revised, annotated and updated the material. An
accompanying CD-ROM contains a digitized facsimile of the entire original
micro-film with links to an electronic version of the book, a user-friendly
database version of the dictionaries and other accompanying material.