Northern Territory languages given a helping helping hand from German car manufacturer PDF Print E-mail

The project focuses on five endangered languages of the VRD area - Jam i nj ung, Ngaliwurru, Ngarinyman, Bilinarra and Gurindji.The main aim of the project is to record, transcribe, translate and archive the languages for the future.Aspects of the languages being recorded include accounts of significant sites, contact history as well as traditional and contemporary everyday life. Efforts are also being made to produce dictionaries and grammars for Jaminjung, Ngaliwurru, Gurindji and Ngarinyman.

Leading the project is German linguistics professor Eva Schultze-Berndt (University of Graz,Austria), who has been working in the region for over a decade. Others involved in the project include linguist and anthropologist Patrick McConvell and two international PhD students. Felicity Meakins is a linguist involved in community development aspects of the project.

She has been working in the region since 2001 and will be collaborating with community members to produce educational materials.This work will result in the production of language videos and other materials and provide training for local community members in areas of language work.

"It is an exciting opportunity. Elders are keen for the project to happen. This funding provides a real opportunity to work with some of the last speakers of these languages". Ms Meakins previously worked for Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation (or Katherine Regional Language Centre) and spent several years working with community members in schools on language revitalisation programs."The results of this project will make a significant contribution to these school programs."

If you would like more information, contact :

Diwurruwurru-jaru Aboriginal Corporation:
Greg Dickson, Linguist 08 8975 4362.
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Volkswagen Foundation Project:
Felicity Meakins, Linguist/Community Development
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Also: www.volkswagen-stiftung.de,
www.mpi.nl/dobes