Whilst undertaking study of Australia’s Indigenous Languages; Linguistics unit, Aboriginal language loss in our residential area was brought into focus. It was realised many aboriginal languages are extinct or near extinction. My Topic 5 discovery “about the indigenous language of the area where you are now living” noted that the Jagera aboriginal tribe existed in a large area from Moreton Bay to the Bremer River and Lockyer Creek. It also noted that language loss was greatly contributed to by European colonisation. The Jagera language is one of the few surviving languages today.
Jeanie Bell, herself a linguist and of Jagera and Dulingbara descent, speaks passionately of language loss, preservation and revival. She states (Boyer Lectures: 1993) Colonists stopped Aboriginal people speaking their own language. This then, would not allow teaching to the next generations. In her “conflict, indigenous, language” transcript (2010), she discusses this forcible loss, language identity crisis and indigenous language revival. It was also noted within topic 5 that Neville Bonner, a former Senator of Queensland, 1971 to 1983, was a tribal elder of the Jagera tribe. His comments in the Australian Biography Government Project, interview transcript (1992), also confirm an “unfortunate loss” due to forcible shame of language, culture and history. He preciously retains his knowledge of a limited number of words, culture, tribal customs and dreamtime stories taught by his grandparents.
Available as a Transcript or MP3, The National Museum of Australia, 2010, conflict, indigenous language transcript,can be sourced at http://www.nma.gov.au/audio/search/keyword/query:language
Neville Bonner Interview Transcript and Video is available at http://www.australianbiography.gov.au/subjects/bonner/interview1.html (Downloading video available via QuickTime Pro 7)
Australian Biography Government Project, 1992, Neville Bonner Interview Transcript, viewed 1 May 2012, http://www.australianbiography.gov.au/subjects/bonner/interview1.html
The National Museum of Australia, 2010, conflict, indigenous language transcript, viewed 1 May 2012, http://www.nma.gov.au/audio/search/keyword/query:language
Australian Museum , 2009, Cultural Heritage, Living Languages, Boyer Lectures 1993, viewed 1 May 2012, http://australianmuseum.net.au/Indigenous-Australia-Cultural-Heritage
University of New England, 2010, Topic Notes, Topic 5, Australia’s Indigenous Languages, University of New England, Armidale, NSW.