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.

Opportunities to study in 2021 have not yet been confirmed

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.

For further information:

 

Amery, R. (2020). Teaching Aboriginal languages at university: To what end? In J. Fornasiero (Ed.), Intersections—Proceedings of the 2017 LCNAU colloquium. Adelaide, SA: LCNAU.