Wednesday, 05 April 2017 16:14

Australian Linguists Meet in Marysville

The 16th annual Australian Languages Workshop for 2017 (ALW2017) was hosted by the Research Unit for Indigenous Language at Melbourne University (co-sponsored by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language) at Camp Marysville on March 3rd to March 5th 2017.

Dja Dja Wurrung man and Linguistics Honours student Harley Dunolly-Lee went with VACL Community Linguist Dr Kris Eira at the three day event where over eighty guests attended from all over Australia.

Harley reflected that it was a great opportunity to make contacts from different universities, and to meet the authors of many theses he has read at university. “Actually meeting them in person helped clarify their work,” he said. Harley also met linguists who worked with fluent speakers, “which helped in understanding the development of sounds, and sounds that aren’t as clear cut as what we think they are.”

The event also honoured Dr Luise Hercus in a toast and acknowledgement of her contribution to linguistics. A book was also launched in her honour.

For the complete program and abstracts click here

For further information click here

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Paul Paton, Aunty Fay Stewart-Muir, Mathew Gardiner and Kris Eira travelled to Kalgoorlie for the 2016 WANALA Aboriginal Languages Conference, hosted by the Western and Northern Aboriginal Languages Alliance. The conference is for people in Aboriginal language centres, language projects, schools with Aboriginal language courses, Aboriginal language speakers and anyone involved in language work or who wishes to learn more about the work being undertaken on Aboriginal language preservation and use. The conference carried the theme of Building Resilience: Identity, intellect and the role of languages and was held at the Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre, Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, 16-18 June.

As part of the program, Kris presented our new holistic language planning tool Tyama-ngan, koong meerreeng watnanda, malayeetoo (We know, body and country together, long time). This comes in the form of a beautiful poster with the core concepts expressed through the artwork of Vicki Couzens, and an associated workshop. It is the most recent output of the Meeting Point - Language Typology Project. It expands on principles explored in Peetyawan weeyn, with more detail and breadth. Paul also gave a presentation on behalf of First Languages Australia.

Scroll down to watch a documentary film with conference participants

To learn more about WANALA click here

To purchase Tyama-ngan, koong meerreeng watnanda, malayeetoo poster click here

For more information on the Meeting Point - Language Typology Project click here

 

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Thursday, 30 June 2016 16:15

FoPA Hosts Language Conference in Guam

The Festival of Pacific Arts (FoPA) is the world's largest gathering of Indigenous Pacific cultures bringing together cultural practitioners, artists, academics, policy makers and researchers. A delegation of 60 artists were selected to represent Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures at the 12th Festival of Pacific Arts. Last month, Paul Paton and Young Champion, Waka Waka woman Annalee Pope from First Languages Australia attended the Festival of Pacific Arts in Guam. Paul and Annalee represented Australia at the Festival’s Inaugural Indigenous Languages Conference where they discussed current work to support language revitalisation in Australia, particularly digital resources, the interactive language map, team and resource building projects. Their presentation was well received by other Pacific nations who found similarities in cultural contexts in their efforts to revitalise and maintain their languages. The festival was a good opportunity for knowledge sharing among different language groups throughout the Pacific. Paul commented that the keynote address by Dr Robert Underwood on his connection to language was one of the highlights of the festival. Dr Underwood is a politian and educator and the current President of the University of Guam. 

The 12th festival was held in Guam from May 22 - June 4 and has been held every four years since 1972. The festival unites groups from 27 countries throughout the Pacific and aims to showcase arts and culture. The two weeks of festivities aim to enhance people’s understanding and appreciation for their Pacific neighbours. Hawaiʻi will be hosting the Festival of Pacific Arts (FoPA) in 2020.

To read the Pacific Islands Report article on the language conference click here
To learn more about the festival visit the FoPA website here 

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Last month, Paul travelled to Sydney to participate in the three day Indigenous Digital Excellence Summit. Day 1 was packed full of presentations ranging from entrepreneurs who've utilised digital technology to achieve business success, academics spoke about the number of Indigenous people completing IT courses (which is very low) and what the future of jobs looks like and how we need to be prepared for this. Paul also spoke from the viewpoint of using digital excellence in revitalising culture demonstrating the iPad Apps which we developed last year.

The next two days were focused on constructing and working towards the development of a National Indigenous Digital Excellence Strategy. The strategy will focus on areas such as Employment, Health, Entrepreneurship, Education and Culture. Experts from the digital industry joined the group on the last day to provide their professional contributions with the closing address left to the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, to give priority to this important strategy and a commitment of future funding to see it realised.

As a bonus, Paul gave the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull a brief tour of one of our Apps which were on display after the summit!

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Friday, 23 October 2015 14:37

An inspiring week at Puliima

The Puliima National Indigenous Language and Technology Forum took place in Melbourne this month. The event attracted over 230 people from nations across Australia as well as international guests. Energy and enthusiasm filed the William Angliss Institute as participants exchanged ideas and shared passion for language and culture.

In collaboration with KIWA, VACL hosted a KIWA SLAM workshop in the two days leading up to the conference, where a language app was produced by participants from across Australia in collaboration with the facilitators. The app was produced in six languages; Bundjalung, Dharug, Ngarrindjeri, Wonnarua, Gathang and English, and will be released on the app store soon. Other workshops and practical demonstrations explored how to create iBooks, dictionaries, recordings and teaching resources in language.

On the Wednesday and Thursday attendees were spoilt for choice with three streams of presentations that focused on community, education and technology. More than 30 presentations were offered detailing the diverse projects communities and organisations are working on with the aim of keeping language alive.

VACL participated in presentations on Learning from Experience with Vicki Couzens, Kris Eira and Tonya Stebbins from the Meeting Point Research Team based at VACL. The Ankety Map - Review of Digital Tools for Language Work presentation was made by Paul Paton from First Languages Australia and the waqdamba-nganjin wurrung presentation was made by Emma Hutchinson, Paul Paton, Mandy Nicholson and Joel Wright from VACL.

Highlights included international guests from the Santa Fe Indian School who spoke about language revival in New Mexico and presentations by the Youth Champions; nine young people who each spoke about language projects they are working on.

On the Wednesday evening of the event the famous Australia's Got Language was held with 12 acts taking to the stage. The show included outstanding performances of song, dance, poetry and comedy.

The summit enables discussions around projects, products and equipment to do with language and technology both nationally and internationally. Participants networked and collaborated on important issues at the forefront of the field. Puliima provides a stage to share successes and challenges while being reminded of the strength contained within the bigger movement dedicated to preserving and celebrating language. The word 'puliima' means 'making voice' in Awabakal language from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie where the Puliima conference started in 2007.

To download factsheets from the Meeting Point Project click here

To download the FREE app Walking on Country developed in the KIWA SLAM workshop visit the VACL App Store here

Don't have access to an iPad or iPhone? See videos of the app Walking on Country in each language at VACL's vimeo site here

Scroll down to see video and image gallery

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Monday, 15 September 2014 12:50

The exciting tale of the WANALA conference

Earlier in September our very own Executive Officer Paul Paton, Project Officer Mandy Nicholson and Board Member Brendan Kennedy had the privilege of attending the WANALA (Western Australia and Northern Aboriginal Language Alliance) Biennial Conference.

The three day conference held in Broome connected linguists, language specialists and language centres from around the state and the nation, providing them with the opportunity to share knowledge, resources, acquire skills and collaborate on ways of working together in remote and difficult contexts.

This year’s conference was full of exciting workshops focused on engaging youth in language and learning, developing strategies around training and meaningful employment in the language domain, and workshopping sessions on technology and multimedia formats.

Mandy shared insight on what she gained from the conference:

She says that the range of different workshops and excursions she attended at the conference helped her develop useful skills for current language projects at VACL and language work in the future.

The workshops taught her techniques for filming successful interviews out on country, which will help her in a film project she is currently working on. Mandy saw examples of online language dictionaries, and learnt how languages were catalogued before computers which "would be great to use for when you're out on the field". Mandy was glad to hear from a range of youth language workers, as "some were fluent in about seven languages and some were like me and Aunty Fay [VACL Project Officer], translating sentences and grammar, working with languages that no-one speaks fluently". 

Mandy, Brendan and Paul were also lucky enough to tour Broome and the Yawuru Country as part of the conference, with local Yawuru guides, to learn about the traditional and modern history of the land and sample local bush tucker - yum!

Thank you to Nyamba Buru Yawuru for providing the beautiful photos of the conference below.

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