Ngunawal Language Project

Thursday, 23 March 2017
Dr Doug Marmion

The language of the Australian Capital Territory, Ngunawal, has been ’sleeping’ and not in daily use for over a century. Over the last five years linguists from AIATSIS have been working with the Ngunawal people to revitalise their language. This presentation will describe recent progress in the Ngunawal language revitalisation project. We will discuss the use of historical materials to reconstruct Ngunawal, to develop a technical grammar and dictionary, and materials to support the community’s ambition to bring the language back into daily use.
We also discuss the many benefits flowing from broad community involvement in the project and how a shared, optimistic vision of the linguistic future has emerged and is drawing in more participants from across the Ngunawal community. 
Finally, we outline recent developments in the use of words and phrases from the Ngunawal language in the public sphere and how the position of Ngunawal as the language of Australia’s capital expands its role, with politicians and other high-profile individuals wanting to make public use of the language.