Australian Aboriginals

tmp_7135-162123296031183566899In topic 5 we discussed language loss, maintenance and revival.
I found this seminar by Leanne Hinton that was given at ANU about reclaiming indigenous languages in not just Australia, but also in America and New Zealand. Leanne works in California with Indigenous Americans and their languages and I found her talk very interesting. This is an hour long, but if you have the time I do recommend watching this!

Genevieve Stewart

Early publication of this grammar of Tiwi has probably been of great benefit to Tiwi’s present day strength and vibrance. While other Aboriginal languages suffer for want of reference works, those with reference works stand a stronger chance of survival over these next 50 years of global language extinction.

Good luck (and good funding) to those involved in this work.

(S G Hughes LING366 Trimester 2 – 2016).

You arrive at camp only to find you there are elders from a far off group and you need an icebreaker. Your laptop takes too long to boot and you only have a few minutes to come up with a few words to help build bridges. What are you going to do?

There’s an app for that.

Yugambeh Museum just south of Brisbane have released an app, a kind of talking dictionary of seven Aboriginal languages with a few extras. While containing only brief notes on grammar, there’s a list section where categories of words can be seen and heard, such as “family members” “body parts” and various creatures. I saw Jessica Mauboy say in Jingeri “Hi” on a Youtube link. A nice fresh connection to an Australian language.

Such a quick access for anyone to hear and see unfamiliar pronunciations of common words is a real drawcard for this resource, and bodes well for the future for this kind of language learning technology. Having used the Duolingo app I can say that languages can become living in your home when one plays and imitates unique sound landscapes. A great place to start for the curious.

This is also a prompt to advocates of Aboriginal languages. Here is real linguistic opportunity to build grammar skills to wide number of groups with a highly accessible learning technology.

Dan Mitchell

This short, simple YouTube is a tribute to the languages spoken for thousands of years by Australia’s first people. The YouTube contains only words, names of languages lost, and a voice naming each of the languages. I found this thought provoking YouTube ‘ very emotive. Let’s consider the causes of the continual demise of the remaining few Aboriginal languages and think of ways to stop the annihilation. Creating awareness could be the first step because it’s hard to believe but there are non-Aboriginal Australians who are ignorant to the fact that English is not the first language of our first people. This has become apparent to me during the course of my study in this unit, LING566. The YouTube is based on the CD ‘Balance’, by Bruce Watson, featuring Bruce with Tracey Roberts on piano and Gavan McCarthy on bass. See You Tube.

The following quote accompanies the YouTube. ‘Every language lost is a way of seeing the world lost. Many Aboriginal people refer to these languages not as lost but ‘sleeping’, and are working hard to maintain and re-awaken languages’.

Annette Purton LING566

In this article you will read about Brooke Joy who has studied and speacialised in the Bunganditj language. The language was once spoken fluently by Boandik people, during the 20th Century the language gradually fell from use. Brooke is keen to see the Bunganditj language revived and has been helping teach a langage program within the community. Read the full article here: Lost language of Boandik Indigenous people revived in traditional possum fur cloak

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