Aboriginal Languages Fortnight

Quite by chance I came across a book published at Milingimbi in 1986. It’s stories in Yolŋu Matha and English by 6 Batchelor college students. It’s incredibly cool for all sorts of reasons.

  • There’s sociolinguistic information about similarity and difference between Yolŋu varieties.
  • It’s produced entirely by Yolŋu adult language/literacy students.
  • It’s mostly in Yolŋu Matha. Where there’s English too, it complements the YM, it doesn’t translate it. You have to read YM to follow it.
  • It’s in several varieties of YM.
  • They talk about codeswitching and give a bunch of examples.
  • It’s impressively done. It’s a nice book in its own right.

I wish there were more books like this, produced by community insiders for themselves, not by outsiders.

I’m pleased to say that a fair number of the participants are still active in language work at Milingimbi.

One response to “Aboriginal Languages Fortnight

  1. Margaret Carew

    Hi Clare

    For some reason I’m reading old posts on your blog, and came across this one. I’m just wondering if you are aware of the CALL collection, which contains a trove of material just like the Milinggimbi book that you described in this post. The collection is held at Batchelor, and there is a database that the library set up.Unfortunately capacity’s not what it should be, and only a fraction of the material is digitised. The rest is held in paper form. There’s heaps to do on it.

    Over the years of ALFs, many many language workers created many many such materials. If you go back through issues of the Batchelor journal Ngoonjook you can find some that were published. Look on the BIITE website > library > CALL collection (batchelor.edu.au) Cheers, Marg

    By the way, I’m heading up to Maningrida in July/August, and looks like I’ll be heading out to Yinangarnduwa with Peter Danaja and his family for a visit. It’s a stone’s throw from where that Yan-nhangu mob that you work with are based. People say Yinangarnduwa is Yan-nhangu country. I’ll take some photos (it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world).

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