An introduction to the languages of Aboriginal Australia that explains their distinctive features accessibly for readers who have no previous experience with learning another language, and shows how language reflects traditional culture.
'A must read for all who would like to understand the languages and culture of Indigenous Australians.' Dr Ernie Grant, Elder of the Jirrbal nation
When Captain Cook landed at Botany Bay, about 250 distinct languages were spoken across the continent. Yet Australian Indigenous languages actually share many common features.
Bob Dixon has been working with elders to research Australian languages for half a century, and he draws on this deep experience to outline the common features. He provides a straightforward introduction to the sounds, word building, and wide-ranging vocabulary of Indigenous languages, and highlights distinctive grammatical features. He explains how language is related to culture, including kinship relationships, gender systems, and naming conventions.
With examples from over 30 languages and anecdotes illustrating language use, and avoiding technical terms, Australia's Original Languages is the indispensable starting point for anyone interested in learning about Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages.
'Written in an accessible, easy to read style, Professor Dixon's new book is an informative and entertaining introduction to Australia's "original" languages.' Dr Joe Blythe, Department of Linguistics, Macquarie University
R. M. W. Dixon is a Professor of Linguistics at James Cook University and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. He has been conducting immersion fieldwork since 1963 and is author of The Languages of Australia, co-author of Australian Aboriginal Words in English, and author of grammars and dictionaries for five Indigenous languages.