9 July 2015 | General Interest
The technology used in the new talking book from a University of Queensland researcher is an important tool to help preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages for generations to come.
Elders Biddy Wavehill and Violet Wadrill from the Gurindji community in the Northern Territory have worked with Dr Felicity Meakins, linguist with the University of Queensland’s School of Languages and Cultures, to produce Kawarla: How to Make a Coolamon.
The talking book uses technology that allows readers to play audio files through their smartphones, combining multimedia accessibility with extensive language documentation.
“The audio is linked to the book’s text through QR codes, which can be played through smartphones, allowing the reader to hear the words as they were spoken,” Dr Meakins said.
“It means that Gurindji elders will continue to be heard long after they pass away, and younger generations will still have access to their knowledge.
“Most Indigenous languages were traditionally only spoken, not written, which means developing a book like this will bring new life and longevity to the language, history and culture of the Gurindji people.”
Only one quarter of the Indigenous languages once spoken across the country still remain, making finding new avenues to preserve these languages all the more important.
To learn more about Kawarla visit the University of Queensland website.
For more information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, visit the SNAICC page dedicated to Connection to Language.