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Chapter 9 - Kaurna Language Revival: The Formulaic Method

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 July 2017

Rob Amery
Affiliation:
University of Adelaide
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Summary

… our dream would be to see it a bit of a bilingual language, I mean a duallanguage, where a lot of Kaurna people actually speak English and Kaurnaas well. Now that's the ideal, where I'd like to see Kaurna is actually used asan everyday language not just for tourism or for heritage matters, but for dayto day life.

(Paul Dixon, Chair of KACHA, interview transcript, 21 November 1996)

A revival of Kaurna as a spoken language?

There is a hope and a desire on the part of many Kaurna people to see Kaurna reinstated as a spoken language in the home and the community alongside English. This desire is clearly articulated by a number of Kaurna people at the centre of the revival movement. Jenny Burford questioned Auntie Alice Rigney on this point at length:

JB: So do you think that Kaurna language will be spoken as a first language by future generations of Kaurna people?

AR: Well, that would be the ideal, eh. That's what I would dearly love to see.

JB: So you see it as an ideal. Do you see it as a realistic ideal?

AR: I would like to say yes to that, because there's enough information around … and there's enough good resources, human resources, when you look at the linguist we teach, work with and I think it could be a reality.

(Interview, 29 October 1997)

Lewis O'Brien answers the question even more confidently:

LO'B: Well I want everyone to be able to talk and greet each other in the language and hold conversations and developing it right to its fullest extent. That may take time, but it's worth a go at … And I think people are seeing that it's worth it, to have a go at, for lots of reasons.

JB: So do you see it as your hope that it will eventually be spoken as a first language?

LO'B: Yep, I do. And I think it's important to do that. Because otherwise if you don't, well you may as well go with the flow, and then just be an Australian in the general term.

(Interview with Jenny Burford, 28 October 1997)

Both Auntie Alice and Uncle Lewis have worked with the Kaurna language intensively over a number of years and participated in formal Kaurna language programs.

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Chapter
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Warraparna Kaurna!
Reclaiming an Australian language
, pp. 234 - 249
Publisher: The University of Adelaide Press
Print publication year: 2016

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