It is a special privilege to be able to learn one of the languages of Australia’s first peoples. We hope that you recognise this opportunity and dedicate yourself to learning what it has to teach you.
We acknowledge the traditional custodians across the lands on which we live and work, and we pay our respects to Elders both past and present.
The Bininj (people) Kunwok (language) is spoken by around 2000 people in West Arnhem Land in Australia’s Northern Territory. The specific language in focus here is Kunwinjku, with additional notes included on Kundjeyhmi, which is one of the traditional languages of Kakadu National Park.
This course has been developed under the authority of the Bininj Kunwok Regional Language Centre, and we acknowledge their contributions, their authority and their connection to the country, language and culture which is presented in this course.
Yekke is the Bininj name for the early dry season, usually around May-June, when the humidity drops and the water lilies come out and seasonal burning begins.
A note on terminology:
This course is divided into 6 units. Each unit is made up of several lessons, such as grammar, reading, pronunciation, etc. Each unit covers one week of work. You don’t have to do all the lessons in one sitting, but you should do them in order, and make sure you cover all the lessons for each unit. You may need to revisit some lessons more than once.
Each unit has a lesson called Activity, which is your homework for that unit. If you are planning to continue to the semester unit, or to earn a digital credential, you are strongly encouraged to submit your work for feedback.
This course began as a research project in 2016 with funding from the federal government’s Office of Learning and Teaching (now PELTHE). A team from Charles Darwin University worked with the Bininj Kunwok Language Project Reference Group to develop a 4-unit online course as a proof of concept for the idea of a Digital Language Shell to enable Indigenous authorities to teach their language and culture on their own terms to university students. The project was proposed in response to the limited opportunities for university students to learn Indigenous languages in Australia.
The short course option is offered sporadically for professionals working in the area, and others interested in learning an Indigenous Australian language.
Bininj Kunwok Language Project Reference Group:
- Rev Lois Nadjamerrek
- Jill Nganjmirra
- Seraine Namundja
- Donna Nadjamerrek
- Andrew Manakgu
- Julie Narndal
- Roseanne Nawirridj
- Frank Nadjalaburnburn
- Cheryl Garnarradj
- Dell Hunter
- Cathy Bow
- Marcella Maloney
- Dr Murray Garde, ANU
- Andy Peart
Others who provided assistance at various stages:
- Professor Michael Christie (CDU)
- Professor Jane Simpson (ANU)
- Dr Susy Macqueen (ANU)
- Professor Gillian Wigglesworth (UniMelb)
- Professor Steven Bird (CDU)
- Dr Maïa Ponsonnet (UWA)
- Dr Steve Etherington for permission to use material from his Kunwinjku Kunwok textbook
- Barbara White (CDU)
- Greg Williams (CDU)
- Pat Josse (CDU)
- Hina Siddiqui
- Michael Lawrence-Taylor
- Alexandra Marley
- Danny Kennedy
- Corey Spink
- All the volunteer learners who participated in the pilot project in 2016
- All the ANU Language Teaching 2018 students who contributed their feedback
- All students from CDU and ANU who participated in the first delivery of the full semester unit in 2019