It is apparent that there is a push in the Northern Territory at some level to preserve the traditional languages. This news clip (see link below) discusses the release of a new book for children written in the Mudburra language.
It is saddening though, to hear that Mudburra, which is described as a ‘dominant’ language of Elliot, a town half way between Darwin and Alice Springs, is taught only as a second language. The school principal Colin Baker states that ‘We deal with Mudburra in the same way that another school might deal with French or Indonesian or whatever. It’s an additional language that’s taken in a particular class”.
Colin Baker also goes on to say that Mudburra is not the language that you hear in the playground. This makes one wonder whether this would be the case however, if Mudburra was taught at the school in a bilingual programme. If Mudburra was afforded equal importance in the classroom would the language in the playground reflect this attitude?
Gabrielle Ray Ling566