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Condamine Alliance Aboriginal Languages Project

Aboriginal Language Revival in the Condamine River Catchment

Language is an expression of people, culture and land – and a core component of cultural identity. Studies show that before European settlement, around 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken throughout Australia.

These languages also had several dialects, extensive vocabulary and different grammatical structures. 160 of these languages are now dormant and it is commonly believed that only around 20 languages will survive overall.

As a result, there are now a growing number of government and non-government projects across Australia that are supporting the maintenance, transmission and revival of Indigenous languages.

The Condamine Alliance Languages Project is an initiative of the Condamine Alliance through funding under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Language Support Program (formerly Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records). The project aims to support language revival in communities along the Condamine River.

The specialised project has researched the history, significant sites and languages of the traditional custodians of the catchment and for the first time undertook to record and share the Aboriginal languages of the region.

Strength in Diversity

The Condamine Catchment extends from its source near Killarney along the Condamine River and creeks system to Chinchilla. There are six Traditional Owner groups and nine main language groups.

TRADITIONAL OWNER GROUPS
ABORIGINAL LANGUAGE GROUPS*

 

Barrunggam

Bigambul

Giabul

Githabul

Kambuwal

Jarowai

Barrunggam
Bigambul
Giabul
Githabul
Gambuwal
Jarowai
Keinjan
Kogai
Manadandanji

*8 of the language groups are covered in the resource below

Talking Together

Aboriginal languages are rich oral-based traditions and at times very little information was written down.

The Condamine Alliance Aboriginal Languages Project has explored the language history through available research and a variety of language workshops to assist collecting, recording and documentation of the traditional languages of the river.

The workshops drew together participants from communities along the catchment as well as community members living outside the area who still retained their cultural and familial links back to country.

The project revealed a strong focus on ‘caring for country’ and the traditional knowledge of managing the natural resources of the Condamine River. In addition to mapping the language of the river, the project also identified sites of cultural significance and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge.

For many participants this was the first opportunity to sit down and talk about traditional languages as only minimal research had previously taken place.

The landscape of Aboriginal languages is changing constantly but there are strong cultural links in the catchment area. The project helped connect people with a shared desire to awaken languages along the river communities.

The Next Generation

Sustaining history and language for the next generation is vital. The project has expanded common understanding and produced significant information on the nine language groups. Traditional owner and language group profiles, vocabulary and word lists, basic teaching resources and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge have all been recorded.

It is hoped that this project may serve as a catalyst for further language revival activities in the communities along the Condamine and that the creation of wordlists and other language materials may serve as a ‘trigger’ for social memories of language knowledge.

Information and resources covering eight of the language groups has been released in consultation with community members.

Resources

General resources
Language resources
Language calendar
A 14 month wall calendar (September 2012 – December 2014) has been developed as a great way to learn and share key vocabulary. Each month focuses on  vocabulary from individual language groups divided across the four themes of Condamine Alliance – People, Water, Land, Wildlife. Calendars are available in hardcopy by emailing office@condaminealliance.com.au.

Aboriginal Language Calendar image

wpcf-name:
Condamine Alliance Aboriginal Languages Project
wpcf-image:
http://ourlanguages.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/condamine alliance aboriginal languages project.jpg
wpcf-body:

Aboriginal Language Revival in the Condamine River Catchment

Language is an expression of people, culture and land – and a core component of cultural identity. Studies show that before European settlement, around 250 distinct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were spoken throughout Australia.

These languages also had several dialects, extensive vocabulary and different grammatical structures. 160 of these languages are now dormant and it is commonly believed that only around 20 languages will survive overall.

As a result, there are now a growing number of government and non-government projects across Australia that are supporting the maintenance, transmission and revival of Indigenous languages.

The Condamine Alliance Languages Project is an initiative of the Condamine Alliance through funding under the Australian Government’s Indigenous Language Support Program (formerly Maintenance of Indigenous Languages and Records). The project aims to support language revival in communities along the Condamine River.

The specialised project has researched the history, significant sites and languages of the traditional custodians of the catchment and for the first time undertook to record and share the Aboriginal languages of the region.

Strength in Diversity

The Condamine Catchment extends from its source near Killarney along the Condamine River and creeks system to Chinchilla. There are six Traditional Owner groups and nine main language groups.



TRADITIONAL OWNER GROUPS

ABORIGINAL LANGUAGE GROUPS*

 

Barrunggam

Bigambul

Giabul

Githabul

Kambuwal

Jarowai



Barrunggam
Bigambul
Giabul
Githabul
Gambuwal
Jarowai
Keinjan
Kogai
Manadandanji

*8 of the language groups are covered in the resource below

Talking Together

Aboriginal languages are rich oral-based traditions and at times very little information was written down.

The Condamine Alliance Aboriginal Languages Project has explored the language history through available research and a variety of language workshops to assist collecting, recording and documentation of the traditional languages of the river.

The workshops drew together participants from communities along the catchment as well as community members living outside the area who still retained their cultural and familial links back to country.

The project revealed a strong focus on ‘caring for country’ and the traditional knowledge of managing the natural resources of the Condamine River. In addition to mapping the language of the river, the project also identified sites of cultural significance and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge.

For many participants this was the first opportunity to sit down and talk about traditional languages as only minimal research had previously taken place.

The landscape of Aboriginal languages is changing constantly but there are strong cultural links in the catchment area. The project helped connect people with a shared desire to awaken languages along the river communities.

The Next Generation

Sustaining history and language for the next generation is vital. The project has expanded common understanding and produced significant information on the nine language groups. Traditional owner and language group profiles, vocabulary and word lists, basic teaching resources and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge have all been recorded.

It is hoped that this project may serve as a catalyst for further language revival activities in the communities along the Condamine and that the creation of wordlists and other language materials may serve as a ‘trigger’ for social memories of language knowledge.

Information and resources covering eight of the language groups has been released in consultation with community members.

Resources

General resources
Language resources
Language calendar
A 14 month wall calendar (September 2012 - December 2014) has been developed as a great way to learn and share key vocabulary. Each month focuses on  vocabulary from individual language groups divided across the four themes of Condamine Alliance - People, Water, Land, Wildlife. Calendars are available in hardcopy by emailing office@condaminealliance.com.au.
Aboriginal Language Calendar image
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http://www.condaminealliance.com.au/aboriginal-languages-project
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