Friday, June 30, 2017

NAIDOC Week 2nd - 9th July 2017 : Our Languages Matter

NAIDOC week will be celebrated from the 2nd to 9th of July 2017.

This year the theme is 'Our Languages Matter', according to the NAIDOC week website:

"Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds. Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on."

Here at the library we hold a number of resources on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, particularly focusing on the North Queensland region, including:


Australian Aboriginal languages : A general introduction by Barry J. Blake

A Non-technical introduction to Australian Aboriginal languages; covering sounds, grammar, vocabulary, social aspects; numbers and relationships of languages; pidgin and Aboriginal English; Aboriginal words in Australian English; and sample word lists for twelve languages. (From Trove)


Searching for Aboriginal languages: Memoirs of a field worker 
by Robert Dixon

In the early 1960s, R. M. W. (Bob) Dixon was one of the first linguists to study the Aboriginal languages of northeast Queensland, Australia. He found that some languages of the coastal rainforest were still in daily use, but others were only half-remembered by a single elder. This autobiographical account of fourteen years of research, first published in 1984, paints a fascinating picture of the frontier society that existed in the region nearly fifty years ago (Jacket blurb).

A grammar of Yidin by Robert Dixon

Description of the Yidin language of North Queensland using a transformational/​generative framework; based on authors fieldwork 1963, 1971-5; phonology; morphology; syntax; deep syntax; lexicon; texts and vocabulary; brief notes on Yidindi cultural background, moieties, and recent history.  (From Trove)

You can also read about a project collecting and archiving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language materials on the First Nations Telegraph website.

JCU is committed to working towards the achievement of genuine and sustainable reconciliation between Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider community.

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