Monday, January 05, 2009

Would you like to hear Gamilaraay spoken?

I referred to the work of Professor Peter Austin on Australian indigenous languages in Sunday Essay - academic research and indigenous ownership. In one of those nice surprises that marks the blogging world, Peter left a thank you note on a an earlier post I had written on his work on the New England history blog. In doing so, he GY resources launch Tamworthgave me some update information.

The photo is taken from the launch of a resource kit at Tamworth in 2006 on the Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay (Kamilaroi) languages.

The Yuwaalaraay is a related language group stretching out into the deserts to the west of Gamilaraay.

Normally I would respond on my New England blogs and indeed will do so. However, one of the links Peter provided takes you through to part of a site where you can actually hear the now reviving Gamilaraay spoken. I thought that some of my readers might actually like to hear a New England Aboriginal language.

If you would like to listen, you can find the link here.


Did you know that globally one human language dies every week as the last speakers' die? As they do, another piece of the human past vanishes.

On the other side of the ledger, some dead or nearly dead languages have been revived. I was surprised at the scale of the revival process in some European countries and have been meaning to write about this.

It seems that as life gets more complicated, our desire to cling to our own special pasts increases. My own desire to revive New England is not, after all, as strange as it seems!


In a comment onthis post in his Google Reader series Neil said:

Very interesting, though I am not really sure, with all due respect, that the parallel drawn at the end is really valid...

Neil, to use a very old phrase, I think that your petticoat is showing. The ending was a light one, but you have now drawn me into a substantive response.

The only way that I can interpret your comment is that my desire to revive New England is somehow less important than the restoration of Gamilaraay or, for that matter, Cornish. If so, your are wrong and on so many levels that I do not even know where to begin.

I will not respond further now. I will respond in detail not just because it bears upon my own past, but because it also highlights some of the issues I referred to in Gaza, democracy and the question of world government.


Anonymous said...

I was just thinking aloud... "I'm not sure" meant just that, and I will look forward to the post I set in motion...

Anonymous said...

... I may add that my quote of the week from Kanani Fong is in a similar vein to my comment, though she was referring to Gaza.

I can see several levels to the idea of reviving New England. If you mean the economy and viability of this and other regional areas in NSW, I couldn't agree more with you. If you mean potential statehood, then we may differ, but that is an overlapping but also separate matter, I think. If you mean reviving a way of life from the past, a kind of golden age, I can sympathise, but am not so sure it is possible. Same would apply to Sutherland Shire as I picture it in the 1950s, I guess; it's just gone...

(I am still thinking aloud.)

The matter of entire languages and cultures on the brink of extinction, however, seems to me a much more poignant issue. The continuities with the Sutherland or New England we recall remain strong despite all the change, as the dominant culture while evolving has continued...

Just thoughts, Jim, not coat trailing...

Jim Belshaw said...

Neil, thanks for these comments. I am part way through a very full response that I will put up on the New England blog. This explores some of the issues you mention in your comments.