Puliima 2011 Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum

The State Library of Queensland recently hosted Puliima 2011 Indigenous Languages and Technology Forum from 10-13 May. The Forum was well-attended with participants drawn from across Australia as well as International visitors from the First nations of Canada and the USA including Hawaii.

State Library’s Des Crump provides an overview of Indigenous Languages Resources and Activities available at the State Library of Queensland.

Puliima is an opportunity to showcase the use of technology in the documentation, preservation and promotion of languages and the 2011 Forum was no exception. The program featured plenary/keynote sessions in the morning sessions followed by concurrent workshops organised around 4 strands of community, linguistics, technology and education.

Some of the highlights included:·

  • Indigenous Languages Institute (US First Nations) –   presented a session on a self-paced/self study language pilot program being used for Navajo language; the young students and the teacher who presented highlighted the program’s success in attracting/retaining young people in language.·
  • Sharing Culture online – Gadj & Jodie Maymuru talked about their software program for the teaching/learning of culture and how it also can be used for language work and the production of language resources.·
  • Miromaa 4 – Daryn McKenny launched the latest version of this innovative language software and highlighted the newest features; while on the optional Friday program,  Jedda Priman ran a training session which was well-attended by conference participants including IKC Coordinators from Injinoo and Pormpuraaw . ·
  • Muurrbay/Many Rivers Language Centre – presented a session on their new methodology for teaching language; this approach blends Total Physical Response (TPR) with Accelerated Second Language Acquisition (ASLA). The end result is an oral-based strategy using language, images and non-verbals via a minimal list of everyday words.  Michael Jarrett gave an impressive demonstration lesson that featured audience participation. Muurrbay’s approach is based on the work of Professor Greymourning from First Nations US – the ASLA approach appears to be very successful and producing results in language teaching.·         
  • Trade Displays – several information/trade displays were set up in kuril dhagun over the course of the conference and attracted plenty of interest; Printing Asia proved very popular with their Language Pen and the Gambara Gamu Biyu interactive Body Chart. State Library of Queensland will be distributing copies of the resource to IKCs, Language Centres and community language workers in the near future.

Des Crump and Simon Farley

Queensland Memory - State Library of Queensland

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"Mina Koey Esso" - ( Very Big Thank You) to all involved in the amazingly informative Puliima 2011 Conference!!!! I have been so enpowered, inspired and encouraged to continue maintaining and preserving language through as many practical means as possibile. Every presentation was relevant and provided practical tools and methods to explore pathways to work to keep our traditional languages alive and strong that are both realisitc and achievable within our respective involvment in this most important foundational aspect of cultural identity.What pierced the depths of my soul - apart from how vital the information presented @ Puliima was to alll who had attended,was the personal realisation of how fragile my own mother tongue was against the international setting. Seeing and hearing other international cultures in their struggles and efforts to keep traditional languages alive, ignited within me a strong sense of responsibility to continue to do my part - to speak, teach and preserve language with the hopes that it won't weaken on my watch...especially in my children.I grew up learning to speak my mother tongue out of survial, unforunately, nowadays it is spoken as an option...However, because of the practical tools & networking gained from Puliima, I have a strong desire and clear direction to get language programs happening in our community, especially with the youth.. they are the ones that carry the hopes of our elders and ancestors gone on before...The ancestors have been gone for many generations, however, through the means of storytelling and other important means of language preservation, their voices continue to speak forth from the dust - Bringing to our remembrance the rich culture, heritage and invaluable teachings they have left for generations to take heed to and follow...Sharon Phineasa,Kalaw Kawaw Ya speaker, dialect of the Top Western Torres Strait Islands