Issue 9
Monday, 05 November 2018
Charles Darwin University
Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies Greg Williams
Senior Lecturer in Indigenous Studies Greg Williams

Indigenous language school open for business

By Patrick Nelson

Charles Darwin University has opened its enrolment books in the lead up to a summer school program designed to increase awareness and understanding of endangered Indigenous languages.

Senior Indigenous Studies Lecturer Greg Williams said three workshops were on offer through the Australian Indigenous Languages Institute (AILI) at the CDU Sydney Centre from January 14-25 next year.

“We are offering an Introduction to Yolngu Languages and Culture, a beginner’s course to Gamilaraay (an east Australian language) and an Introduction to Linguistics for Indigenous Languages,” Mr Williams said.

“We are encouraging people who work in the field of Indigenous languages, or who aspire to, to enrol in one of the three intensives.”

Mr Williams said that time was ticking for some Indigenous languages.

“Most people working at universities on Indigenous languages are non-Indigenous, and some who have been active for many years in language revival and maintenance for specific languages are looking to the next generation to continue this vital work.

“It is critical for Australia to support and train Indigenous staff to lead the next generation of language work. These courses provide an ideal opportunity for Indigenous language workers to develop their skills beyond the various short courses or VET qualifications.

“Higher level learning and research in the languages will open the way for innovative work in language teaching methodology and cultural development, which needs to be led by those with direct connection to Indigenous languages.”

The Australian Indigenous Languages Institute draws together resources from Charles Darwin University, the Australian National University and the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education.

“In time we hope the Institute will create more opportunities for Indigenous language learning, involving courses and staff from many tertiary institutions.”

Mr Williams said the offer of five travel scholarships, funded by the Australian Government’s Indigenous Languages and Art program, had generated strong demand from a high-quality field of candidates.

“Scholarship applications are now closed. We will undertake a process of evaluation before drawing up a shortlist and making offers,” he said.

For more information about the summer school study units, visit: W: