‘Bininj Kunwok’ is the name given to a family of Australian Indigenous languages spoken by around 2000 people in West Arnhem Land, Northern Territory. The name comes from bininj meaning ‘people’ and kunwok meaning ‘language’. Kunwinjku is most common of the Bininj languages, and is the focus of this course.
Charles Darwin University in conjunction with the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre, are pleased to offer this online course teaching the language and culture of the Bininj people.
There are two opportunities to study in 2020
- Delivered fully online
- Designed for complete beginners
- 8 June – 17 July (6 weeks)
- Cost $600 per person
- Expected time commitment 3-4 hours per week
- New topic released each week
- No set lecture times, but will set up opportunities to practise with speakers online via Zoom
- By the end of the course, participants will be able to engage in simple conversations with Bininj, in Kunwinjku language with a strong focus on family connections. Each topic includes vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, reading, cultural information and some activities.
- On completion of certain assessment tasks, participants may be eligible for a digital credential
- This is the first half of the semester course – participation in this course may be credited if you choose to enrol in the semester course later
- Register here: https://webpay.cdu.edu.au/bininjkunwok
- 20 July to 16 October 2020 (12 weeks)
- This is a full university course with compulsory assessment requirements
- Enrol in IAS161 (undergraduate) or IAS549 (postgraduate)
- these are generic language units, once you’ve enrolled you can select your language
- Enrol as part of a Diploma or Bachelor of Arts (undergraduate), or a Graduate Certificate or Master of Arts (postgraduate).
- These flexible programs offer a wide range of units across a range of disciplines, including Indigenous knowledges, creative arts, humanities and social sciences within CDU’s College of Indigenous Futures, Arts and Society.
- CDU has a useful page explaining the enrolment process at https://www.cdu.edu.au/study/essentials/how-to-apply
- Students from other universities can enrol through cross-institutional arrangements – see this page for details.
NOTE: This is the same beginners course that was delivered in 2019 for the first time, with a few minor improvements. No prior language knowledge is required.
Why study Bininj Kunwok?
West Arnhem Land is one of the most culturally important and environmentally significant corners of the Northern Territory. The land extends across multiple landscapes, from saltwater to savanna and freshwater country, and is home to the world heritage listed Kakadu National Park. The Bininj people continue to practise some of their traditional culture, and are internationally renowned for their arts and crafts.
The primary language of most Bininj people is one of the traditional languages of the area, with many people speaking several Indigenous languages, as well as English. Visitors and professionals engaging with Bininj will benefit from knowing some of the language as a means of building connections with Bininj people and understanding the Bininj way of life.
By studying an Indigenous language at university, students can know that they are part of a movement that values Indigenous languages and is working for their continued survival, in the case of ‘strong’ languages, or their re-introduction, in the case of revival languages. What better way to bring about reconciliation than to allow students to experience firsthand the genius of Aboriginal languages with their intricate and complex grammars, complex pronoun systems, complex kinship systems, radically different semantic organization and their ability to adapt and change? (Amery, 2020)
Bininj Kunwok is one of three Indigenous languages taught at CDU – more than any other university in Australia.
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