More and more Australians are embracing the idea that our first languages should be taught in schools. Faced with high levels of language endangerment and loss, everyone’s hoping for a quick fix. John Hobson takes a look at what works and what doesn’t. The conclusion: it’s a complex matter. Language teaching requires not only time and hard work but, most of all, well-trained teachers.READ MORE
Earlier today a number of news agencies (perhaps all of them, ever) reported on a video, in which Education Minister Christopher Pyne appears to call Manager of Opposition Business Tony Burke the c-bomb after Burke interrupted his speech. Here’s a video of the incident: The minister’s office quickly came out and stated that Pyne had [...]READ MORE
It’s that old conservative chestnut. We’ve lost our way. We’re falling into an amoral, amorphous, or—in the case of linguistic conservatism—ungrammatical purgatory. But fear not! Redemption is at hand! Just some simple alterations to your accent, to reflect centuries-outdated pronunciation preserved in an obscure, inefficient orthography, and you’ll be saved! It’s this style of peevology [...]READ MORE
In Ngukurr this week, Greg Dickson discovered that not everyone is impressed by Nigel Scullion’s $46 million Remote School Attendance Strategy. Either that or it’s just good fun to get out there and write some graffiti in Kriol.READ MORE
As the unpopular shark bait and shoot program continues in Western Australia, fisheries minister Troy Buswell has defended the policy, saying that it isn’t a cull, but a ‘localised shark mitigation strategy’. Lochlan Morrissey suspects Buswell learned the art of political euphemism from the best.READ MORE
Gordon Peake and Piers Kelly write:
With allegations of Australian chicanery during the Timor Sea negotiations, a definitional dilemma emerges for the media: just what is the correct name of our northern neighbor? Is it East Timor or Timor-Leste? The ABC and the Guardian seem to working off different style guides on the question. In the main, journos tends to use the former with talking heads more frequently opting for the latter.
The ‘-Leste’ part is a Portuguese-derived term meaning ‘East’ and its position after the word ‘Timor’ is consistent with the rules of both Portuguese and the national language Tetun. Why then, is it becoming habitual to use this term in English-language contexts? After all, we tend not to talk about going on holidays to Italia or Deutschland for which well-established and better-understood English counterparts are available.
It turns out that there are good reasons for this.READ MORE
It’s been a helluva year so far. Three prime ministers, devastating bushfires, Clive Palmer. The Australian National Dictionary Centre wants help from the public to decide on a Word of the Year for 2013. It doesn’t need to have been coined in Australia and it doesn’t even need to be new. What they’re looking for [...]READ MORE
First, they rejected Gonski because too much funding would go to remote community schools. Now, the NT Education department is cutting positions that are key in supporting Aboriginal students who don’t speak English at home. Greg Dickson demonstrates the benefit that such support positions can bring and argues that the NT Government’s handling of education could easily cause the much-discussed “gap” to widen rather than narrow.READ MORE