The overview of this learning area also refers to the number of different languages and dialects spoken in Australia, including Aboriginal English and Yumplatok, and that “these languages may have different writing systems and oral traditions … These languages can be used to enhance enquiry and understanding of English literacy” (ACARA, 2015). While Yumplatok is spoken in the Torres Strait Islands and therefore outside the geographic boundaries of the Living Archive, the Kriol language is strongly represented in this resource. An understanding of the existence and significance of Kriol will inform any readings of Kriol texts within the archive (see for example the references listed at Hammarstrom, Forkel, Haspelmath & Bank, n.d.). Kriol is distinct from Aboriginal English (Eades, n.d.), and has a significant body of literature, mostly created through the bilingual program at Barunga School. Since Kriol uses much English vocabulary, is one of the more accessible Indigenous languages. Teachers can use Kriol resources to investigate the differences between written and spoken English, since Kriol uses a more phonetic spelling of largely English words (e.g. ‘woda’ for ‘water,’ ‘lilgel’ for ‘little girl’, etc.). Some of the Kriol ‘instant readers’ or ‘experience readers’ are accessible to teachers and students interested in investigating the nature of Kriol, with more complex texts also available.
Further exploration of the Living Archive can point to the storytelling traditions (oral narrative, song, art, dance) as well as contemporary literature of Indigenous peoples. Reading through English translations of many of the stories gives a flavour of many of the storytelling techniques, and affords interesting opportunities for exploring different writing genres. The preface to a story from northeast Arnhem Land states “Narratives from this region … are typically characterised by dramatic turns of phrase, attention to vivid or memorable detail and a sense that the truth is recreated each time the story is told” (Devlin, in Yunupingu, 1981). Since many features of oral storytelling can be lost in the reduction to writing, some stories in the archive include representations of prosodic information – for example, Munuŋgurr (1982) includes instances of “Wä-a-a-y” (where “Wäy” means something like “Hey!”) and “marrtjinana-a-a-a-” (where “marrtjina” means “walk”) to indicate intonation on the word.
Taken from Bow, C. (2016). Using authentic language resources to incorporate Indigenous knowledges across the Australian Curriculum. Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts, 20, 20–39. Available from http://www.cdu.edu.au/northern-institute/lcj/10.18793/LCJ2016.20.03
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