Where Do We Need to Go From Here?



The Mawng Ngaralk Mawng Language Website

Ruth Singer is an ELDP grantee who works with the languages Mawng, Kunbarlang and Kunwinjku (a variety of Bininj Kunwok). Her website, Mawng Ngaralk Mawng Language, shares documentation of the Mawng, Kunwinjku and Kunbarlang languages in the form of teaching materials, traditional stories, historical narratives, songs, and a Mawng dictionary. This website was initially funded by an Indigenous Languages Support grant from the Australian Government in 2014, and designed by Ruth and Marion Singer with the aim to support the Indigenous languages spoken in the Warruwi Community. Today on the ELAR blog, Ruth has been kind enough to tell us about some of the films on the website.

Map representing the Warruwi Community

Ruth: This video was made not in the field in western Arnhem Land but in Melbourne. Since the start of 2016, high school students from Warruwi have come to Melbourne to attend secondary college. Simone Nangartpu who made this film with me in Melbourne was the third student to come down. She speaks both Mawng and Kunwinjku confidently and decided to make this video about Kunwinjku. This is the first of two video lessons she made about Kunwinjku words for family (the second will be uploaded shortly).

Ruth: This is the main creation story connected to Warruwi, Goulburn Island which is where most Mawng speakers now live. Rosemary tells the story of how the Crow caused a flood which separated the two islands, Warruwi and Weyirra (South and North Goulburn Islands) as previously they were just one big island. The Crow is an important dreamtime being for Mawng speakers and also many other people in Arnhem Land.

This video was made by Grubin Productions for episode one of the series Language matters with Bob Holman.

The director kindly gave donated footage like this which didn’t make it into the final film, so that it could be made accessible to the community. Marion Singer edited the video.

Ruth: In this video Sandra Makurlngu and Jenny Manmurulu, talk about Kunbarlang, a language which mainly older people speak. They still speak this language but more often they speak Mawng, Kunwinjku or English. Jenny Manmurulu who is the senior Indigenous teacher at Warruwi School, speaks about the importance of Kunbarlang and why it still matters so much to all generations, no matter how much they speak it. There is currently an ELDP major funded project on Kunbarlang which these two people are very involved with, led by Isabel O’Keeffe (much material already archived at ELAR on it) -this is the third ELDP project involving Kunbarlang!

This video was also made from Language Matters footage and was edited by Carly Pettiona.

Storytellers on Mawng website

To learn more about Ruth’s work and the Mawng and Kunbarlang languages, you can visit Ruth’s deposit pages on ELAR, found here and here, and also the Mawng Ngaralk Mawng Language website. You can also follow the online presence for the Mawng Ngaralk (Mawng Language) community on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @ngaralk to be notified about updates to the website.

Blog post by Ruth Singer


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