Kinship as Multiple Languages Inheritance

    Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference paper presented at Conference (not in Proceedings)


    This paper presents one of many Australian Indigenous approaches to language acquisition and concerns how seriously and faithfully Indigenous empirical inquiry can be taken in academia. Two
    Yolŋu Indigenous lecturers from East Arnhem Land of northern Australia and a non-Indigenous colecturer in a tertiary education context share Yolŋu Aboriginal experiences of language acquisition. This includes understandings of Yolŋu language identity and the ways in which individual Yolŋu infants and children acquire multiple languages, namely the language of one’s patrilineal clan and many different languages of one’s matrilineal clans. In addition, Yolŋu babies are innately born with ancestral languages, songlines, and sacred designs invested by the ancestral beings in particular places. The presenters show how such inherited multiple languages and other cultural constituents warraŋulthirr (start to appear) during growth from childhood to adolescence with the support of kin in both everyday and ceremonial life. Implications drawn from this paper provide some empirical insights into building bridges between Indigenous language communities/owners/teachers and academia where western linguistic theory and philosophy is predominant, universal knowledge is believed to exist, mind and body are considered distinct, and ultimately language is believed to be learnable.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020
    EventAustralian Linguistics Society (ALS) Conference -
    Duration: 1 Jan 2011 → …


    ConferenceAustralian Linguistics Society (ALS) Conference
    Abbreviated titleALS
    Period1/01/11 → …


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