Native language in the media

In every culture around the world there are socially undesirable activities that occur, which destroy the health and mind of community members. In the main-stream culture of Australia, there are campaigns that target speeding, smoking, teen-age drinking, ecstacy use and so forth. These campaigns are typically in English and are typically targeted at the anglo-culture of Australia reflecting the linguistic characteristics of the language.

At the bottom of this text is a TV commercial that has been produced for the Amata, Anangu, Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara lands in western central Australia. The main focus of the commercial is to target petrol sniffing and cigarette use within the societies of central Australia – which is obviously a concern for the community as a whole, hence the active involvement in producing a community awareness message. The commercial uses a Milpatjunani (sand drawing). By using ongoing ever-changing pictures drawn in the sand, the traditional Milpatjunani is a traditional way of complementing an oral story. The Milpatjunani in the TV commercial is paired with song in language from the area.

Using traditional language and traditional Milpatjunani the commercial targets a forgotten culture in Australia, which mainstream media cannot accommodate. This method of ‘storytelling’ allows for a message to be conveyed through media to the community, addressing many socio-linguistic issues that mainstream media does not. The extension of traditional language to modern media will aid language maintenance and survival in the region, as messages will be passed on reflecting the socio-linguistic features of the language, including discourse and pragmatics.

Media is the easiest form of communication and influences so many people. By combining traditional languages with the media will ensure the languages become readily available contributing to language maintenance and survival.


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One Response to Native language in the media

  1. Alex says:

    Hi! Thanks for posting this. I ‘m a student in a similar course (Aboriginal languages and culture) at Newcastle University and due to do a presentation on Indigenous Languages, Cultures and Australian Media. So finding this post (and this blog) is very helpful!

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