CELEBRATING ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER LANGUAGES
This year's theme Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
The 2020 National NAIDOC Poster, Shape of Land, was designed by Tyrown Waigana, a Noongar and Saibai Islander man - please click on the information text from the NAIDOC Week website to find out more about the meaning and background story to the artwork.
First Peoples languages are intrinsically connected to their culture and they spoke a multitude of languages. Before the first European settlement, there were hundreds of Indigenous Languages, it is assumed that there were as many as 800, depending on how you divide languages and dialects. But by 2016, just over 150 were reported in the census.
Melbourne University has created a new website, the 50 Words Project, in July 2019.
The wealth of Indigenous Languages across Australia - considering that there were 800 languages/dialects and that one language would have up to 10,000 words - Australia would have eight million words across the continent and the local cultures are coded in their languages.
The 50 Words Project is an invaluable resource for people to learn and appreciate the diversity of our Indigenous languages which is important for both speakers of these languages and for the general public.
Please click on the map or links provided to find out more about Indigenous Languages in Australia.
FRENCH STAFF MEMBER AWARDED THE ‘YOUNG HOPE’ AWARD
To honor French teachers in Australia, as part of the International French Teacher's Day on November 26, Monsieur Chamantin, who joined us at the start of this year, was awarded the national grand prize for the young hopeful French Teacher of the Year 2020.
It is indeed thanks to the enthusiasm and dynamism of teachers that the teaching of French can flourish in schools. Monsieur Chamontin will share his experience and passion for French with the Australian community in an interview with SBS, to talk about the challenges of the profession and to celebrate the wonderful job as a language teacher in Australia!. His interview will be broadcast on SBS French the week of November 26.
The prize (only awarded to two teachers in Australia) will also be presented in person by a representative of the Embassy of France at a later time of the year depending on restrictions.
Head of Languages
FRENCH PENFRIEND PROGRAMME
Starting early next year, students of French in Years 8, 9 and 10 will be participating in an email exchange programme with students from two schools. The schools are the Centre International de Valbonne in France and the College de Tuband in New Caledonia.
The French teachers are looking forward to supporting our students to forge long term relationships with young French-speaking people from these schools and we also look forward to the support of parents to encourage our students.
Here are links to the schools’ home pages:
GERMAN-SPEAKING MISSIONARIES AND INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS
In NAIDOC Week we can note the extensive interaction between German-speaking missionaries and Indigenous Australians in the past. The Stolen Generations period is a tragic one in Australian history, however there are numerous cases where contemporary Indigenous Australians view their ancestors’ interaction with German-speaking missionaries favourably.
The Aboriginal community of Hermannsburg (approximately 130km south-west of Alice Springs), known as Ntaria in the Western Arrernte language, was originally a German Lutheran mission station established in 1877 by missionaries who had travelled with a considerable number of cattle and other stock from the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The two leading missionaries, Herr Kempe and Herr Schwarz, named the mission Hermannsburg after the place in Germany where they had received their training.
Heather Ewart, the compere of ABC TV’s ‘Back Roads’ series, devoted an episode to Hermannsburg, and said:
"The legacy of the Lutheran Mission is talked about a lot here. Unlike other missions at the time, the Lutherans didn't try to stamp out indigenous culture. And they fought to protect Hermannsburg's children during the stolen generation era."
She spoke with Warren Williams, an Aboriginal singer, musician and songwriter from Hermannsburg, who told her:
"The mission actually saved us from losing it [the language], because they wrote it down. Because other communities, the churches all came and just said, 'no, you can't speak your language anymore', and they stopped a lot of the communities from talking language."
The Hermannsburg mission land was handed over to traditional ownership in 1982 under the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1976.
German missionaries were known for their efforts to learn the indigenous language as soon as possible. The German academic Gerhard Leitner wrote recently that for German missionaries, language skills were the starting point of their mission work. German missionaries in central Australia translated German hymns into the local languages and taught the community members to sing in harmony. The Central Australian Aboriginal Women's Choir has maintained this legacy, and continues to sing these old German hymns in the Western Arrernte language.
In 2015 the choir toured Germany, which was a major undertaking – many members had not been outside of the Northern Territory before. The choir performed in several towns and the tour was called the “Boomerang Tour”, as old German hymns, sung in another language, were being taken ‘back to Germany’. Many Germans who attended the concerts were amazed to hear old German hymns, some of which are rarely heard in Germany today, sung in an Aboriginal language.
The work of German missionaries has also been instrumental in efforts to revive use of and understanding of indigenous languages. The Kaurna language is the indigenous language originally spoken in the Adelaide area. Two German missionaries, Clamor Schürmann and Christian Teichelmann, arrived in Adelaide very soon after the establishment of the English colony and immediately set about learning and describing the Kaurna language. They also taught indigenous children in the Kaurna language.
The missionaries translated the Ten Commandments, six German hymns, a school prayer and some biblical texts into Kaurna. They also published a grammar overview and a vocabulary list of about 2,000 words. However, Governor Grey eventually forbade Schürmann and Teichelmann from preaching in Kaurna, and the language was effectively dead by 1900.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) described Schürmann and Teichelmann as follows in 2008:
“The pair were not cane-wielding Bible-bashers who sought to eradicate the local language. They were Christian linguists who meticulously recorded the Kaurna language knowing that it faced extinction. They saved more than they knew.”
Efforts to revive communicative use of the Kaurna language are showing considerable success and have relied on the grammatical information and vocabulary recorded by the two missionaries with their Aboriginal helpers in the 1830s. The Sydney Morning Herald described this language revival project as “an event of international importance. Renowned international linguist Professor David Crystal makes special mention of the Kaurna language project on his website and in his book Language Death.”
The history of relations between Indigenous Australians and German missionaries contains numerous examples of fruitful cooperation.
The photo shows the historic Hermannsburg mission church (source: Wikimedia Commons, Cgoodwin). The current modern church building was opened in 1964, and Lutheran Services are held there weekly in the Western Arrernte language.
EDUCATION PERFECT STUDENT INTERNSHIP
Each year, Education Perfect offers a full expenses paid student internship position. The internship includes flights to EPHQ in Dunedin, New Zealand, to spend a week with the teams at EP learning about all that happens behind the scenes, whilst gaining invaluable work and life experience. The internship also accommodates for a parent to accompany the winning student.
We are very proud to announce that Luka Magee, who has studied both Spanish and French in Year 9 this year, has reached the interview stage of the selection process. He was congratulated for his very impressive application.
We all wish him the best of luck in the interview which will take place in the week starting Monday 23 November.