Speaking Gathang again PDF Print E-mail

Children Dancing at the Book Launch
Children Dancing at the Book Launch
The Muurrbay (meaning ‘white fig tree’ in the Gumbaynggirr language) Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative in Nambucca Heads, NSW, continues to be a shining light for language practise and celebration in this country. Staff and students there are leading the way with their world-class publications and real-life language activities.

Jaycent Davis, Aboriginal Community Officer with the North Coast Region of the Department of Education and Training, has been going to the Muurrbay sponsored Gathay language classes, which are being taught by a team including Birrbay man Jeremy Saunders and Many Rivers Aboriginal Language Centre teacher-linguist, Julie Long. Says Jason, “Three important things were taken from the Biripi people when the missionaries ruled our lands; Language,

Dance and Song. First the language was banned. This meant the dance could not be supported by language and song could not be heard to accompany the dance. Bringing back the native tongue is a breakthrough for the Biripi people. It will strengthen our relationship with tradition, empower us with the knowledge of another language and give us pride to know that it has always been sitting at the back of our tongue ready to be awakened. Thank you for the opportunity to learn my language, I never thought that this would happen in my lifetime. Thank you to all of those people that have placed valuable time and effort into believing that it could be a reality. You all are truly amazing!!”.

Respect to you Jaycent and well done, AGAIN, the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture

Cooperative!

Image:
Children dancing in celebration at the launch of the book ‘A grammar and dictionary of Gathang: the language of the Birrbay, Guringay and Warrimay’ by Amanda Lissarrague and published by the Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Cooperative