Dreamtime a reality as ancient language returns

Story by Michael Blaxland, TheSun Herald, 20th January 2008

The extinct Awabakal Languages's strong rhythms struck local Aboriginal Daryn McKenny as he revived ancient words over the past eight years...

"I would love to hear an original speaker as the cadence would be beautiful," he said.

The Awabakal people roamed the land of present-day Newcastle and Lake Macquarie.

McKenny and Dianna Newman, both with the Arwarbukarl Cultural Resource Association, reclaimed words and grammar and now put sentences together.

"Next we'll take the spoken language to today's Awabakal people," McKenny said. "Language is our cultural identity, the way to express our dreaming."

The Cardiff-based group was runner-up in a contest run by Microsoft late last year.

With Australia's 250 plus Indigenous languages the world's most "at risk", the pair developed computer software and training so that remote communities could revive their languages.

They're now training elders who have never touched a computer in 20 Aboriginal communities between Newcastle and Weipa, Cape York.

This story appeared in the Sun Herald, whilst some Aboriginal terminology and sentences we would have liked worded differently, it neverless helps get languages on the agenda with the wider community.

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  • Thursday, 05 January 2012