Podcast / Talking Writing: Indigenous Languages

“Traditional language being passed from one generation to another is vital.” — Jacinta Tobin

On 2 April 2019, Writing NSW presented Talking Writing: Indigenous Languages. The panel was chaired by Gamilaroi and Anaiwon playwright Cathy Craigie in discussion with Gamilaraay author and linguist Donna Gayford McLaren, Gunai poet and children’s book author Kirli Saunders, Darug singer and songwriter Jacinta Tobin, and Yuwaalaraay songwriter Nardi Simpson.

The United Nations has declared 2019 to be the International Year of Indigenous Languages. On the continent of Australia, over 250 unique Indigenous languages were spoken with over 750 dialectical varieties.

“All of these languages are individually unique,” says Donna Gayford McLaren. “You can picture the continent of Australia like you picture the continent of Europe, with different cultural codes and knowledge systems attached to each of these different languages.”

Today, 90% of Indigenous languages are endangered. The panellists offered many insights into current efforts to reclaim traditional languages and nourish healthy speech communities. Discussions traversed the idea of reclamation languages, poetry’s role in language revival, tricky translations, and much more.

You can hear the discussion in our podcast below, or on our Soundcloud.

For full details of the event, click here.

Check out some of our live tweets from the event.


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