Language is a highly significant aspect of aboriginal culture. Individual tribes each have their own unique language and an extremely high importance is placed on handing down stories from generation to generation. There is a lot that can be learnt from aboriginal culture and their use of language and applied to our use of language in modern day Australia. As technology becomes more and more entrenched in our every day lives and how we educate future generations, we distance ourselves from the ways previous generations have used language. In Aboriginal culture stories and lessons from the past have been passed down through multiple generations without losing their meaning in translation.
In Aboriginal culture the language isn’t only a form of communication, it is used to mark territory. It is possible that people from tribe only fifty kilometres away cannot understand the other tribes language at all.
This is mainly the language which is being used by the refugee groups. These people are not very fluent with the local standard language (Wardhaugh, 1993). In Australia, the ethnolect could be found among the Anglo and non-Anglo speakers. The most significant feature of the “ethnolect” in Australian language is the pronunciation of word “er”. The Anglo speakers have got their background from Greek speakers and hence their pronunciations vary from non-Anglo speakers. Hence in Australia there are different groups of people with various backgrounds speaking in different English language.
The forceful removal of children from families, relocation of tribes from their native homelands, and the attempted assimilation by the Europeans resulted in the disruption of the hundreds of years of knowledge and heritage being passed down through generations. These issues have resulted in the destruction of most of their thousand year old languages and background. To the Indigenous people of Australia, language is the key to their cultural and spiritual identity, and their heritage. From over 250 languages being spoken all over Australia, there are now only 145. Only 20 of which are considered still going strong; this is a cause of great distress to the Indigenous people. “The loss of indigenous languages signifies not only the loss of traditional knowledge but also the loss of cultural diversity and spirituality as well as laws and customs” (Gugu Badhun Limited, 2012). Language is their identity, their connection to the community, it retains their cultural and spiritual identity throughout their daily lives now (Gugu Badhun Limited,
The European invasion of Australia resulted in a deplorable loss of Aboriginal culture. At the time of colonisation there were over 250 indigenous language groups, each
There were three main languages which also consisted of various dialects. Darug was the largest spoken language. The Gadigal people spoke a dialect of Darug. Dharawal was another language spoken which also consists of various dialects based on regions. Many Indigenous Australians could speak more than one of these languages as Central Sydney was where many tribes would come together, so it was quite common that many tribes or clans would be in this same area at the same time, allowing them to learn the languages of each others tribes.
The film “The Linguists” follows linguists Gregory Anderson and David Harrison on their journey to learn about and document endangered languages in Bolivia, India, Arizona, and Siberia. Through their quest, they are able to interact with some of the few remaining speakers of languages that are near death and they manage to make an impact on how these communities view their heritage language. Focusing on the moribund languages of Siberia and Arizona, it becomes evident that speakers of the heritage language feel a love for the language and the culture it represents, but went through periods of oppression and embarrassment for being speakers of a minority language that ultimately shaped their attitudes on the language.
The film Linguists is a very unique exploration into the indigenous cultures and the prevalence of their languages. Researchers Gregory and David examine endangered languages in several regions to further understand the different ways the human mind can make sense of the world around it. Linguists covers a diverse range of topics regarding the importance of language to culture, the number of languages that are
Despite Australia’s ever-growing multiculturalism, it has been found that ‘monolingualism is extraordinarily common in Australia throughout the general population and all occupational levels (Bostock, 1973).’ With such an array of cultures present, one would assume that Australian education systems would have endless bilingual programs in place. However, this is not the case. Despite the successes of bilingual education on a global scale, little effort has been made to preserve any Australian languages, meaning that language death has become an everyday factor that Indigenous individuals have to deal with (Wurm, 1991). This paper discusses the concept of bilingual education and its faults in the transition from theory to
Over centuries we have seen the amount and complexity of languages all across the globe reduced. If this trend continues, we could see the number of world languages potentially reduced from 6,000 to 600 in the future. Colonization and urbanization has led to the abolishment of languages spoke by smaller and less dominant civilizations. McWhorter uses the Native Americans in North America and the Aboriginal
Aboriginal societies were admired for their sense of belonging; everybody in their language group was their family. Everybody helped in the raising, care and discipline of children in the group (Bourke and Edwards, 1994. p.97).
Improving academic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is mired in inherited and contemporary difficulties. Because of poor policies and pedagogy, generations fear and lack confidence in the education system (Harrison and Sellwood, 2013). It is, therefore, imperative that teachers have a range of resources and strategies for adapting the curriculum to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This should include fostering pride in identity, making connections to community and land, and respecting language variation and culture. In doing so, teachers meet expectations for Australian professional teaching standards and the community.
Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in the curriculum has now become a high priority amoungst schools across the nation. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) (2013), recognises “that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures cross-curriculum priority is designed for all students to engage in reconciliation, respect and recognition of the world’s oldest continuous living cultures”. By including this, the curriculum will continue to see Indigenous culture throughout school become part of the norm. Furthermore Indigenous Australian perspectives can and should be included in the classroom and any barriers that arise can be overcome.
For those languages which have no written form, when the language dies off, so does the accumulated knowledge and history of the culture. Sadly, indigenous languages around the world are dying off at an alarming rate. It is estimated that nearly half of the languages spoken today are likely to die off within the next century if steps are not taken to preserve those which still exist.
There are many indicators of identity by which we are made known individually, socially and culturally; the best of these would be language and how it has shown great flexibility in accommodating the needs of people. Through language people have been able to establish their identities and cultivate friendships with others who share the same common ground. By looking at accents such as Broad Australian English, slang and phonological features as they apply to Australian varieties, we can see how it has forged solidarity and assisted in creating an identity on an individual and national scale.