Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42003

Yirrgii Guugu Yimidhirrbi gurra Nganhdaan Gaban Balgal Guugu Yimidhirrbi (Speak Guugu Yimidhirr and We Will Write Guugu Yimidhirr – language revitalization with children)

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Title: Yirrgii Guugu Yimidhirrbi gurra Nganhdaan Gaban Balgal Guugu Yimidhirrbi (Speak Guugu Yimidhirr and We Will Write Guugu Yimidhirr – language revitalization with children)
Authors: Bowen, Lillian
Goetesson, Jan
Issue Date: 03 Mar 2017
Description: This case study of language revitalization in a context where the language nation is small, a village of 1000, of whom only the grandparent generations are full speakers, and intergenerational transmission has almost ceased, gives hope for the future of threatened languages. The word “kangaroo” is a word from my language, Guugu Yimidhirr, from eastern Cape York Peninsula. The word “gangurru” was first transcribed by James Cook and Joseph Banks when they met my people at the Endeavour River in 1770 (Haviland 1979). Cape York Peninsula is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s great cultural treasuries, but the Guugu Yimidhirr language, like most Australian languages, has never been fully documented. The historical causes of language loss began with dispossession and theft of our peoples’ lands, genocide, incarceration, enslavement and removals of children from their families. Now the English language is destroying our mother tongues as surely as the rifles of the English invaders destroyed our people. All but one of Cape York Peninsula’s 42 languages are now critically endangered. With the passing of each elder, irreplaceable linguistic, cultural and historical information is lost. Our ancient languages tell the great stories of our continent, how every mountain and river and stone came into being. The future of our cultures and of our peoples depends on the survival of our languages. The Guugu Yimidhirr people are now working with linguists to write everything down that our elders know. We are building the Guugu Yimidhirr language up so we can speak about modern things, like telephones, computers and business. We are making new Guugu Yimidhirr books and songs for our children to sing in Guugu Yimidhirr. We are also using technology in new ways to help our young people to learn. We are bringing Guugu Yimidhirr back into our families, our ceremonies and our church. At Hope Vale an important part of our revitalization effort is our school language program, where we are teaching our children to speak and write Guugu Yimidhirr. Yirrgii Guugu Yimidhirrbi (Speak Guugu Yimidhirr) is a scripted course in spoken Guugu Yimidhirr. Nganhdhaan Gaban Balgal Guugu Yimidhirrbi (We write Guugu Yimidhirr) is a semi-scripted Guugu Yimidhirr literacy course. My students and I are excited and proud of our progress. We’d like to show you how we are making Guugu Yimidhirr a language of the future. John B. Haviland (1979) “Guugu Yimidhirr.” In R.M.W. Dixon and B. Blake (eds.), Handbook of Australian Languages Vol. 1. Canberra: Australian National University Press.
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/42003
Appears in Collections:5th International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC)



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