FLA Logo 300x

News

Melissa Lucashenko’s Mullumbimby

From ABC books and arts daily, by Daniel Browning.

In Bundjalung, you might greet another blackfella by asking: ‘Jingawahlu?’ Literally, ‘Where do you walk?’ but there is a deeper meaning: ‘Where are you from, where have you been, where are you going?’ Living and walking on your own country confers a sense of belonging. Unfortunately for Twoboy, his fight is a bit more complicated. In the absence of songs, language and an intact dreaming—although he knows his totem or ‘meat’ is the mibun or wedgetail eagle—Twoboy has to prove his Bundjalung identity the whitefella way: suited up, in the tribunal.

Daniel Browning

See Melissa’s website for Mullumbimby.

The New South Wales Ochre Plan supporting language learning across the state.

First Languages Australia commends the leadership shown by New South Wales Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victor Dominello in regard to Aboriginal languages, through his implementation of the Ochre Plan.

In a positive move for NSW, the government has recognised that Aboriginal languages must play a key role in improving education and employment outcomes for Aboriginal people.

The Ochre Plan acknowledges that teaching Aboriginal languages and culture helps improve school participation and retention, encourages the engagement of parents and families in education and improves community relationships between generations.

The Ochre Plan also recognises the improvement in interaction between Aboriginal students and non-Aboriginal students, reducing racism and promoting reconciliation.

First Languages Australia members see this initiative as setting a logical and welcome precedent for other states and terrritories, and believes the successful implementation of the Plan will bring strong results for communities in NSW.

The Ochre Plan can be accessed from the Department's website.

Languages are key to ATSI student engagement.

Lurleen Blackman with her grandchildren, recording in Nywaygi for a national Aboriginal language promotion project, with Michael Bromage (ABC Open). Photo credit: Faith Baisden.

Media Release

The Queensland Government’s discussion paper on the Development of a Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Early childhood, school education, training, tertiary education and employment action plan has been welcomed by Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee (QILAC).

Linguist and QILAC member Bridget Priman says she is pleased to see the Government initiating discussions toward a new approach to Indigenous Education from ‘crayon to workforce’.

The Discussion Paper acknowledges that though there has been much invested in indigenous education this investment has not yet shown significant changes in the situation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Bridget believes that Indigenous languages are a key area that has been overlooked to date. “Research shows great links between the provision of high quality home language programs and educational participation and attainment for Aboriginal students.” she says.

These programs can be based in regions of language revitalization (where languages might not be spoken much in the community) as well as in areas where English is the second language.

“It doesn’t matter on the context.” says Bridget. “A good language program with appropriate community participation results in our students being more interested in school and doing much better in all their school subjects.’

QILAC is providing a detailed response to the Discussion Paper and is keen to be involved in the development of the proposed Action Plan.

Bridget believes that though language is not the only factor which effects our students participation in school but it is a key tool which should be used in any effort to ‘close the gap’.

“QILAC will work hard to ensure that our languages are not overlooked once again in planning for greatly improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.” She says.

Protection of minority languages is a human rights obligation, UN expert says

UN NEWS CENTRE

Half of the world’s estimated 6,000-plus languages will likely die out by the end of the century without urgent efforts to protect minority communities and their languages, a United Nations independent expert said today, noting also that minority languages have often been a source of tension for governments whose obligation it is to protect them.

“Language is a central element and expression of identity and of key importance in the preservation of group identity,” the UN Independent Expert on minority issues, Rita Izsák, said as she presented her latest report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Read more: Protection of minority languages is a human rights obligation, UN expert says

Federal Government ready to “Recognise” Indigenous languages (but it’s kinda old news)

Post by Greg Dickson for Crikey's language blog Fully (sic). There was a bit of hoo-hah in Parliament House this week when Julia, Tony and co. made a minor song and dance about constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their languages.

Greg Dickson writes that it’s good news but actually kinda old news… with shiny branding. He explains the recommendations and the clever work that was done by the expert panel over twelve months ago.

Read the full article.

Lost and Found

Languages have featured in the WTFs series Lost and Found which aired on the History Channel.

The First Languages Australia congratulate the Producers, the Mitchell library and the participating language workers for their efforts in highlighting indigenous languages in this way.

Lost and Found from First Languages Australia on Vimeo.

Census data misleading; languages still at risk

An article by Aidan Wilson published on Fully (sic), Crikey's language blog.

A report in The Australian claims that the 2011 census showed that the Aboriginal language “crisis” has been overstated, that indigenous languages are not in danger of dying out. Aidan Wilson looks into the data to find out what’s going on.

 

Read the full article.

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/fullysic/2013/01/21/census-data-misleading-languages-still-at-risk/

Get Fact: are indigenous languages mounting a comeback?

Post by Aiden Wilson for Crikey.

We often hear statistics like “a language dies every two weeks” and predictions that by the end of the century half of the world’s 7000 languages will no longer be spoken. Having worked on endangered languages over the last seven years, I can say from my own experience the situation is critical and is not being overstated.

So how could the census possibly reveal that there isn’t a problem?

Read the full article.

Composer says show 'saved' indigenous word

Key Sydney Festival guest composer and director Heiner Goebbels said he was unaware for eight years that he should seek permission to use the indigenous Australian title of his Sydney Festival show Eraritjaritjaka, despite its themes of how language, colonisation and the power of hierarchy can oppress people.

 

Read the full article.

New Year and New Logo

A new year and a new logo for QILAC members, who met in Brisbane recently to work on the development of Language Induction Programs. The set of workshop guidelines will be used to help organisations and businesses identify any ways that language diversity could impact on the services they provide. The workshops will also help organisations create a tailored policy statement around recognition of traditional languages within their unique business environment.

 

Language a key challenge

A key challenge posed in attempting to provide assistance to Indigenous women experiencing domestic violence is providing services in the languages spoken by clients.

Ms Oscar says several different Indigenous communities reside in the Fitzroy Crossing area, meaning that as many as four different languages are spoken.

"It helps to have an understanding of the languages spoken and to employ local people into the positions so that the spoken communication isn't a barrier. Sometimes there's no need for any spoken communication when it comes to people seeking support at the refuge. They just may need to be left alone for a while until they're ready to speak."

Aboriginal language decline: the digital intervention

By ABC's Ben Collins, for The Drum

Most Australians are completely oblivious to the fact that our nation is home to some of the world's language diversity hotspots. Indigenous languages hold important stories of human history, but they are sadly in decline. As ABC's Ben Collins writes, it is now hoped that digital technology will preserve these languages and the secrets they hold.

Read more: Aboriginal language decline: the digital intervention

Lieutenant of all trades looked to both sea and stars

Review: VIEWS OF THE STARBURST WORLD: William Dawes at Sydney Cove 1788-91. By Ross Gibson. UWA Publishing. 304pp. $29.95. Reviewer: STEPHEN WILKS

This book is largely structured around Dawes's two remarkable notebooks on the language of the Eora people of the Sydney region. He recorded words that have transmuted into icons of Australian English - dingo, corroboree, cooee, waratah and woomera. Not that his notes are dull word lists reminiscent of one's year eight French text. They are the most extensive record of this language, and their coverage of complex grammar and transcripts of short conversations testify to his probing of an alien culture.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/books/lieutenant-of-all-trades-looked-to-both-sea-and-stars-20121115-29fcn.html#ixzz2Cl0GgXMh

Karratha kids learn Yindjibarndi

By ABC Open Producer Paul Bray

The Yindjibarndi language has been spoken around here for a long time. A hill kangaroo is a marndanyungu, an emu a jarnkurna, a goanna an aurrumanthu and an echidna a jirriwi.

Students at the Peg's Creek school have also been busy learning the Yindjibarndi language.

Lynda Ryder (aka Mrs Ryder), a local Yindjibarndi Elder, teaches LOTE classes throughout the week with primary students of all ages.

Peg's Creek students are currently learning some new vocabulary (this week words describe the local Pilbara environment), family relationship words, sentences, prefixes and much more.

So how about some Yindjibarndi counting?

1 - Gunjirri 2 - Gulharra 3 - Jarrwurdi 4 - Gulharraulhamba 5 - Maru Many more - Marnuwarra

Read the full article and post your comments!

Contact us

Phone  +61 2 4940 9144  or  1300 975 246
 
Visit  Level 1/840 Hunter St, Newcastle West
Post PO Box 528, Newcastle, NSW, 2300

Learn more

  • Join First Languages Australia's network +

    You can assist in the work of First Languages Australia by becoming an active member of our network. Collectively, First Read More
  • Australia’s first languages +

    Australia’s First Languages are a wonderful and precious resource. Australia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots. Read More
  • Why maintain our languages? +

    There are many reasons to maintain Australia's first languages. Chapter 3 of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Social Justice Report Read More
  • 1