by Yvette Gilfillan
When Captain Cook landed at Botany Ba, about 250 distinct languages were spoken in Australia. Yet they share many common features.
Professor Bob Dixon has been working with Elders to research Australian languages for half a centure. In Australia's Original Languages, he explains these common features in a straightforward way, including sounds, word building, vocabulary and grammar. He also shows how language is related to culture, including kinship and naming systems.
According to Professor Dixon, ‘one of the strongest—but least recognised—expressions of racism is to denigrate another’s language.’
For decades, in missions and schools, First Nations children were forbidden to speak in their own languages, suffering a loss of identity and connection to family and culture as a result. Now, across Australia, there is a revival of interest in First Nations languages. Even where no native speakers are still alive, teachers are piecing together vocabulary and grammar from precious historical recordings and documents. Children and adults are learning vocabulary, basic sentence structures and songs in schools and community classes, bringing them an enormous sense of pride and connection to culture.
Australia’s Original Languages offers an essential foundation for anyone learning one of Australia’s first languages, with no prior experience of language learning required.
Australia’s Original Languages: The First Ever User-Friendly Guide
Stan Grant reflects on the philosophy of Treaty
[Stan Grant, ABC]
It would have been simpler — if not necessarily more just or effective — had treaties been signed in the early stages of contact like New Zealand or North America.
How ABC is sharing Indigenous languages with wider audience
For a long time Aboriginal people were forbidden to speak in their mother tongues but now, as these rich and diverse languages are being revitalised, the ABC is exploring new ways to share them with the wider community.
Artistic Teens celebrate NAIDOC week
By Maree Reason-Cain
Arising out of the donation earlier in the year of 30 Bridal Gowns to yourtownKingston, Indigenous Programs Manager Renee Mann saw a great opportunity to promote and acknowledge Indigenous culture and story-telling through a whimsical art project in conjunction with NAIDOC Week (7 – 14 July 2019).