Issue 6
Tuesday, 04 August 2020
Charles Darwin University
Yolŋu elders Joy Bulkanhawuy and Brenda Muthamuluwuy
Yolŋu elders Joy Bulkanhawuy and Brenda Muthamuluwuy

Yolŋu short courses to teach Matha (language) and Rom (culture)

By Carl Pfeiffer

People wishing to learn or expand their knowledge of the north-east Arnhem Land language of Yolŋu have enrolled in a series of short courses at Charles Darwin University.

A six-week micro-credential course at introductory level began in late July, followed by a further course available at intermediate level in September.

Students have the opportunity to explore Yolŋu language and culture under the guidance and supervision of Yolŋu elders and lecturers Brenda Muthamuluwuy and Joy Bulkanhawuy, who are from Galiwinku. 

Ms Muthamuluwuy said the courses provided an opportunity for people to learn one of the many Indigenous languages spoken in the Northern Territory.

“The courses are for anyone who wants to learn our Yolŋu language and culture – online or on campus,” she said. 

“It’s important for Balanda (non-Indigenous people) to learn the Yolŋu culture, including the way we communicate and care for our country.

“It will benefit anyone who travels out to Yolŋu country.”

The courses focus on the everyday community version of the language – Gupapuyŋu Dhuwala – and give students a basic grounding in the sounds of the language, grammar and vocabulary.

They also delve into the Yolŋu philosophy of the land and people, as well as Yolŋu kinship practices. 

The micro-credential introductory course began on 20 July, followed by the intermediate course on 7 September. 

For more information, visit