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First Languages Australia join the United Nations International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Languages

First Languages Australia was invited by the United Nations Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues to participate in an expert group meeting at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, January 2016.

Representatives of First Languages Australia Paul Paton and Daryn McKenny travelled New York to take part.

Read more: First Languages Australia join the United Nations International Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous...

Share your songs for International Mother Language Day

February 21st is International Mother Language Day. To celebrate, next week we are asking everyone to share a song in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language on their Facebook page.

The campaign is being spearheaded by the Parkes Wiradjuri Language Team who were ambassadors for International Mother Languages Day last year, and have gone on to record their own song, Badu Ngahdi Mudyigaang Guwany: I am My Elders Blood, to be launched for the event this year. The song was written by Geoff Anderson, Lionel Lovett and the Parkes Wiradjuri Language group and is sung by Lionel Lovett and Tiyana Towney. Click here to listen to Badu Ngahdi Mudyigaang Guwany, and here to read a story about the production process.

Parkes Wiradjuri Language group photo for 2015 Post Copy

Members of the 'I am My Elders Blood' production team

There may be a song in your language that is available for sharing, or you might like to record one. It could be an existing song, a translation of part of your favourite song, or something you have written. Even just a few lines is fine.

ABC Open has some tips on recording on your smart phone that people looking to record themselves or their families singing may find useful, for example:
* Filming with your smart phone
* Editing video on your mobile
* Recording audio on your smart phone

How to share with us:
Once you have a copy of the song. Upload it to your personal Facebook account, 'like' our Facebook page, and then 'tag' First Languages Australia @firstlangaugesaustralia and tell us about the song, or post the link on our Facebook page.

We are looking forward to a song filled week celebrating our languages.

 

Seizure: Paid literary translation opportunity

Seizure is an online literary magazine that publishes creative writing by emerging Australian writers.

They have an upcoming edition focused on translations and have contacted First Languages Australia to help spread the word among Indigenous translators. You can translate someone else's creative writing into English, or you can translate your own. The piece of creative writing will be published both in the original language and the English translation.

Click here for more information.

 

Seizure

You can also tweet in your #MotherLanguage

This Sunday once again there will be a world wide Twitter campaign in celebration of UNESCO’s International Mother Language Day 2016.

People all around the world will be tweeting in their mother language to raise awareness of their languages. You can join the celebrations by tweeting in your language on February 21.

Participants will use the hashtag #MotherLanguage, along with the hashtag of their language (for example: #Yawuru #Adnyamathanha #Gunggari ).

Last year there were 111 Australian languages represented. So share this message with your Twitter followers and get tweeting this Sunday.

Further information on how to get involved is available on the campaign website.

Tag us @FirstLangAU if you would like us to retweet.

TweetInYourMotherLanguage

Noongar Boodjar Language Centre Opening

First Languages Australia would like to congratulate all the people who have worked tirelessly over the past ten years toward the opening of the Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation.

In the words of the Language Centre's Chairperson, George Hayden:
The opening of the Noongar Boodjar Language Centre is a tremendous step forward for the preservation and use of Noongar language. The centre has been established to ensure that all Noongar people have a place where the language is preserved and studied, where Noongar books are made, Noongar language classes held, stories recorded and resources made available for families.

Here are some photos of the opening celebrations.

George Hayden     message stick

Chairperson George Hayden addresses              The message stick created by Karim Khan

the audience at the opening                              for the opening of the NBLC                 

 

Young champions at Puliima 2015

Young Champions 2015It was a pleasure to be able to invite nine of our younger language champions to Puliima 2015. Each of the Young Champions gave an engaging presentation on the work they are doing in their communities. They also attended numerious Puliima sessions and participated in breakout work facilitated by Yugambeh woman, and Cadets Manager for the PCYC, Sally Baisden.

This year the nominated young champions travelled from Maningrida, Ngukurr, Parkes, Harvey Bay, Adelaide and Townsville.

The young champions each expressed their delight at being able to attend the forum and learning from the diverse language activities happening around the country.  

Facilitator Sally Baisden has been working in youth development for over a decade. Sally reported that the opportunity to work with the group of dynamic and powerful Young Champions was very fulfilling.

"The forum was invaluable in strengthening our understanding of the immense body of work that is being conducted across the country in the realm of Indigenous languages and culture," Sally said.

Young Champions, 2015:
Jason O’Neil - Wiradjuri
Abigail Carter - Burarra
Annalee Pope - Waka Waka
Meyalah Blackman - Gurang/Toolooa/Nywaigi
Corey Theatre - Gunditj-Marra/Kurnai/Djap Warrung
Angelina Joshua - Marra
Alwyn Ross - Butchulla
Bruce Waia - Butchulla/Gubbi Gubbi
Maritza Roberts - Marra

Language revival a healthy path to indigenous survival

A story by Rick Morton for The Australian

The community at La Perouse, with the help of the NSW government, has built a resource of words and phrases in the Dharawal language.
Community members have been trained in Certificate I and II courses and a K-6 syllabus is being developed. 

Children are greeted with “Naggangbi” — “how are you?” — and farewelled with “Nandawabi” — “see you in the future” — each day.

“Sydney is in the Western world and for our community’s survival we have to engage,” Mr Ingrey said.

“But why not have both our worlds side-by-side?”

General manager of the Gujaga Children’s Service in La Perouse Shannon Williams said language loss fed into other social traumas; poor education, isolation, suicide.

In one Canadian study of indigenous people, researchers ­observed a direct link between speaking their native tongue and reduction in suicide rates among their youth.

In British Columbia, those who reported less than half of a cohort with conversational knowledge of their language had suicide rates six times higher than those where a majority had language skills.

Read the full article here.

 

UN Declaration of Human Rights translated into Pintupi-Luritja

A story By Hannah Walmsley with Alex Sloan for the ABC.

Over the past few years Pintupi-Luritja people have been working to translate the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights into their languages.

Pintupi-Luritja is said to be the first language of about 2000 people in Central Australia, and the second language of many more people.

The United Nations Declaration of Human Rights is the world's most translated document, having been translated into more than 460 languages since it was first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1948.


This is the first time it has been translated in to an Indigenous Australian language.

You can download the translation here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=piu
Or download the English version here: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=eng

Read the full article at here

Warra: Building teams, building resources

WarraTogether with language centres around the country First Languages Australia has produced Warra: Building teams, building resources. Warra has been designed to save time and effort for everyone involved in language resource production by summarising key things that need to be considered when planning to make language resources.

Warra takes a broad view of what resources are. It includes project examples such as the production of children’s books, traditional stories, music CDs, videos and DVDs, websites, classroom materials, radio programs and blogs.

The project has seen very high level of participation and contribution from language centres and projects around the country. Participating project 
teams have shared their knowledge through this process in order to save 
others having to learn the hard way. Without these contributions Warra would not be the useful resource it is.

There will always be unique challenges to overcome with any project, but hopefully Warra will make your work a little easier.

First Languages Australia hopes that Warra will encourage strong, productive teamwork and help you to feel confident and enjoy the process of creating resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.


Download Warra here.

'Warra' is a noun for ‘talk’ that also means ‘language’, ‘speech’, the act of talking, ‘voice’, ‘throat’ and ‘word’, in the Kaurna language of the Adelaide Plains. The rr in warra is a rolled r-sound. The a-sound in warra is pronounced as in Maori haka. The title Warra has been contributed by Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi and is shared by related languages, including Nukunu and Narungga.

Gambay - Australian First Languages Map

First Languages Australia has been working with regional language centres nationally to develop an interactive map of Australian languages that reflects the names and groupings favoured by community.

Language workers from around the country are reviewing the data in their regions and contributing profiles that explain why their languages are so important to them.

Gambay includes teachers notes and curriculum links P-12 so is also a great resource for parents, teachers and students.

Check it out:
gambay.com.au

Gambay means “together” in the Butchulla language of the Harvey Bay region in Queensland. Gambay is pronounced Gam-bay. Gam is is pronounced as in ‘gamin', and bay as in the English. This title has been provided by Joy Bonner.

showcase5

Australia's Got Language (documentary)

AGLCoverThe Australia’s Got Language Talent Content was an entertaining parody inspired by talent programs such as X Factor, Australia’s Got Talent, Red Faces and Australian Idol – showcasing Deadly Aboriginal Australian talents performing in their Aboriginal Languages.

The Australia's Got Language Talent Contest is part of the Puliima National Indigenous Language Forum, a biennial event hosted by Miromaa Aboriginal Language and Technology Centre. PUliima brings people together from all over Australia pioneering project ideas from community based Indigenous language projects all sharing a common ambition of preserving and celebrating the languages of our country.

The charasmatic and entertaining judges for the night were Leonard Miller from Far West Language Centre, Geoff Anderson from Parkes Wiradjuri Language Group, Vicki Couzens from Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages and Karina Lester from the South Australian Mobile Language Team. Audience participation was loud and proud and extremely encouraged.

Filmed by First Languages Australia on location in a relaxed cocktail dinner setting, on the night of August the 28th 2013, Australia’s Got Language documentry is a low budget high entertainment program, celebrating and showcasing the depth and diversity of Aboriginal Language and Culture across Australia.

Watch the 14minute film.

Film Credits

Produced by
First Languages Australia and
Miromaa Aboriginal Language & Technology Centre

Host/Concept
Daryn McKenny - Gamilaraay

Director/Producer
Faith Baisden

Judges
Geoff Anderson – Wiradjuri
Leonard Miller – Wirangu
Karina Lester – Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara
Vicki Couzens – Keeraywoorroong

Participants
Andy Luckaman Peters and David Wilfred – Wagilak
Jacqueline Allen – Wonnaruah
Michelle Jacquelin-Furr and Brooke Joy - Boandik
Iteka and Temana Bromley - Adnyamathanha
Joy Bonner, Karina Barney, Alwyn Doolan and Ashleigh Clarke – Butchulla
Dianne Appleby, Rebecca Youdale and Virgina Albert - Yawuru
Fay Stewart Muir - Boonwurrung
Lynnette Solomon-Dent – Monaro/Ngarigo
Corey Theatre –Gunditjmara/Gunnai
Leonora Adidi - Kalaw Kawaw Ya
Melinda Holden and Bridget Priman - Warrgamay
Faith Baisden – Yugambeh

Production Manager
Carolyn Barker

Camera/Sound
Elizabeth Warning

Editor
Leah Donovan

Sound Editor
Tfer Newsome

Funded by
First Languages Australia
Indigenous Languages Support Program, Australian Government, Attorney-General's Department, Ministry for the Arts

Australia’s first languages

Australia’s First Languages are a wonderful and precious resource.

Australia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots. Australian languages are treasures of international significance. They are a bridge to rich and important information. When a language is lost a deep body of knowledge is lost with it.

Language is also key to Indigenous well-being in Australia. Australia will be a much better place when Indigenous language communities are strong and healthy and have the power to control their own destiny.

Language bridges the dark space between tangible and intangible cultural heritage. It is most tangible at the intersection between things. It is an interface for a people to connect with the world around them, with other people within their own language community, and with people from other language communities.

Language is also undeniably an interface within community, within an individual, and within a culture.

In the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 distinct Australian social groupings, and a similar number of languages. At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 indigenous languages remain in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered. Of those that endure, only 10% are being learned by children and those languages are usually located in the most isolated areas.

The good news is many language groups are working to preserve their languages and languages are quietly and persistently being restored to use. Our languages live on.

Together with hundreds of people and organisations around the country. First Languages Australia is working to make sure these treasures are not lost and that they continue to live on strong and vibrany. We invite you to join us on this exciting journey.

For more information on Australian languages and local language programs refer to: http://ourlanguages.org.au/

 

First Languages in Education

From training through to employment, First Languages Australia is working with policy makers and educators to help overcome the issues facing those involved with the teaching and learning of first languages.

Efforts are currently being directed to the following strategic and policy areas:

  • Curriculum development and implementation, through ongoing consultation with ACARA for the national curriculum, and state governments for regional developments.
  • Governments and education authorities to establish consistent and equitable pay rates and sustainable career paths for those teaching first languages in schools.
  • Resource development, with a view to safeguarding the rights of language speakers and building capacity within communities to create resources.

First Languages Australia has also developed a some engaging tools teachers can use in cross-curricular and Indigenous language programs.

Marrin Gamu: Many languages, one song

National languages map

Promoting Australia's first languages

Promoting First Languages

An ongoing and exciting project for First Languages Australia has been our national media strategy, aimed at increasing awareness of first languages to the broad Australian audience. You may have seen some of the videos and interviews or caught the radio broadcasts as partners such as ABC Open and Regional Radio, NITV and other media outlets have thrown their creative weight behind the strategy.

All involved continue to look for innovative ways to showcase the treasures that are our first languages and if you have ideas to help, or local work that we can help to promote, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us to see how your region can be involved.

 

 

Contact us

Phone  +61 2 4940 9144  or  1300 975 246
 
Visit  Level 1/840 Hunter St, Newcastle West
Post PO Box 528, Newcastle, NSW, 2300

Learn more

  • Join First Languages Australia's network +

    You can assist in the work of First Languages Australia by becoming an active member of our network. Collectively, First Read More
  • Australia’s first languages +

    Australia’s First Languages are a wonderful and precious resource. Australia is situated in one of the world’s linguistic hot spots. Read More
  • Why maintain our languages? +

    There are many reasons to maintain Australia's first languages. Chapter 3 of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Social Justice Report Read More
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