Category Archives: Language courses

Gunggari Language, Mitchell QLD

In 2014 I had the opportunity to work in Mitchell, a small town in Western Queensland. I was the principal of a small Catholic school. I worked with a number of teachers, students, support staff, parents, community members and parish … Continue reading

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Lost language of Boandik Indigenous people revived in traditional possum fur cloak

In this article you will read about Brooke Joy who has studied and speacialised in the Bunganditj language. The language was once spoken fluently by Boandik people, during the 20th Century the language gradually fell from use. Brooke is keen … Continue reading

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Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages

I have recently come across the website for the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (Vaclang, for short), found here. This website is a great resource for almost anything to do with the languages of Victoria. It has: Links to language … Continue reading

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Learn Yugambeh – on your iOS device!

History was made when the Yugambeh language learning app was launched in 2013 by the Yugambeh Museum, Language and Heritage Research Centre.  It features over 1000 words and phrases collected from John Allen (Bulam), a Wangerriburra man, who spoke the … Continue reading

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Gunai Kurnai at TAFE and Gippsland traditional placenames.

Gunai Kurnai is spoken in the Gippsland area of Victoria and is being taught at GippsTAFE and local schools in an effort to maintain and continue the spread of the language. You can learn more about Gunai Kurnai and traditional … Continue reading

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Reviving Wiradjuri in schools, towns and wider communities.

ABC Open Albury/Wodonga has recently put up an excellent story and short video about the revival and growth of Wiradjuri language in the towns of Forbes and Parkes in N.S.W. Wiradjuri is being taught in primary schools to 1/10th of … Continue reading

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Language and Identity

Hi All,

The following is an interview with Jeanie Bell from the Batchelor Institute for Indigenous Tertiary Education, held at the 2010 Manning Clark Weekend of Ideas.  The theme was “Fair suck of the sauce bottle: A celebration of Australian Language”.

Jeanie identifies as Aboriginal, descended from the Kamiliroi, Yuggera and Dulingbara peoples of QLD.  She discusses how opportunities for learning traditional ways and language were stolen from Aboriginal people, when they were rounded up and taken to missions/reserves in the late 1800s.  Jeanie’s maternal grandmother and her sister were among those taken to the Cherbourg reservation, where they were taught White culture and English, and were punished if they spoke their traditional languages.

Jeanie goes on to talk about efforts to revive Australian languages, and how this is part of the healing process for her people.  In particular, Jeanie is involved in the revival of Badjala and Gubbi Gubbi, and has created a Badjala dictionary, which has attracted a lot of interest in the Badjala community.  She also had a program underway for Badjala to be taught in schools in the Hervey Bay region (I cannot find any information as to whether this is still underway).

Something I found quite intersesting, which was also touched upon in Topic 6 of our course, is that the Badjala language, like most Aboriginal languages we’ve looked at, is an agglutinating language, and a case language, which makes it very difficult for adults who only speak English to learn.  In the revival process they tend to make the language a bit easier, and don’t necessarily use the same grammar patterns that were a part of the traditional language.

This is quite a personal insight into the topics we’ve been studying in LING366/566, and shows how language deprivation, and language revival has affected the Aboriginal Community.

Click here to hear the interview.

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