Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, Vol 36, No 3 (2013)

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EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE: INVISIBILITY OF ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER CONTACT LANGUAGES IN EDUCATION AND INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE CONTEXTS

Juanita Sellwood, Denise Angelo

Abstract


The language ecologies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Queensland are characterised by widespread language shift to contact language varieties, yet they remain largely invisible in discourses involving Indigenous languages and education. This invisibility – its various causes and its many implications – are explored through a discussion of two creoles which developed in Queensland: Yumplatok (formerly Torres Strait Creole) and Yarrie Lingo. Although both are English lexified and originate in Queensland, they represent different histories and different trajectories of awareness and recognition. The Yumplatok discussion emphasises issues arising from speakers’ own attitudes, including Sellwood’s own lived experiences. The Yarrie Lingo discussion highlights issues arising from its creole–lexifier relationship with (Standard Australian) English. Finally, this paper examines a recently published government language report, highlighting the ways that Indigenous creoles are marginalised: this marginalisation exacerbates their invisibility in mainstream discourse. 

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