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Abstract

The diversity of language in Australia in pre-invasion times is well attested, with at least 300 distinct languages being spoken along with many dialects. At that time, many Indigenous people were multilingual, often speaking at least four languages. Today many of these languages have been lost, with fewer than 15 being learned by children as a first language. However, despite this, much diversity remains. This diversity includes the remaining traditional Indigenous languages (TILs) spoken in more remote areas, largely in the north of Australia, as well as the new varieties that have developed since the invasion, and the dialects of Aboriginal English spoken across Australia. In remote communities where TILs are spoken, individuals and in some cases communities often maintain a high level of multilingualism. However, diaspora populations of TIL speakers are emerging in cities such as Darwin, Katherine, Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. In some communities, new varieties are emerging as speakers change the way they talk. These include ‘new’ mixed languages such as Light Warlpiri or Gurindji Kriol, as well as a wide variety of creoles, including, for example, Roper River Kriol, Fitzroy Valley Kriol and Yumplatok in the Torres Strait) and the various dialects of Aboriginal English spoken across the country. In this article, we explore this language diversity, examining its historical underpinnings and development, its implications for education and engagement in the wider community, and how Aboriginal people are using the new varieties to forge group identities.

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... The curriculum, pedagogy and assessment procedures that are used with Aboriginal students are generally not culturally inclusive, nor embracing of their language background (e.g. Guenther, Disbray, and Osborne 2015;Hall 2018;Shay and Wickes 2017;Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018). This is compounded by the widespread lack of awareness of teachers about the linguistic diversity and language background of Aboriginal students (Oliver et al. 2011). ...
... In its various guises, linguicism is known to be a common experience for minority groups, including Indigenous students (Skutnabb-Kangas 2000; Skutnabb-Kangas and Dunbar 2010). This is also true in the Australia educational context where Aboriginal students are expected to conform to language-based racial normativity and take on and develop ways of non-Aboriginal speaking and related literacy practices , despite little regard being given to their diverse linguistic repertoire (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018). In this context, the poor educational outcomes of this cohort, as described above, are not surprising, but do highlight the significant and powerful consequences of linguicism. ...
... It is, however, a complex situation as there are not only many language varieties spoken by the various groups of Australian Aboriginal people, but because of the social mores of their societies (e.g. where different family members will speak a different language according to who they are speaking to), individuals are often multilingual, speaking a range of dialects, creoles and/or languages (Eades 2013;Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018) and, depending on their audience, they will move across their linguistic repertoire as appropriate. ...
Article
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Papers in this Special Issue, “Linguistic Racism”, focus on the phenomenon of linguistic racism – the ideologies and practices that are utilised to conform, normalise and reformulate an unequal and uneven linguistic power between language users – directed at culturally and linguistically different (CaLD) or Indigenous backgrounds around the globe. The authors provide multiple ethnographic studies to understand what it means to speak as a racialised subject in the highly diverse societies of the twenty-first century, examining the manners in which one’s fundamental human rights are violated, and how one is deprived of both socio-economic and socio-cultural opportunities as a result of their use of language. All of the articles acknowledge the multiple, complex layers of cause and effect that further entrenches linguistic racism into particular social, cultural, ethnic, national and educational contexts that (re)shape the minoritised bilingual speakers’ linguistic practices. The Special Issue addresses the effects of critical approaches to current bilingualism theories that break new ground by disclosing the reality that it is not always applicable to commend bilingual diversity without fully acknowledging ongoing, often profoundly entrenched, local constraints.
... In pre-colonial Australia, there were 700-800 language varieties comprising between 250 and 300 distinct languages (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018); at that time, it was not unusual for people to speak three or four languages from their local region. Many languages had small numbers of speakers, often not exceeding 1000 speakers, and that remains the case today. ...
... Australian Indigenous languages appear genealogically unconnected to languages outside Australia, but they can be categorised into either a member of the large Pama Nyungan group (Bowern and Koch 2004), or as non-Pama-Nyungan (Evans 2003) for a small set of languages that do not meet the Pama Nyungan criteria. Typologically, Australian languages are quite similar to each other in their sound systems, the way information is structured, and the semantic categories they use (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018). But many also have typologically rare properties, which are generally not found outside Australian languages. ...
... A few are still spoken by all generations and are the first languages of children in those communities. However, this number is rapidly declining, with five of the languages being acquired by children in 2005 no longer being learned by children in 2014 (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2018). A small number of languages, such as Anindilyakwa, Murrinhpatha, and Warlpiri, appear to have increasing numbers of speakers. ...
... languages, of which Chinese Mandarin and Arabic are the most widely spoken. This is in addition to more than 250 Indigenous Australian languages, 1 including 800 dialectal varieties still spoken nationwide (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2019). ...
... For the last five decades therefore, languages, as one of the eight curriculum learning areas (ACARA 2011), have been reduced to having a "Cinderella" role: undermined, marginalised and isolated, stuck in a state of continuing fragility, and, in some cases, fighting for survival (Norris and Coutas 2014). This disheartening characterisation of language studies in Australia stands, however, in stark contrast with the steady succession of policy documents, declarations and nationwide initiatives stressing 1 This figure can be contrasted with the 700 to 800 language varieties of Australian Indigenous languages spoken at the time of colonisation (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2019). Here, it is therefore important to consider critically the legacy of Australia's colonial history, through which "the enforced marginalisation of Indigenous people not only resulted in social, political, economic and historical domination, but also linguistic genocide" (Jones Díaz 2014, p. 272). 2 In this chapter, when we refer to the promotion of 'languages education' we refer to modern/foreign and community languages, which, in most jurisdictions, do not include Indigenous Australian languages or sign languages. ...
Chapter
Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK where children at primary school do not have a right to learn another language. This chapter presents a first scholarly review of the interplay between modern foreign languages, the indigenous Irish language and Ulster Scots variety, situated within the complex politico-linguistic landscape of Northern Ireland. In order to understand the situation, a clear explanation of the political context of Northern Ireland is presented. As well as examining policy and practice in relation to primary school languages in the UK nations, the chapter concludes that any move to include languages on the primary curriculum will need proper resourcing and careful navigation of the sensitivities between languages in this part of the world.
... In Australia, the traditional owners -the Indigenous people of Australia and the Torres Strait -may speak a range of dialects and languages including Standard Australian English (SAE), Aboriginal English (AE), creoles (known as Kriols), mixed languages and/or traditional Indigenous languages (TILs). We begin with a focus on the widespread and complex linguistic ecology of Indigenous Australia (for more detail, see Simpson & Wigglesworth, 2018). We then turn to what we know about translanguaging in the classroom and use examples from our own work to illustrate translanguaging in action. ...
... There is considerable evidence that Aboriginal people can draw on their linguistic resources and move between different varieties of their languages as needed and as appropriate (for more details, see, for example, Oliver & Nguyen, 2017;Simpson & Wigglesworth, 2018;Vaughan, 2018). Although translanguaging involves fluid movement between linguistic codes, for Aboriginal people, moving between SAE, AE, Kriol and/or a traditional language is not a random activity; rather it is 'a well governed process that is used as a communicative strategy to convey linguistic and social information' (Grosjean, 1999, p. 286). ...
Article
With a focus on Australian Aboriginal students, in this article we argue that translanguaging provides a useful resource for multilingual learners. We point out that although translanguaging is a relatively recent term, in Indigenous Australia is has been used consistently throughout the ages as people from different languages communicated with each other. We argue that through the use of translanguaging in the classroom, children can be supported to draw on the wide range of linguistic resources they bring with them to school. Using data collected from an Aboriginal school in the Northern Territory and one in Western Australia, we illustrate the ways in which this perspective can inform approaches to teaching which will both enhance these learners’ communication skills in Standard Australian English (SAE) in the classroom, and, importantly, at the same time demonstrate that the languages the children come to school with are valued.
... Our recent work in the community has revealed that, while these social and cultural formations endure in Maningrida, their role in dictating the nature of social interaction is somewhat reduced as people engage in new kinds of social networks and changing life projects. Such recent changes have had a significant impact on intergenerational language transmission, the emergence of new varieties, the make-up of linguistic repertoires and the deployment of linguistic variation across northern Australia (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2019). At Maningrida these effects are also evident, for example in the extreme endangerment of local languages like Yan-nhangu, Kunbarlang and Dalabon, yet almost uniquely in the region, Maningrida remains resolutely and intensely multilingual (e.g., Elwell 1977, Vaughan 2018a. ...
... The internet enables the pursuit of a wider range of life projects than was typically possible for earlier generations (Kral 2010). For many young traditional-language speakers, English is the primary language used in texting and social media, producing a kind of "digital diglossia" (Mansfield 2014a, Simpson andWigglesworth 2019) in part necessitated by a lack of traditional-language literacy. Recent decades have seen increased population centralisation at Maningrida (although the trajectory has not been linear; see, e.g., Hinkson 2007, Bond-Sharp 2013). ...
... Australia has one of the highest rates of language loss of any nation. 18 Of the 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, 19 the most recent national language survey identified 79 spoken today. Only 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are passed onto children, which is essential for language survival; none are considered safe. ...
... These developments in people's heritage can increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community breadth of expertise, experience, cultural awareness and resilience. Despite systematic removal of people from their Country, most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people identify and visit their homelands, while changes in languages spoken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people include development of distinctive English and new languages, reflecting contemporary communication needs.19 ...
... The heaviest areas of language loss have been in Australia, Canada, and the USA, where more than 70% of languages are highly endangered or no longer spoken (Loh and Harmon 2014;Simons and Lewis 2013). Australia has suffered catastrophic rates of language loss: fewer than fifteen of the more than 300 distinct Australian Indigenous languages are still actively acquired by children (Simpson and Wigglesworth 2019). Urgent intervention is needed to maintain and revitalize the world's remaining language diversity (Crystal 2000;Krauss 1992). ...
... The Australian situation presents an especially informative focus for studies of language shift and loss. Much of Australia's rich linguistic heritage has undergone rapid change since the arrival of English-speaking colonists from the eighteenth century onward, and the processes of language loss and endangerment are ongoing (Loh and Harmon 2014;Simpson and Wigglesworth 2019). Here we focus on one highly endangered Indigenous language (Gurindji: Ngumpin-Yapa, Pama-Nyungan: Fig. 1) which is undergoing rapid contact-induced shift. ...
Article
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The world is facing a crisis of language loss that rivals, or exceeds, the rate of loss of biodiversity. There is an increasing urgency to understand the drivers of language change in order to try and stem the catastrophic rate of language loss globally and to improve language vitality. Here we present a unique case study of language shift in an endangered Indigenous language, with a dataset of unprecedented scale. We employ a novel multidimensional analysis, which allows the strength of a quantitative approach without sacrificing the detail of individual speakers and specific language variables, to identify social, cultural, and demographic factors that influence language shift in this community. We develop the concept of the ‘linguatype’, a sample of an individual’s language variants, analogous to the geneticists’ concept of ‘genotype’ as a sample of an individual’s genetic variants. We use multidimensional clustering to show that while family and household have significant effects on language patterns, peer group is the most significant factor for predicting language variation. Generalized linear models demonstrate that the strongest factor promoting individual use of the Indigenous language is living with members of the older generation who speak the heritage language fluently. Wright–Fisher analysis indicates that production of heritage language is lost at a significantly faster rate than perception, but there is no significant difference in rate of loss of verbs vs nouns, or lexicon vs grammar. Notably, we show that formal education has a negative relationship with Indigenous language retention in this community, with decreased use of the Indigenous language significantly associated with more years of monolingual schooling in English. These results suggest practical strategies for strengthening Indigenous language retention and demonstrate a new analytical approach to identifying risk factors for language loss in Indigenous communities that may be applicable to many languages globally.
... Traditionally, Indigenous people were multilingual, often speaking 4-5 different languages. Today Indigenous people speak a range of languages including: Standard Australian English (SAE), Aboriginal English, varieties of Kriol (novel, mixed/hybrid languages) or a traditional language (see Refs. [61,62] for a more in-depth discussion detailing the linguistic environment in Indigenous Australia). This is the context into which Indigenous children are born, so Standard Australian English is typically not their first language, though children living in remote areas will have some limited access to SAE through the health centre, the shops, organic, SAE communication opportunities and television. ...
Objective: Research has found that otitis media (OM) is highly prevalent in Australian Indigenous children, and repeated bouts of OM is often associated with minimal-to-moderate hearing loss. However, what is not yet clear is the extent to which OM with hearing loss impacts auditory signal processing specifically, but also binaural listening, listening in noise, and the potential impact on phonological awareness (PA) - an important, emergent literacy skill. The goal of this study was to determine whether auditory abilities, especially binaural processing, were associated with PA in children from populations with a high incidence of OM, living in a remote Australian Indigenous community in the Northern Territory (NT). Methods: Forty-seven 5-12-year-olds from a bilingual school participated in the study. All were tested to determine hearing sensitivity (pure tone audiometry and tympanometry), with PA measured on a test specifically developed in the first language of the children. OM often results in a hearing loss that can affect binaural processing: the Dichotic Digit difference Test (DDdT) was used to evaluate the children's dichotic listening and the Listening in Spatialized Noise-sentences test (LiSN-S) was used to evaluate their abilities to listen to speech-in-noise. Results: Seventeen (36%) and 16 (34%) had compromised middle ear compliance (combined Type-B and -C) in the right and left ear respectively. Six children demonstrated a bilateral mild hearing loss, and another five children demonstrated a unilateral mild hearing loss. Thirty-one children were able to complete the DDdT listening task, whereas only 24 completed the speech in noise task (LiSN-S). Forty-four children (94%) were able to complete the letter identification subtask, comprising part of the PA task. The findings revealed that age was significantly correlated with all tasks such that the older children performed better across the board. Once hearing thresholds were controlled for, PA also correlated significantly with both binaural processing tasks of dichotic listening (r = 0.59, p < 0.001) and listening to speech in noise (r = -0.56, p = 0.005); indicating a potential association between early, emergent literacy and listening skills. Conclusions: The significant correlations between phonological awareness and dichotic listening as well as phonological awareness with listening to speech-in-noise skills suggests auditory processing, rather than hearing thresholds per se, are associated to phonological awareness abilities of this cohort of children. This suggests that the ability to process the auditory signal is critical.
... Cette problématique ne semblait pas s'appliquer aux travailleurs anicinapek puisque la plupart de ceux qui ont été interrogés dans cette étude étaient bilingues ou trilingues. Par ailleurs, il est important de souligner que plusieurs communautés autochtones à travers le monde sont confrontées à la disparition de leur langue(Greymorning, 2018;Norris, 2007;Simpson et Wigglesworth, 2019). Ainsi, en parallèle aux démarches des employeurs pour inculquer une langue seconde en milieu de travail, il est aussi important de mettre en place des mesures d'intégration des langues autochtones en milieu de travail(Gibson et Klinck, 2005;Purdie et al., 2006;Sterzuk et Fayant, 2016).Les participants anicinapek et cris, tout comme les employeurs signataires(Caron et al., 2019a), ont évoqué que les incitatifs monétaires octroyés pour favoriser la rétention des employés autochtones n'ont pas toujours les effets escomptés. ...
Thesis
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Plusieurs industries des pays membres de l’Organisation de coopération et de développement économiques (OCDE) font face à une rareté de main-d’œuvre, un problème particulièrement important dans le secteur minier. Les communautés autochtones constituent une population disponible, jeune, en croissance et plusieurs désirent participer au développement minier. Or, le taux de participation de la main-d’œuvre autochtone est nettement inférieur à celui des non-Autochtones et les barrières à l’emploi persistent. L’objectif de cette thèse consistait à étudier les facteurs de succès liés au recrutement, à l’intégration et à la rétention d’employés autochtones au sein de l’industrie minière canadienne. Plus précisément, cette recherche visait à étudier les mesures déployées par les employeurs miniers; la perception des employés autochtones quant à ces mesures; et la capacité des programmes publics et privés à répondre aux besoins des employeurs miniers et des employés autochtones. Des entrevues semi-dirigées ont été réalisées avec 25 employeurs miniers, lesquels représen¬taient 17 projets situés au Québec et au Nunavut (Canada). Huit de ces projets étaient liés par des ententes avec les communautés au¬tochtones avoisinantes, soit par leur localisation en territoires conventionnés, soit par des ententes sur les répercussions et les avantages (ERA). Le pourcentage moyen d’employés autochtones était de 23% dans les projets avec entente, comparativement à <1% dans les projets sans entente. Peu de mesures ont été appliquées par les projets non-signataires pour favoriser le recrutement, l’intégration et la rétention des employés autochtones, tandis que les projets signataires ont appliqué de nombreuses stratégies pour favoriser une gestion efficace de la diversité et rencontrer les exigences des ententes. Ces stratégies incluent des programmes de liaison, de mentorat et de progression interne, ainsi que la valorisation des cultures autochtones en milieu de travail. Ces résultats montrent l’importance de la législation pour inciter les entreprises à faire appel à la main-d’œuvre autochtone. Des entrevues semi-dirigées avec 43 employés anicinapek, cris et inuit provenant de communautés situées à proximité de projets miniers au Québec et au Nunavut ont ensuite confirmé l’importance des incitatifs légaux et d’une étroite collaboration entre les gouvernements, les communautés autochtones et l’industrie afin de mettre en œuvre des programmes favorisant l’employabilité autochtone. Les perceptions des employés autochtones concordent avec celles des employeurs signataires à l’effet que les programmes de liaison, de préparation à l’emploi, d’introduction au site, de mentorat, de progression interne et de formation linguistique sont parmi ceux qui favorisent le plus le recrutement, l’intégration et la rétention de la main-d’œuvre autochtone. L’organisation d’activités, l’établissement d’installations qui valorisent les cultures autochtones, l’atteinte d’une masse critique d’employés autochtones, de même que la qualité des relations de travail sont également importants pour permettre une meilleure gestion de la diversité culturelle au sein des entreprises minières. Une évaluation de la conception de programmes publics et privés répartis dans cinq catégories (liaison, préparation à l’emploi, intégration au site, valorisation culturelle et progression de carrière) a été réalisée en fonction de 50 critères reflétant les besoins exprimés par des employés autochtones et des employeurs miniers. Une analyse documentaire et des entrevues avec 86 personnes (43 Autochtones, 27 employeurs et 16 représentants de programmes publics au Québec et au Nunavut) ont montré qu’en territoires non-signataires d’ententes, seuls des programmes publics sont disponibles et qu’ils ne répondent qu’à 34% des besoins. Les programmes privés disponibles en territoires signataires répondent à 76% des besoins et pourraient être bonifiés par une reconceptualisation. Ces programmes auraient avantage à être implantés aussi dans les territoires non-signataires compte tenu de leur capacité à répondre aux besoins, mais cela nécessitera un changement de mentalité dans l’industrie.
... As southern travellers who ourselves follow routes of 'orbiting diasporas' (cf. Simpson & Wigglesworth, 2018), we anticipate a consciousness of multilingualisms that permeates conversations of linguistic heterogeneity as phenomena of interconnectivities. Notes 1. ...
Article
In this paper we draw attention to people who journey from one temporal and spatial setting towards another in the ‘South’, who aspire to a reconfigured sense of belonging, prosperity and wellbeing, and their multilinguality and multilingualisms. Through three vignettes of journeys we illustrate how in changing of place that linguistic diversities are encountered and mediated. During moments of North–South and South–South entanglement and exception we argue that multilingualisms re-ecologise along horizontal axes of conviviality, and / or re-index along vertical axes of exclusion. We suggest that ‘rooting’ and ‘rerouting’ multilingualisms are not only multidimensional, but they are also multifaceted as people who choose or are obliged to experience dis.-placement, undertake journeys of anticipation of replacement into regulated or unregulated situations. Multilingualisms in the memories, dreams, complex selves, materiality and complicities of coping have yet to receive sufficient attention from linguists. We attempt to capture these aspects and suggest that southern multilingualisms have much to offer and entice northern multilingualisms. We illustrate how closely integrated are multilingual repertoires with mobilities and temporalities of dislocation and change; with loss, nostalgia and the anticipation of new beginnings; and with multi-scaled complicities between individuals as they re-calibrate lives in turbulent and changing circumstances.
... On the other word, language is the everyday spoken utterance of the average person at normal speed. It means that language is what people spoke to other people (Simpson & Wigglesworth, 2019). In addition, Language is a unique human inheritance that plays the very important role in human's life, such as thinking, communicating ideas, and negotiating with the others. ...
Article
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The problems in this research is children’s song related to memorize vocabulary to young learner and how how significance is the correlation between children song and memorizing vocabulary to young learner as foreign language of kindergarten PKK Polagan Pamekasan Madura. This research used quantitative approach, while the kind of research used non-experimental design that is correlation design. Population of this research is all of the students in TK PKK Polagan Pamekasan 2020/2021 that consist of 28 students. The obtained data from questionnaire, test and documentation. The obtained data analyzed by using statistical analysis that used product moment. The result of this study showed that the use of children song related to memorizing vocabulary to young learner as foreign language of kindergarten PKK Polagan Pamekasan. This case has proven from the result of “r” value is 0.711 higher than “r” table in level significance 5% and 1% with N = 28 is 0.374 and 0.478 and it is proven from the interpretation of “r” product moment that the result is between 0,600 – 0,800 in the level of enough correlation. Based on the result above, the researcher concludes that children song can use as strategy in vocabulary learning. This can make the students interest to study and make the students easy to memorize of vocabulary.
... …Australia is a large country…we have a lot of regional areas and towns…many of these towns are recruiting different people, skilled workers, and professionals…for the economic developments…they have children and their children need to go to school…but if their children…cannot receive excellent education…they are going to leave and go back to the urban…I want to become one of the few groups…for foreign language teaching in the regional schools… (Participant #12,Focus Group) Many participants believed that the location of schools should not be a restriction for foreign language teaching. As shown by a previous study (Dos Santos, 2018), although foreign language teaching is not one of the most important subjects in the current Australian school system, students in regional and rural communities should have opportunities to learn a foreign language (Simpson & Wigglesworth, 2019). Based on social cognitive career theory (Dos Santos, 2019e, 2021aSantos, 2019e, , 2021bLent et al., 1994;Lent & Brown, 1996), the factor of personal consideration for developing the regional and rural school systems is noted and reflected. ...
Article
Full-text available
The Australian government seeks to develop regional and rural communities and school systems. One of the challenges would be the human resources and workforce for registered and qualified teachers, particularly in the field of Languages Other Than English (LOTE). Based on social cognitive career theory (Dos Santos, 2021a; Lent et al., 1994), this study focused on the career perspectives and career decision-making processes of registered and qualified teachers in the field of Languages Other Than English (LOTE). The following research question guided the direction of this study, why would registered and qualified teachers in the Languages Other Than English (LOTE) field (i.e. foreign languages) decide to move to Australian regional and rural communities to develop their teaching career? With the general inductive approach, 18 participants were invited for the interview sessions and focus group activities. The results of this study indicated that missions and goals for development in the regional and rural communities and governmental encouragement for regional and rural developments are the two personal consideration elements. The sharing and comments become a blueprint for government agencies, school leaders, and policymakers to reform the current human resources plans and schemes to attach additional workforce to the regional and rural communities, particularly for teachers. Received: 20 May 2021 / Accepted: 13 July 2021 / Published: 5 September 2021
... In this context, we postulate that the ASEAN Way of LPP can be situated within the 'language-as-problem orientation' (Ruiz 1984). From this perspective, linguistic diversity in multilingual societies would be dealt with by advocating monolingualism which is often synonymised with efficiency, modernisation, simplicity, and uniformity (Simpson & Wigglesworth 2019). Until today, many postcolonial, multilingual polities have been entangled in this critical conundrum. ...
Article
In a world where linguistic and cultural diversity is increasingly celebrated, opting for English as the sole working language, as stipulated in the ASEAN Charter, on pragmatic grounds, has made ASEAN an interesting case study from the language policy and planning (LPP) perspective. ASEAN's LPP can be understood as the manifestation of the principles of the ' ASEAN Way' , i.e., quiet diplomacy, non-interference, and flexible consensus. Drawing on an analysis of the three overarching principles of the ASEAN Way and with reference to the ASEAN Charter, this paper problematises the ASEAN Way of LPP, arguing that a monolingual and essentialist approach to LPP might be both insufficient and inappropriate, and calls for an ecology-of-languages paradigm for ASEAN LPP. It invites readers to reimagine language policy that is more inclusive, democratic and socially equitable one that reflects the sociolinguistic diversity of Southeast Asia and the Association. Keywords: language policy and planning in international organisations, ASEAN, (socio)linguistic diversity, language ideology, critical language policy, dominance of English
Chapter
Despite ever-increasing multicultural and multilingual diversity in Australia, the learning of languages, as a curriculum area, has long struggled to achieve recognition and stability. This could not be more true than in the state of Queensland, where despite mandatory language learning in the middle years, the percentage of high school students graduating with a language has consistently hovered around 8% for the last three decades. In this chapter, we draw on analysis of 18 semi-structured interviews with School Principals and Heads of Languages departments in ten metropolitan state high schools whose language programmes may be considered counter-examples to the current state of play in the Australian languages education landscape. These interviews explored participants’ views regarding the factors that may contribute to enabling the development and maintenance of language teaching in their schools as well as potential deterrents leading to discontinuation of programmes in other school contexts. The data provide evidence that resistance to the prevalent ‘monolingual mindset’ in these specific contexts is achieved through the interaction of several elements within the ecology of the school community, and specifically, through key stakeholders’ exercise of agency in a concerted effort to ensure the sustainability of languages programmes.
Article
This paper examines word-initial engma deletion in Bininj Kunwok. Loss of initial consonants is a well-documented historical process in many Australian languages (Blevins, Juliette. 2001. Where have all the onsets gone? Initial consonant loss in Australian Aboriginal languages. In Jane Simpson, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin & Barry Alpher (eds.), Forty years on: Ken Hale and Australian languages, 481–492. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics), but there has been no systematic analysis of initial consonant loss as a synchronic variable (Fletcher, Janet & Andrew Butcher 2014. Sound patterns of Australian languages. In Harold Koch & Rachel Nordlinger (eds.), The languages and linguistics of Australia, 91–138. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton). In the case of Kunwok, word-initial velar nasal deletion (e.g. nganabbarru ∼ anabbarru ‘buffalo’) has been described as having regional distribution and is a prominent feature of speakers from the western and southern peripheries of the dialect chain, but variable in speakers from the central region (Evans, Nicholas. 2003. Bininj Kunwok: A pan-dialectal grammar of Mayali, Kunwinjku and Kune. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics). This study tests the distribution of the word-initial engma for both linguistic conditioning and sociolinguistic factors, and arrives at three conclusions. First, that preceding environment is a contributing factor. Second, that morphological class is a categorical conditioning factor. And third, that the phenomenon is spreading and there is evidence of language change in progress. This paper also takes into consideration community perspectives, noting that the sound change in progress is accompanied by a change in perceptions.
Chapter
The language ecologies of Indigenous Australians are changing rapidly. Fewer people are speaking traditional Indigenous languages as their first language, while more are speaking new Indigenous languages as their first languages. At the same time, the diaspora of speakers of Indigenous languages in cities such as Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide is growing, as people seek better access to services. is means that the chances for communities to maintain their traditional Indigenous languages are rapidly diminishing. Language is used both to communicate ideas (communicative rights) and to express associations (identity rights). Communication rights include the right to access information in a language one understands. People cannot make the most of self-determination if they do not have access to the best information to make the best decisions for themselves and their family, because it is only presented in a language they do not understand. Since the beginning of the self-determination policy, identity rights have been strengthened. Governments and communities are investing in Indigenous language revival, and in emblematic gestures such as naming places with Indigenous names and using Indigenous languages at public events. However, with respect to communication rights, the picture is patchier. Major polices, such as the Intervention, were implemented without proper consideration of communication needs. Subsequently, interpreter services in Indigenous languages have expanded, and governments have made more effort to put information in Indigenous languages. But children still have only limited access to education in their mother-tongue along with proper explicit teaching of English. The move to monolingual English immersion education has been accompanied by the reduction of opportunities for remote Indigenous communities to obtain tertiary training (whether as teachers, interpreters or health workers) in their home communities. These two factors have greatly reduced the opportunities for people living in remote Indigenous communities to access information in order to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. At the same time, the aims of giving children good access to English, and to the content of education, have not so far been achieved.
Research
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In this Policy Insights paper we use the successful COVID-19 health messaging in an Indigenous language as a lever to explore the ways in which communication rights for Aṉangu are coupled with their collective rights as Indigenous Australians, as a particular strand of human rights. There is a fundamental relationship between the recognition of language rights and Aṉangu being able to more readily realise other human rights. This extends beyond issues of comprehension and enabling freedom of opinion and expression in language. As we discuss in this paper, it also ultimately extends to being enabled to access the core principles of universal human rights in the local vernacular in order to render them locally meaningful. The human rights activist and philosopher Boaventura de Sousa Santos has long argued for a human rights discourse that can embrace different cultures and religions, which he articulates as a multicultural human rights. In this paper we begin to articulate what this might look like for Aṉangu, taking communication rights as a foundational platform.
Article
The aim of this study is to investigate ways in which interpreting practice in health care settings can be further developed to better facilitate communication with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. Data used include 15 hours of transcribed audio recording from semi-structured interviews with interpreters and Aboriginal Liaison Officers who discuss their perceived experiences of interpreting in medical settings. They offer insights into how language is used to resolve communication differences that may confound the interpreting process and in doing so identify roles interpreters assume and discourse patterns that emerge in interpreting practice. As evidenced through the findings, provisions need to be made for cultural differences. Interpreters report they have to "unpack" medical terminology and explain such terminology and related concepts in tangible terms to ensure patient understanding. Other strategies include talking about taboo topics using culturally appropriate terms, avoiding certain question-answer routines, and being aware of nonverbal aspects of communication.
Article
Kriol is an English-lexified creole spoken throughout the northern regions of Australia since the beginning of the twentieth century. With documentation and description of the language commencing only in the later decades of the twentieth century, many aspects of Kriol grammar remain under-described, especially within the domains of syntax and pragmatics. This study documents and describes subject elision in Kriol, a process where subject NPs are elided in a range of syntactic and discourse contexts. Through qualitative methods we describe the environments wherein subjects are elided and consider the relationship between elision licensed by the syntactic context, and elision licensed by the discourse context. The analysis reveals that subject elision can be licensed through antecedent–anaphora relations at the level of syntax and through the encoding of unambiguous, continued topics following the beginning of a narrative episode at the level of discourse. We then consider the role of substrate and lexifier sources to account for how subject elision categories may have arisen in Kriol.
Article
Eight adult Aboriginal people residing in a remote community in the north-west of Australia participated in this research. The data were collected from an ‘inside’ perspective and, as culturally appropriate, through informal interviews (yarning) and ongoing conversations. These data were recorded as field notes and audio files which were transcribed and used to formulate case studies. Because the authors are not Aboriginal people, the voices of the participants were used to tell their personal stories and experiences. The findings indicate that each identified as Aboriginal and according to their language group. They recognized their wide-ranging linguistic repertoire which included Aboriginal English (AE), Kriol and, to various degrees, traditional languages. They believed they were more connected to their culture because of their Aboriginal dialects and languages. Their language use was fluid and they engaged in translanguaging. Not all claimed to be proficient in Standard Australian English and some described feeling ‘shame’ when speaking this and their Aboriginal language varieties. They also reported experiences with linguicism and racism, even in their own community because of their language use and because of the color of their skin. Our findings suggest a key role for education in providing support for multilingual Aboriginal people.
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As the first adaptation of a complete Shakespearean work presented entirely in one Aboriginal language of Australia, Hecate is a landmark production in Australian theatre. The Noongar language of the southwest of Western Australia is a critically endangered language impacted by colonisation since the early 1800s and suppressed until the 1970s. Working with an all-Noongar cast learning what is by birthright their mother-tongue, the Noongar language, on a full Shakespearean work presents a range of challenges. Consideration of effective rehearsal strategies to support brave spaces for the cast to flourish holistically, both as language learners and performers, was imperative. As most of the cast had limited understanding of spoken Noongar language until working on the production, song functioned as a catalyst for language learning, working as a mnemonic device. Vocal exercises were introduced to empower the performers to articulate freely and to liberate the text. Additionally, the stage manager’s comprehension of Noongar language was important, particularly as the production transferred to the stage. In reflecting on the necessarily unique processes developed for Hecate, this paper offers strategies to support future training of performers, directors, vocal coaches and stage managers engaged in productions that involve Indigenous and/or endangered languages.
Article
Purpose: Yolŋu Ŋ(First Nations Australians from North-East Arnhem Land, Northern Territory) and Balanda (non-Indigenous people) often encounter communication challenges at a cultural interface during the provision of health and education services. To address these challenges, our project co-created an educational process and resources to inform and facilitate intercultural communication. During interactive workshops, participants and researchers from different cultural backgrounds reflected on their communication practice together in small groups. Reflection and discussion during the workshops were supported by multi-media resources designed to be accessible and resonant for both Yolŋu and Balanda partners. Participants explored and implemented strategies during intercultural engagement within and beyond the workshop. In this article we explain our processes of co-creating intercultural communication education and share features of our educational process and resources that resonated with participants from both cultural groups.Method: Our intercultural team of researchers used a culturally-responsive approach to Participatory Action Research (PAR) to co-create an intercultural communication workshop and multi-media resources collaboratively with 52 Yolŋu and Balanda end-users.Result: Collaborating (the power and value of genuine collaboration and engagement throughout the process) and connecting (the meeting and valuing of multiple knowledges, languages and modes of expression) were key elements of both our methods and findings. Our processes co-created accessible, inclusive, collaborative spaces in which researchers and participants were actively supported to implement intercultural communication processes as they learned about them.Conclusion: Our work may have relevance for others who are developing educational processes and resources for facilitating intercultural communication in ways that honour participants' voices, challenge inaccessible systems, resonate with diverse audiences and create opportunities for research translation.Explanation of terms• Yolŋu are First Nations Australians from North-East Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory of Australia.• Balanda is a term used by speakers of Yolŋu languages to refer to non-Indigenous people.• First Nations Australians is used to include diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. This term recognises the identities of First Nations peoples who hold unceded sovereignty over their lands and waters.• The pronouns we, us and our are used to refer to the intercultural research team who are also authors (i.e. Emily, Gapany, Ḻäwurrpa, Yuŋgirrŋa and supervisors Anne, Lyn and Sarah). When sharing other people's perspectives, or the voices of individual researchers, the text will specify whose voice is being shared.
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There has been substantial research into trends in maintenance and shift of community languages among Australian migrants; however, similar studies for Indigenous language usage in Australia are scarce. Studies of language maintenance and shift have tended to focus on language shift across specific languages. In this paper, we report on a study based on census data to identify reports of Indigenous language usage across three census periods; 2001, 2006 and 2011. The study examines the linguistic distribution of Indigenous language groups and identifies changes in numbers of speakers of specific Indigenous languages over the last inter-censal period. It then investigates language use on the basis of the age and gender distribution of Indigenous language speakers. We conclude with a discussion of the motivations for some of the changes observed in the language landscapes of Indigenous languages in Australia.
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Research
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Blythe, Joe. 2009. Doing referring in Murriny Patha conversation. PhD Dissertation. Sydney: University of Sydney.
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Noel Butlin radically altered the debate about the pre-colonial Aboriginal population when he provided a set of hypothetical demographic scenarios, which nonetheless were both grounded in economic theory or human ecological considerations and broadly consistent with what we know about the historical record. This research builds on Butlin's legacy by exploring how his scenarios are consistent with both the medical understandings of the infectiousness and mortality of various diseases and the history of settlement. Another contribution from this paper is to highlight the possible role of chickenpox in the Aboriginal depopulation in the early colonial period.
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The language ecologies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland are characterised by widespread language shift to contact language varieties, yet they remain largely invisible in discourses involving Indigenous languages and education. This invisibility – its various causes and its many implications – are explored through a discussion of two creoles which developed in Queensland: Yumplatok (formerly Torres Strait Creole) and Yarrie Lingo. Although both are English- lexified and originate in Queensland, they represent different histories and different trajectories of awareness and recognition. The Yumplatok discussion emphasises issues arising from speakers’ own attitudes, including Sellwood’s own lived experiences. The Yarrie Lingo discussion highlights issues arising from its creole–lexifier relationship with (Standard Australian) English. Finally, this paper examines a recently published government language report, highlighting the ways that Indigenous creoles are marginalised: this marginalisation exacerbates their invisibility in mainstream discourse.
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Islands make up 5.3% of Earth's land area yet maintain an estimated 19% of bird species, 17% of rodents, 17% of flowering plants, and 27% of human languages. Species diversity is disproportionately threatened on islands in relation to the islands’ proportion of both global land area and species, with 61% of all extinct species and 37% of all critically endangered species confined to islands. Languages are disproportionately threatened on islands in relation to land area with 11% of extinct languages and 25% of critically endangered languages on islands. Islands are a priority area for integrated conservation efforts because they have 14 times greater density of critically endangered terrestrial species and 6 times greater density of critically endangered languages than continental areas. Invasive species and habitat loss are the largest threats to island terrestrial species diversity. Proven management actions can reduce these threats, benefiting both local peoples and species diversity on islands.
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As part of the 'Bridging the Language Gap' project undertaken with 86 State and Catholic schools across Queensland, the language competencies of Indigenous students have been found to be 'invisible' in several key and self-reinforcing ways in school system data. A proliferation of inaccurate, illogical and incomplete data exists about students' home languages and their status as English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D) learners in schools. This is strongly suggestive of the fact that 'language' is not perceived by school systems as a significant operative variable in student performance, not even in the current education climate of data-driven improvement. Moreover, the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), the annual standardised testing regime, does not collect relevant information on students' language repertoires and levels of proficiency in Standard Australian English (SAE). Indigenous students who are over-represented in NAPLAN under-performance data are targeted through 'Closing the Gap' for interventions to raise their literacy and numeracy achievements (in SAE). However, Indigenous students who are EAL/D learners cannot be disaggregated by system data from their counterparts already fluent in SAE. Reasons behind such profound language invisibility are discussed, as well as the implications for social inclusion of Indigenous students in education. KEY WORDS: Indigenous education, school language data, student assessment, multilingual education, English as an Additional Language/Dialect (EAL/D)
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There are now significant numbers of children who speak a language other than English when they enter the formal school system in Australia. Many of these children come from a language background that is entirely different from the school language. Many Indigenous children, however, come from creole-speaking backgrounds where their home language may share features with the school language whilst remaining substantially different in other ways. What often makes this situation more challenging is the tendency to view creole, rather than as a different language, as a kind of deficient version of the standard language. Children entering the school system with a creole thus often encounter considerable difficulties. In addition, teachers who are not trained in teaching creole-speaking children may not recognise these difficulties. This paper explores some of these issues in the Australian context with reference to home languages such as Kriol and Torres Strait Creole (TSC) as well as minority dialects such as Australian Aboriginal English (AAE), and discusses possible resolutions.
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The fields of ethnobiology and language documentation have much to offer each other, but for the moment, there are few signs of engagement between practitioners of the two disciplines. In this paper, I argue that projects that seek to document endangered languages can benefit by focusing on the semantic domain of traditional biological and ecological knowledge (TEK), and by engaging in collaborative projects with ethnobiologists. In do-ing so, researchers not only produce a rich corpus that is culturally relevant and valuable to the language community, but also record information about the natural world that may be of interest to researchers in other fields. The TEK encoded in a language is best and most easily observed in the specialized vocabulary that speakers may employ when talking about various natural phenomena. However, a community's knowledge of their biological environment extends far beyond the lexicon and into the domain of complex ecological relationships among different organisms. Using examples from my fieldwork in southern India, I argue that it is possible to capture such knowledge in a language documentation program. Other criteria for a good documentation, such as the inclusion of a wide range of speech genres, can also be met while eliciting TEK from language consultants.
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Within the Australian education system, Aboriginal students’ use of non-standard English features is often viewed simplistically as evidence of non-attainment of literacy and oral-English milestones. One reason for this is the widespread use of assessment tools which fail to differentiate between native- English speakers and students who are learning English as a second language. In these assessments, non-standard English features are framed as ‘mistakes’ and low scores taken as evidence of ‘poor’ performance. This paper will contrast a mistake-oriented analysis with one that incorporates knowledge of the students’ first language. It will clearly show that when consideration is given to the first language, a more nuanced picture of English proficiency emerges: one that is attuned to the specific second language learning pathway and thus far better placed to inform both assessment and classroom instruction
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The notion of social capital has had wide currency in mainstream social policy debate in recent years, with commonly used definitions emphasising three factors: norms, networks and trust. Yolngu Aboriginal people have their own perspectives on norms, networks and trust relationships. This article uses concepts from Yolngu philosophy to explore these perspectives in three contexts: at the former mission settlements, at homeland centres, and among ?long-grassers? in Darwin. The persistence of the components of social capital at different levels in particular contexts shotild be seen by government policy makers as an opportunity to engage in a social development dialogue with Yolngu, aimed at identifying the specific contexts in which Yolngu social capital can be maximised.
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Using Australian languages as examples, cultural selection is shown to shape linguistic structure through invisible hand processes that pattern the unintended outcomes (structures in the system of shared linguistic norms) of intentional actions (particular utterances by individual agents). Examples of the emergence of culturally patterned structure through use are drawn from various levels: the semantics of the lexicon, grammaticalized kin-related categories, and culture-specific organizations of sociolinguistic diversity, such as moiety lects, "mother-in-law" registers, and triangular kin terms. These phenomena result from a complex of diachronic processes that adapt linguistic structures to culture-specific concepts and practices, such as ritualization and phonetic reduction of frequently used sequences, the input of shared cultural knowledge into pragmatic interpretation, semanticization of originally context-dependent inferences, and the input of linguistic ideologies into the systematization of lectal variants. Some of these processes, such as the emergence of subsection terminology and moiety lects, operate over speech communities that transcend any single language and can only be explained if the relevant processes take the multilingual speech community as their domain of operation. Taken together, the cases considered here provide strong evidence against nativist assumptions that see linguistic structures simply as instantiations of biologically given "mentalese" concepts already present in the mind of every child and give evidence in favor of a view that sees individual language structures as also conditioned by historical processes, of which functional adaptation of various kinds is most important. They also illustrate how, in the domain of language, stable socially shared structures can emerge from the summed effects of many communicative micro-events by individual agents.
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As the world grows less biologically diverse, it is becoming less linguistically and culturally diverse as well. Biologists estimate annual loss of species at 1,000 times or more greater than historic rates, and linguists predict that 50-90% of the world's languages will disappear by the end of this century. Prior studies indicate similarities in the geographic arrangement of biological and linguistic diversity, although conclusions have often been constrained by use of data with limited spatial precision. Here we use greatly improved datasets to explore the co-occurrence of linguistic and biological diversity in regions containing many of the Earth's remaining species: biodiversity hotspots and high biodiversity wilderness areas. Results indicate that these regions often contain considerable linguistic diversity, accounting for 70% of all languages on Earth. Moreover, the languages involved are frequently unique (endemic) to particular regions, with many facing extinction. Likely reasons for co-occurrence of linguistic and biological diversity are complex and appear to vary among localities, although strong geographic concordance between biological and linguistic diversity in many areas argues for some form of functional connection. Languages in high biodiversity regions also often co-occur with one or more specific conservation priorities, here defined as endangered species and protected areas, marking particular localities important for maintaining both forms of diversity. The results reported in this article provide a starting point for focused research exploring the relationship between biological and linguistic-cultural diversity, and for developing integrated strategies designed to conserve species and languages in regions rich in both.
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Talk of linguistic universals has given cognitive scientists the impression that languages are all built to a common pattern. In fact, there are vanishingly few universals of language in the direct sense that all languages exhibit them. Instead, diversity can be found at almost every level of linguistic organization. This fundamentally changes the object of enquiry from a cognitive science perspective. This target article summarizes decades of cross-linguistic work by typologists and descriptive linguists, showing just how few and unprofound the universal characteristics of language are, once we honestly confront the diversity offered to us by the world's 6,000 to 8,000 languages. After surveying the various uses of “universal,” we illustrate the ways languages vary radically in sound, meaning, and syntactic organization, and then we examine in more detail the core grammatical machinery of recursion, constituency, and grammatical relations. Although there are significant recurrent patterns in organization, these are better explained as stable engineering solutions satisfying multiple design constraints, reflecting both cultural-historical factors and the constraints of human cognition. Linguistic diversity then becomes the crucial datum for cognitive science: we are the only species with a communication system that is fundamentally variable at all levels. Recognizing the true extent of structural diversity in human language opens up exciting new research directions for cognitive scientists, offering thousands of different natural experiments given by different languages, with new opportunities for dialogue with biological paradigms concerned with change and diversity, and confronting us with the extraordinary plasticity of the highest human skills.
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Historical linguistic analysis of phonological and grammatical borrowings among a block of languages in Arnhem Land, Australia, especially Nunggubuyu, Ngandi, Warndarang, and Ritharngu. Substantially identical to the author's 1976 University of Chicago dissertation.
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At Warruwi, a remote Australian Indigenous community, people use a range of Indigenous languages on a daily basis. Adults speak three to eight Indigenous languages and these high levels of multilingualism are out of step with current trends which see most Australian Indigenous communities shifting to a single variety be it a variety of English, a contact variety or a traditional Indigenous language. The three Indigenous languages most widely spoken at Warruwi are quite dissimilar as they belong to separate language families. This article discusses three characteristics of language use at Warruwi that are likely to play a role in supporting the levels of multilingualism found there: the diversity of individual linguistic repertoires, receptive multilingual practices whereby interlocutors address one another in different languages and language ideologies that are quite different to those found elsewhere. Characteristics of multilingualism at Warruwi are compared with those reported for other communities with small-scale multilingualism. Francois’ (
Thesis
This thesis is about the life and language of kardu kigay – young Aboriginal men in the town of Wadeye, northern Australia. Kigay have attained some notoriety within Australia for their participation in “heavy metal gangs”, which periodically cause havoc in the town. But within Australianist linguistics circles, they are additionally known for speaking Murrinh Patha, a polysynthetic language that has a number of unique grammatical structures, and which is one of the few Aboriginal languages still being learnt by children. My core interest is to understand how people’s lives shape their language, and how their language shapes their lives. In this thesis these interests are focused around the following research goals: (1) To document the social structures of kigay’s day-­‐to-­‐day lives, including the subcultural “metal gang” dimension of their sociality; (2) To document the language that kigay speak, focusing in particular in aspects of their speech that differ from what has been documented in previous descriptions of Murrinh Patha; (3) To analyse which features of kigay speech might be socially salient linguistic markers, and which are more likely to reflect processes of grammatical change that run below the level of social or cognitive salience; (4) To analyse how kigay speech compares to other youth Aboriginal language varieties documented in northern Australia, and argue that together these can be described as a phenomenon of linguistic urbanisation. I will show that the “heavy metal gangs” are an idiosyncratic local subculture that uses foreign heavy metal bands as group totems. Social connections and loyalties are formed on the basis of peer solidarity, as opposed to the traditional iv totemic system, which is structured around ancestry. Lives are now shaped by the dense (and often conflict-­‐riven) town environment, as opposed to bush life, which was inseparable from the land. Kigay’s in-­‐group language is a “slang” variety of Murrinh Patha (MP), which deploys new words and phrases by borrowing and reinterpreting English vocabulary. It is also characterised by substantial lenitions and deletions in the pronunciation. The MP grammatical system still underlies this speech, but some of its more complex morphosyntactic forms are restricted to the “heavy” speech of older people, and there are various mergers and reconfigurations occurring in the verb morphology. This thesis adds to the growing body of work describing how language contact and changing sociolinguistic dynamics are radically restructuring the linguistic repertoire of Aboriginal communities in northern and central Australia. At the same time, it is one of very few studies providing sociolinguistic description of a polysynthetic language, and is therefore an innovative study in polysynthetic sociolinguistics.
Book
Talk, Text and Technology is an ethnographic exploration of language, learning and literacy in remote Indigenous Australia. This unique work traces the historical transformation of one Indigenous group across four generations. The manner in which each generation adopts, adapts and incorporates new innovations and technologies into social practice and cultural processes is illuminated - from first mission contact and the introduction of literacy in the 1930s to youth media practices today. This book examines social, cultural and linguistic practices and addresses the implications for language and literacy socialisation.
Article
What is involved in acquiring a new dialect - for example, when Canadian English speakers move to Australia or African American English-speaking children go to school? How is such learning different from second language acquisition (SLA), and why is it in some ways more difficult? These are some of the questions Jeff Siegel examines in this book, the first to focus specifically on second dialect acquisition (SDA). Siegel surveys a wide range of studies that throw light on SDA. These concern dialects of English as well as those of other languages, including Dutch, German, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese and Spanish. He also describes the individual and linguistic factors that affect SDA, such as age, social identity and language complexity. The book discusses problems faced by students who have to acquire the standard dialect without any special teaching, and presents some educational approaches that have been successful in promoting SDA in the classroom.
Article
This paper discusses some of the reasons why in the Northern Territory of Australia speakers of indigenous languages shift from using indigenous languages to using creoles and standard or non-standard English. Language attitudes of speakers are discussed in terms of what people say about languages, what public activities they engage in with respect to language maintenance, and how they talk in informal settings. The divergence between people's positive attitudes towards a language (as indicated by public language activities) and their everyday talk is discussed in the light of linguistic vitality indicators, including the socio-structural features of political, social, economic and cultural control, institutional control and status, and demographic factors as well as interactional possibilities.
Article
This paper introduces one of the first attempts in anthropology to apply the notion of diaspora to Fourth World circumstances—namely, the Warlpiri of central Australia, many of whom have permanently migrated to towns and cities, but retain strong connections to their home settlements. Coincidently, the research project on the Warlpiri diaspora (2009–12) overlapped with an intensified public policy debate about the decline in social conditions on remote Aboriginal settlements and controversial governmental responses. Prior to those responses, Aboriginal public intellectual Noel Pearson had already proposed ‘orbiting’ as a solution to some of the social problems in remote settlements. These conjunctures set the scene for a comparison to be made between the results of ethnographic enquiry and policy advocacy covering similar ground. Results from the Warlpiri diaspora project indicate that some Warlpiri women have acted well in advance of any official endorsement of orbiting to move permanently to distant locations. But the success or otherwise of such a venture seems to depend on intimate factors that fall outside the usual purview of government policymaking. While the Warlpiri diaspora research is supportive of some of the assumptions of the orbiting policy, it also suggests other kinds of successful orbiting outside of workplace careers and the understating of the cultural implications of orbiting. Ultimately, experience-near ethnography, including that which is orientated to the intercultural, as necessitated by the realities of diaspora, stands in a critical relationship to the oversimplifying tendencies of policy advocacy.
Article
Speakers of creole languages experience educational disadvantage in schools that teach in the standard language of their region, but there remain many misconceptions about why this is the case and how best to facilitate academic improvement, despite research demonstrating that actively using creoles in the classroom leads to a range of positive outcomes for these students. This paper reviews how attitudes towards creoles influence their place in educational contexts, some of the challenges for research on creoles in education, approaches to teaching creole‐speaking children with particular reference to bilingual programs, and the ramifications of standardized testing for creole‐speaking students.
Article
Many central Australian Aboriginal settlements have recently gained access to mobile phones and the Internet. This paper explores ways in which Aboriginal people engage with this technology outside of institutional settings. Drawing on long-term research among Warlpiri, I reflect on people's responses to earlier communication media such as the two-way radio and radio–telephone and compare them to patterns of use emerging around new technologies. Attending to the social landscape surrounding the uptake of new media and the social networking site ‘Divas Chat’, I consider how transformations in material structures of communication interact with changing demographics, embodied socio-spatial relations, sorcery beliefs and mobility to reinforce, refigure and/or disrupt patterns of conflict and connectedness that hitherto have structured Warlpiri relational ontology. I suggest that the way people engage with these technologies illuminates and intensifies fault-lines arising from contradictions between older established social orders and changing relations with the state and modernity.
Article
There is limited information world-wide about Indigenous children's speech and language competence and their language learning environments. Indigenous Australian children participated in the child cohort of Footprints in Time: Longitudinal Study of Indigenous Children, a national study supported by Indigenous Australians and the Australian Government collected annually (in waves). There were 692 3–5-year-old children in wave 1, and two years later, 570 5–7-year-old children were in wave 3 (77.0% of children in wave 1 were also in wave 3). Data were obtained via parent interviews and direct assessment. The children spoke between one and eight languages including: English (wave 1: 91.2%, wave 3: 99.6%), Indigenous languages (wave 1: 24.4%, wave 3: 26.8%), creoles (wave 1: 11.5%, wave 3: 13.7%), foreign languages (non-Indigenous languages other than English) (wave 1: 2.0%, wave 3: 5.1%), and sign languages (wave 1: 0.6%, wave 3: 0.4%). Children who spoke an Indigenous language were more likely to live in moderate to extreme isolation than their English-speaking counterparts. Parental concern about speech and language skills was similar to data for non-Indigenous children with approximately one quarter of parents expressing concern (wave 1: yes = 13.9%, a little = 10.4%). Children's language environments were rich, with many family members and friends telling oral stories, reading books, and listening to the children read. Almost a third of families wanted to pass on their cultural language, and many indicated that they would like their child to learn an Indigenous language at school. Overall, Indigenous Australian children have rich cultural and linguistic traditions and their speech and language competence is promoted through family, community, and educational experiences.
Article
Over the past decade, the field of biocultural diversity has arisen as an area of transdisciplinary research concerned with investigating the links between the world's linguistic, cultural, and biological diversity as manifestations of the diversity of life. The impetus for the emergence of this field came from the observation that all three diversities are under threat by some of the same forces and from the perception that loss of diversity at all levels spells dramatic consequences for humanity and the earth. Accordingly, the field of biocultural diversity has developed with both a theoretical and a practical side, the latter focusing on on-the-ground work and policy, as well as with an ethics and human rights component. This review provides some background on the historical antecedents and beginnings of this field and on its philosophical and ethical underpinnings, and then surveys the key literature on biocultural diversity, concentrating on three main aspects: global and regional studies on ...
Article
There are global threats to biodiversity with current extinction rates well above background levels. Although less well publicized, numerous human languages have also become extinct, and others are threatened with extinction. However, estimates of the number of threatened languages vary considerably owing to the wide range of criteria used. For example, languages have been classified as threatened if the number of speakers is less than 100, 500, 1,000, 10,000, 20,000 or 100,000 (ref. 3). Here I show, by applying internationally agreed criteria for classifying species extinction risk, that languages are more threatened than birds or mammals. Rare languages are more likely to show evidence of decline than commoner ones. Areas with high language diversity also have high bird and mammal diversity and all three show similar relationships to area, latitude, area of forest and, for languages and birds, maximum altitude. The time of human settlement has little effect on current language diversity. Although similar factors explain the diversity of languages and biodiversity, the factors explaining extinction risk for birds and mammals (high altitude, high human densities and insularity) do not explain the numbers of endangered languages.
Article
This paper is an attempt to open a discussion on the topic. 2. Some important concepts and distinctions
Multilingualism and language in education: Current sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives from Commonwealth countries
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Angelo, D., & Carter, N. (2015). Schooling within shifting langscapes: Educational responses in complex indigenous language contact ecologies. In Y. Androula (Ed.), Multilingualism and language in education: Current sociolinguistic and pedagogical perspectives from Commonwealth countries. (pp. 119-140). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Cambridge handbook of endangered languages
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Census of Population and Housing
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Australian languages: Classification and the comparative method
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Learning Pitjantjatjara: A longitudinal study of Pitjantjatjara language acquisition
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Defina, R. (2016). Learning Pitjantjatjara: A longitudinal study of Pitjantjatjara language acquisition. Paper presented at COEDL Learning Workshop, November 7-8, Australian National University, 2016.
The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region
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Evans, N. (2003a). The non-Pama-Nyungan languages of northern Australia: Comparative studies of the continent's most linguistically complex region. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
Gurr-Goni, a minority language in a multilingual community: Surviving into the 21st century
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Green, R. (2003). Gurr-Goni, a minority language in a multilingual community: Surviving into the 21st century. In J. Blythe & R. McKenna Brown (Eds.), Maintaining the links: Language, identity and the land. Proceedings of the Seventh FEL Conference, Broome, Western Australia, 22-24 September 2003 (pp. 127-134). Bath: Foundation for Endangered Languages.
The languages of kinship in Aboriginal Australia
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A century of population change in Australia
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Talk, text and technology: Literacy and social practice in a remote Indigenous community. Critical Language and Literacy Studies 14. Bristol: Multilingual Matters
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Kral, I. (2012). Talk, text and technology: Literacy and social practice in a remote Indigenous community. Critical Language and Literacy Studies 14. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.
Assessing the evidence on Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes
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Kral, I. & Morphy, F. (2006). Language. In B. Hunter (Ed.), Assessing the evidence on Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes (pp. 279-289). CAEPR Research Monograph 26. Canberra: Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, Australian National University.
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McConvell, P. & Thieberger, N. (2001). State of Indigenous languages in Australia-2001. Australia State of the Environment 2nd Technical Paper Series (Natural and Cultural Heritage). Canberra: Department of the Environment and Heritage.
Broken: An introduction to the creole language of Torres Strait
  • A Shnukal
Shnukal, A. (1988). Broken: An introduction to the creole language of Torres Strait. Pacific Linguistics, Series C., 0078-7558, No. 107. Canberra: Research School of Pacific Studies, Australian National University.