Talking Country – Worla

This video is a story told in the Worla dialect of the Ngarinyin language by a deceased Worla man, with an accompanying translation in English by a Worla Woman, Rebecca Sampi. Ngarinyin is part of the Worrorran language group, which is a group of 3 non-Pam-Nyungan languages originating in the Kimberley. It is not clear whether the story is a traditional story or not, but it seems to be as far as I can tell. It is the story of how the emu lost its wings.

I noticed something that Deborah Eades had discussed about Aboriginal English while listening to the story. Despite being a story about why things are as they are, and despite having a reasonably complicated plot, only one use of a causal conjunction; `so` appears in the dialogue. I find it quite interesting that this discourse pattern from a traditional language has continued in modern Aboriginal English (according to Eades).

The video is part of the Talking Country series, I think produced by Goolarri Television (I could not confirm this). My 3 year old has Japanese and Australian grandparents, and DVDs in both languages have been a really useful tool in making sure she`s got enough language to speak to both sets. I think projects like the Talking Country series, especially stories for children, could play a very important part in language maintenance.

Geoff States

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One Response to Talking Country – Worla

  1. SBS says:

    Launched as part of NAIDOC week 2012, is a new interactive web documentary called ‘The Block: Stories from a Meeting Place’.

    If anyone has something to say about the Block or a vivid memory about life in Indigenous Redfern, please visit this site and contribute your story: http://www.sbs.com.au/theblock

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