Press Release - Mudburra and Jingulu to English Dictionaries Launched

Posted on: 13 November 2019, 7:24pm

Mudburra and Jingulu Language groups announce the Mudburra to English Dictionary, JAMPA - Jingulu and Mudburra Plants and Animals; and Birrka marnini Making things Mudburra book launch.

These books are the result of long-term collaboration between Mudburra and Jingulu language speakers and a team of linguists. Mudburra and Jingulu Language is spoken by people in the Elliott and around the Barkly Regions of the Northern Territory.

A team of linguists led by Rob Pensalfini (The University of Queensland), Felicity Meakins (Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellow), Glenn Wightman (Department of Environment and Natural Resources, NT Govt.) and various other groups worked with Mudburra and Jingulu language contributors from Elliott Region communities to document their languages in the form of a Mudburra dictionary, plants and animals in Jingulu and Mudburra and Making things Mudburra.
The books and dictionary will be officially launched at the Elliott Primary School on 20 November by Elliott Community with the dictionary compilers, Mudburra and Jingulu Language contributors, Papulu Apparr-kari aboriginal Corporation (The Language Centre), local employers and language teachers.

Rob says, “We hope these books will keep the Mudburra and Jingulu Languages strong, and be used as resources — by Mudburra and Jingulu Language speakers who want to become literate, by learners of the language, and by educators and interpreters.”   Creating a dictionary is a systematic process of native speakers and linguists working closely together. The team records conversations and classifies the words and their meanings. Karan Hayward states, “The Mudburra and Jingulu Languages have very few resources compared to other languages in the Barkly Region Australia. It has had an advantage that it does have a bilingual school programs in Elliott and Newcastle Waters Schools, therefore resources have been made for in school learning.”

Felicity adds, “This dictionary is important because it presents the Mudburra and Jingulu language in a consistent, written form. This enables Mudburra and Jingulu Language to be used in school curricula, in government agency documents, in legal proceedings, in community signage, in guides to official procedures, and in other contexts where currently only English is used. A quality dictionary such as this one also gives the Mudburra and Jingulu language status alongside English as one of the official languages in its region.” 

Each entry in the dictionary includes the key word in Mudburra Language with its English definition, with example sentences in both Mudburra Language and English, and with cross-references to related words. The dictionary also includes explanations of Mudburra Language grammar and pronunciation; a guide for using the dictionary; tables of pronouns and word endings; maps; a discussion of Mudburra Language kinship; an index of scientific terms for plants and animals; and an extensive English to Mudburra Language finder list.

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Assoc. Prof. Felicity Meakins, 07 3365 3114 

Ms Karan Hayward 0408621382

Rob Pensalfini