Learning the local language

Starting over again

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  • Published 20170124
  • ISBN: 9781925498295
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

IT WAS IN a Melbourne museum that I realised I didn’t know the traditional name for the area in South Australia where I’d grown up. I was leaning over a large map of Victoria carved in wood and displayed on a low table. On it the boundaries of the state’s thirty-eight Aboriginal language groups were marked out. Within each one was a button. Touch it and a voice pronounced the name.

I worked my way around the map, tapping each button. Then I zeroed in on the Melbourne area, where there are five language groups: Woiwurrung, Boonwurrung, Wathaurong, Taungurung, Dja Dja Wurrung. I’d tap one, listen, say the name under my breath, tap it again, listen, say the name again, move onto the next one, do the same, over and over.

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