Mugu Kids and Language Awareness

As a mother of small children, the Ling566 materials have challenged me to help my children appreciate the diverse people of Australian, particularly through Aboriginal language and storytelling. NITV produce a very well executed kids’ program, Mugu Kids, which celebrates Aboriginal languages and culture in order to help Aboriginal children to take pride in their own cultural identity.

Each episode of the show follows a theme, for example homes (S2:E7), body parts/characteristics (S1:E15), gathering bush tucker (S2:E2) from which the presenter, Jub, introduces children and adults from various places across Australia who each share stories, songs, or some words or phrases from their own languages. One of the challenges which obviously presents itself to such an ambitious project is in representing Aboriginal language and culture without losing focus or giving a homogeneous impression. Each week, few words or phrases are learnt from three or four different Aboriginal languages, so that across each season, a number of languages are represented. While this will not result in learning a whole language, it plays an important role if supplemented by community support (see ABC article listed below). Some of the aspects of the show which are quite distinct from most of the mainstream children’s TV shows are the clearly defined and valued relationships between family members and older members of the community on the show, especially in valuing their place as teachers of language and culture.

Both my children and I have appreciated learning more about Aboriginal language and culture, and feel honoured to sit in, listening to Aboriginal people represent their own cultural and linguistic identities through stories, language and song.

Frances Craig, LING551

Further Reading:

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