Archive for the ‘Australia’ Category

Australia releases draft framework for language learning

21 May 2013

As part of its Year 10 Australian Curriculum: Languages program, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has released its Draft Framework for Aboriginal Languages and Torres Strait Islander Languages.

The draft is open for suggestions and feedback through 25 July. Read more in “Schools get guide for indigenous languages” and “Consultation of the draft Australian Curriculum.”

Call for papers: PARADISEC

19 May 2013

PARADISEC, the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures, has put out its second call for papers for its conference to be held 2-3 December 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Get the details here.

Australian government opens applications for funding

18 May 2013

The Australian government has allocated 12 million dollars (the AUD is currently approximately equivalent to the USD) over the next four years to support indigenous languages. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community groups are invited to submit applications through the end of May to receive funding from this allocation.

Emma Waterman has written an article on this opportunity with an interesting take on the need for non-computer solutions. Read “Digital Not Always the Answer.”

See also the government page “New Indigenous Languages Support funding open for applications” for information on how to apply.

Launch of the RUIL in Australia

3 May 2013

The University of Melbourne has recently established the Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL), the first of its kind in Australia.

The focus of the RUIL is to understand the nature of indigenous languages in Australia and to address indigenous needs and language issues. They are incorporating a sociolinguistic approach.

Last December, they blogged about the “Our Land Our Language” report, which was tabled (proposed) to the national parliament last September with a recommendation of bilingual education. See “Academics urge government to heed Indigenous language report.”

As part of the RUIL’s launch, they have scheduled a talk by Bruce Pascoe on 16 May.

For the process involved in creating the “Our Land Our Language” report, see also “Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre testifying for palawa kani” and “AU government hears how children light up when learning Yawuru” on this blog.

Paakantji/English children books issued

24 July 2012

Paakantji or Darling (drl) is a language in New South Wales, Australia, with between two and five fluent speakers. To build a new generation of speakers, the Indigenous Literacy Foundation has issued two bilingual books titled “No Tharlta on the Bus” and “Lenny and the Big Red Malka.”

For more information, also see the ILF Facebook page.

This post was inspired by “New books to reinvigorate Indigenous language.”

Online Wagiman dictionary

23 July 2012

The Wagiman online dictionary contains about 1500 words and is a work-in-progress.

Wagiman (waq) is a language spoken in the Northern Territory, Australia, by less than 10 people.

Please read Annie’s entry about this on the Australian Aboriginal Languages Student Blog, which alerted me to the dictionary.

NT drops compulsory English requirement

13 July 2012

Northern Territory in Australia has dropped the requirement that teaching be in English for the first four hours of each school day. Read about it in the post “Ngurrju! Manymak! Pupuni! NT drops First Four Hours in English policy” and “Compulsory Teaching of English Reversed in Northern Territories.”

“Oh, Mr. Wardrop, I wish I was aboriginal”

3 July 2012

Parkes East Public School is an elementary school in New South Wales, Australia. Since at least 2009, they have had a Wiradjuri (wrh) language program, and this year’s management plan shows that all children partake in that education.

According to the Ethnologue, the language is extinct, but in the video “Wiradjuri,” Lionel Lovett says he knows the language (and the children think he must be two hundred years old).

The video shows some of the education in action. In a startling reversal from the city of Parkes being “very racist” a few decades ago (according to “Our Mother Tongue: Wiradjuri“), one of the teachers interviewed in the video says that students say to him, “Oh, Mr. Wardrop, I wish I was aboriginal.”

Update: See “How a language transformed a town” for more on this topic.

App for 100+ languages

1 July 2012

The Cherokee app was released for the iPhone in 2010 (see “YouTube video of Cherokee iPhone app” on this blog). Cherokee has a  writing system (Cherokee syllabary) requiring 85 or 86 unique symbols for writing.

Starting in October 2011, FirstVoices has released a series of apps for use on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch:

Each is a free app with educational content.

While the iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch have an easy interface for switching among languages, there are many languages that require characters not available. On 18 June, FirstVoices released their FirstVoices Chat app that provides characters for more than 100 languages spoken in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.

Also free, the FirstVoices Chat app allows you to set up to seven languages to type in.

Auntie picks up palawa kani story

13 June 2012

The Australian Broadcasting Company, known affectionately as “Auntie,” has a report on palawa kani, the Tasmanian language reconstructed from between six and a dozen extinct Tasmanian languages.

Titled “The ears of the nation turn to Tasmania to save a language – introducing ‘Tassie black fella talk,’” the article provides a brief background on the fact-finding mission of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, and includes a vocabulary list of more than 100 palawa kani words. Among the words are place names and “purinina,” meaning “Tasmanian devil,” the largest marsupial in the world (made famous by Looney Tunes with its character Taz).

See also “Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre testifying for palawa kani” on this blog.