Aboriginal language Gamilaraay offered for the first time at Macquarie Ancient Languages School

Aboriginal language Gamilaraay offered for the first time at Macquarie Ancient Languages School

2019 is the International Year of Indigenous Languages, and for the first time this July (8-12) the Macquarie Ancient Languages School (MALS) is offering an intensive short course in Gamilaraay, an Indigenous language from Northern NSW.

Phil Duncan, member of the Gomeroi / Gamilaroi / Kamilaroi / Gamilarray Nation and Aboriginal Cultural Training Coordinator at Macquarie University, said he is thrilled to have the chance to learn his ancestors’ language.

“One of the holes in a lot of Aboriginal people’s lives is our ability to speak our language. To be afforded the opportunity to learn my language at this University, words can’t express how I feel about it.”

Gamilaraay has been brought back from the brink of extinction over the past few decades, with more courses becoming available for school and university students.

ANU’s Dr John Giacon, one of the key linguistics researchers in Gamilaraay studies, will teach the course at MALS alongside Tracey Cameron from University of Sydney who is a Gamilaraay and Wiradjuri woman, and Priscilla Strasek, who is a Yuwaalaraay/Gamilaraay woman from Lightning Ridge.

The course offers an affordable introduction to Gamilaraay grammar, syntax, phonology, and semantics, as well as spoken conversation. John, Tracey, and Priscilla will also discuss Gamilaraay country and history, the principles of language revival, and how the revival of Gamilaraay is seen by the Gamilaraay people.

“You can’t underestimate the cultural significance of this opportunity. To open it up at a price that is affordable to community is fantastic, and everyone – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – should embrace it,” said Phil.

“The creation of this course is testimony to what can come about when you leave your preconceived positions at the door and come with a wondering mind, respecting one another and talking about how to get the best outcome.”

The Macquarie Ancient Languages School is run by Macquarie University’s Department of Ancient History, and offers short courses twice a year (January and July) in ancient Greek, Latin (July only), Egyptian, Hebrew, and Akkadian, supporting the interests of university students, secondary school teachers, and the general public.

Associate Professor Trevor Evans, Director of MALS said, “Since 1983 we have been offering opportunities to study ancient languages, providing a unique form of access to the ancient cultures they reflect.

“It is important to us to celebrate also the ancient languages and cultures of Australia. For some years we have been offering a general introduction to Australian Aboriginal languages, and we are excited about developing that initiative further by including an introduction to Gamilaraay in partnership with Phil Duncan and our tutors John Giacon, Tracey Cameron, and Priscilla Strasek.”

Find out more and join Phil on the course here: https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/macquarie-ancient-languages-winter-week-2019-tickets-59518262726

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