Posts Tagged ‘Australia’

Walpiri speaker denied use of Walpiri in Australian state parliament

17 February 2016

According to “Aboriginal minister Bess Price denied request to speak Indigenous language in NT Parliament,” a speaker of Walpiri (wbp) who stated she feels better able to express herself in her native tongue, Walpiri, was not allowed to speak Walpiri in the local parliament because it would cause disorder. The speaker is Bess Nungarrayi Price, a minister for the Northern Territory.

The article quotes Minister Kezia Purick, speaker of the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory, as stating that English is the official language of Australia, but according to Wikipedia, English is the national language, not the official language, there.

Price has requested clarification of the language policy, which has allowed non-English usage from time to time in the past.

Reviving Barngarla from 19th century dictionary

7 May 2013

Once spoken in South Australia, Barngarla (bjb) is making a comeback from written records and elders’ memories.

The awakening of the language is being led by the Chair of Endangered Languages at Adelaide University, Ghil’ad Zuckermann, who has vowed to make Adelaide a center of language revitalization.

The primary source for words is a dictionary written in the 1840s. Read more about the reawakening of Barngarla in “Pride and identity: Reviving Indigenous languages” and “Australia’s unspeakable indigenous tragedy.” Read about Ghil’ad Zuckermann in “Endangered languages have a new champion.”

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.

“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.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre testifying for palawa kani

24 May 2012

In what appears to be part of the inquiry by the Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs into incorporating Aboriginal languages into the school curriculum (see “AU government hears how children light up when learning Yawuru“), a committee meeting was scheduled for today in Tasmania.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre was expected to provide testimony on the state of palawa kani and how the national government is failing in its obligations to protect Aboriginal languages.

Without an ISO three-letter code and not listed in the Ethnologue, palawa kani is a reconstructed language, recreated from at least six local languages once spoken in Tasmania.

According to the Wikipedia article, the language was born in 1999. According to “palawa kani mapali [Tasmania],” the language was spoken in a presentation in Hawai’i that same year. According to “‘Language of the Month’ palawa Kani,” in 2005, a CD titled “pakana luwana liyini: Aboriginal Girls Sing” was released, featuring songs written by young local Aboriginal girls. It was produced following a CD two years earlier.

Also see “Dewayne singing Tasmanian Aboriginal song,” with a video of Dewayne Everettsmith singing in palawa kani about the connection to the land. Perhaps his sweet tones could be used to charm the Australian government!

(Capital letters are not used in palawa kani; the capital “K” in the Wikipedia article is due to a programming requirement that all Wikipedia articles begin with a capital letter.)