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Victorian Aboriginal Languages

Resources

Curriculum area-specific resources have been developed to support teachers implementing the curriculum, organised by 'Help me plan', 'Help me find a teaching resource' and 'Help me assess'.

Overview

Victoria is home to many Aboriginal languages. Linguistically speaking, there are eleven language groups, classified according to their general location or, in instances where this is difficult, language name: Western Victoria, Bunganditj, Warrnambool, Colac, Wathawurrung, Central Victoria, Yorta Yorta/Bangerang, Yabula Yabula, Dhudhuroa, Pallanganmiddang (Waywurru), and Gippsland. Culturally, there are at least 38 groups. For more information, see the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages (VACL) website.

Most Victorian Aboriginal Languages are reclamation languages. Reclamation languages are languages no longer spoken on a daily basis, and whose reconstruction depends heavily on historical written sources, and, in a few cases, audio tapes. Aboriginal community members might remember and use some words, but revival requires more than referring to local Community members' knowledge. People with special skills for language reclamation, like linguists, can help communities to reconstruct some of the words and grammatical features of the language using these old sources, and assist in the development of new words for new concepts, such as electricity. As such, reclamation languages have greatly varying amounts of information relating to the language's words, grammar and songs. More information on language reclamation can be found on the VCAA website.

Reconstructing words and grammatical structures is only one aspect of the reclamation process for Aboriginal people. Languages need to be placed in a cultural context, and this requires a combination of linguistic, ethnographic, geological, anthropological, cartographic and archaeological analyses. In order to recognise the associations inherent in each word, this multi-disciplinary approach must be informed by the Aboriginal community to whom the language belongs. Aboriginal language research can assist in the revival of cultural practices, events and ceremonies, all of which contribute to the strengthening of Aboriginal communities.

Victorian Aboriginal Languages can only be taught after permission is given by the language's Traditional Owners/Custodians. There are three sets of strict protocols around teaching an Aboriginal language or culture. School staff should read the following:

The Victorian Aboriginal Languages curriculum is based on the revival language learner pathway from the Australian Curriculum's Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

In the Victorian Curriculum F–10, Victorian Aboriginal Languages are organised under two interrelated strands, Communicating and Understanding, which are further divided into sub-strands. It has one learning sequence, Foundation to Level 10, with Achievement Standards at Foundation to Level 2, Levels 3 to 6, and Levels 7 to 10.

The Languages curriculum  can be viewed on the Victorian Curriculum F–10 website

Please refer to the general frequently asked questions for Languages.

A PowerPoint presentation outlining the key components of the Victorian Curriculum F–10 Languages is available: Introducing Languages

Contact

Maree Dellora, Languages Curriculum Manager

Phone (03) 9032 1692 or email the Languages Curriculum Manager

Professional associations

Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI)