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Strait Talking

Article by Living Black – 9 April 2012

As the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander languages in use dwindles there’s one Indigenous language that’s growing Yumplatok, Stefan Armbruster reports from the Torres Strait.

Team approach to NILS planning at AIATSIS

Eastern States Group members were part of the Reference Group called to discuss the planning of the National Indigenous Languages Survey 2, with the Indigenous Languages team at AIATSIS recently. With many points to consider in drafting a ‘user friendly’ document, AIATSIS has involved some members who were familiar with the initial NILS survey in 2005.

At the meeting in AIATSIS were; Kara Young, Kazuko Obata, Doug Marmion, Faith Baisden(ESALG) , Rhonda Smith, Kevin Lowe (ESALG) and Jeanie Bell.

The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) 2012 Conference – Perth, 12, 13, 14 November

The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) is the national organisation for applied linguistics in Australia. ALAA aims to provide leadership in applied linguistics and supports the development of teaching, learning and research in the field. ALAA includes national and international members and is affiliated with the Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA).

The Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) 2012 Conference – Perth, 12, 13, 14 November

‘Evolving Paradigms: Language and Applied Linguistics in a Changing World’

For further details see the ALAA website.

Community collaboration and teacher engagement: Wiradjuri

Kevin Lowe visited the Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group (PWLG) in March to learn how Aboriginal communities are working together with teachers, to help build and maintain effective school and community partnerships. The news if (1==1) {document.getElementById("link80").style.display="none";} is being shared as a part of the University of Newcastle’s research project to investigate community initiated language projects.

The PWLG is working on maintaining Wiradjuri language in the schools by producing resources and community classes. The classes are open to anyone wishing to learn Wiradjuri language.

Kerry Gilbert (pictured) is the first community language teacher to progress to the stage of enrolling in University to become a qualified teacher. Through the language program, the community has provided Kerry with a way to gain experience in teaching a class, then encouraging her to progress to become a qualified teacher.

A new voice for dying languages

Program made by Future Tense, ABC Radio National.

The program features Miromaa—the software program developed in Newcastle which is being used by Indigenous communities around the world.

Listen now.

Fry's Planet Word

Language is what defines humans from other species, and with our planet home to around 7,000 different languages, words have played a crucial role in our evolution. Renowned wordsmith Stephen Fry guides us through this fascinating exploration of language in all its forms: from cutting edge linguistic research to the glories of world literature. The five-part series travels the globe as Fry takes viewers on a journey through the thousands of years since man first mastered speech to the cyber world of today with its html, codes and texting. Revealing how language is used, abused and continues to evolve, Fry's Planet Word looks at whether we are any closer to understanding the most complex activity of the human brain.

The series is currently on ABC1. Can can been seen on ABC iview.

Australian Languages Workshop

The 11th Australian Languages Workshop was held at North Stradbroke Island recently and ESALG members had the opportunity to speak to many linguists from around Australia about the scope of the work being done by the group. Among some of the positive suggestions to come from the discussions was the idea of arranging a meeting between ESLAG and some of the linguists interested  to talk about different approaches to research and evolving use of languages.  The location for the workshop was stunning at the north end of the island, where people enjoyed perfect weather to top off a stimulating conference.

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Wiradjuri Language Website

Introducing the

new Wiradjuri language web page, which is still being developed by Jason O'Neil a young Wiradjuri who is also the Parkes High School Captain. Jason has worked on this page while also managing his school studies.  Please visit the page- save it in your favourites and keep visiting to see its development.  Videos are to come in the near future.
Please click and save on

Geoff Anderson

ESALG takes language issues to Minister

A delegation from the Eastern States Aboriginal Languages Group met recently with Minister Peter Garrett- Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth.

At a meeting in his Sydney electorate office, Kevin Lowe, Paul Paton and Faith Baisden took the opportunity to raise a number of issues that are impacting on the strength of languages as well as educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

ESALG is urging the Government to review its current policies relating to English language education particularly in remote areas of Australia. The meeting also discussed the progress of ACARA Indigenous Languages Curriculum to date. An invitation was offered for further consultation with the Minister which will be followed up by ESALG in the coming months.

ESALG members Kevin Lowe, Faith Baisden and Paul Paton with Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett.

Cloud computing, Indigenous language preservation and footy carnivals

By ABC Open Producer Mischa Chaleyer-Kynaston

... I have also been out to Woorabinda, where the organisation Sharing Culture (collaborating with the CQ Language Centre and the Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity) ran a workshop about preserving and accessing language using online resources. They showed the Woorabinda elders how to use websites and archives like the Australian Indigenous Languages Database, which is a great way to explore Indigenous dialects. It includes an interactive map and location-based searching, so you can learn about Indigenous languages in your area... Read the full article.

Waking up a sleeping language

Tania Wanganeen is currently the only fluent speaker of her people's language.

The Narungga language disappeared soon after white settlement on the Yorke Peninsula. Until recently, it was classified as a dead language - "we prefer the term ‘sleeping’," says Tania, who has been pivotal in the reclamation project.

Tania's journey began when she went to a workshop at the Narungga Aboriginal Progress Association (NAPA). The workshop was part of the association's early steps to revive the language and Tania found that the language came easily to her. She worked closely with a linguist, and with permission from elders became the official Narungga language teacher.

Read more on ABC Open

National Cultural Policy encompassing languages

The Eastern States Aboriginal Languages Group called for a number of measures to promote the traditional languages of Australia in its response to the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper released by the Honorable Simon Crean, Minister for the Arts. Among the recommendations proposed by ESALG, was that priority be given to arts projects which include either directly, or as a consequence of their development, the production of resource materials for the teaching of Aboriginal languages through community based projects.

ESALG noted the inclusion of cultural heritage as one of the three key areas to which the national policy will relate, and that Indigenous languages are specifically mentioned at various points throughout the discussion paper.

Eastern States member joins royal reception.

ESALG member Faith Baisden was honoured to receive an invitation to represent the group at the reception for Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh at Parliament House Canberra last October. Among the large crowd that filled the Great Hall for the event, Faith just missed out on an introduction to Her Majesty, but managed to chat with Prince Phillip. In a relaxed conversation, Prince Phillip was hoping that with a connection to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, Faith could perhaps translate the songs of Geoffrey Gurrumul who provided the entertainment for the evening.

Read more: Eastern States member joins royal reception.

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