March 3, 2020

Written by Lakota Gibbons

Kicking off 2020, I had the privilege of receiving the opportunity to take part in an intensive linguistics course in Darwin, focusing on Indigenous languages, at the Charles Darwin University campus.

The course, held in February, was an AILI (Australian Indigenous Languages Institute) scholarship program aimed at Indigenous Australians without University studies under their belt.

This course was a deadly experience for me. My traineeship with the Mobile Language Team has been a valuable starting point and source of support in my language endeavours, although taking part in this linguistics course, and other courses of the like, provides me with the opportunity to dive deeper into my understandings of linguistics. This is such a vital part of the work that I am doing and the work that I hope to do in the future.

Throughout the course I was able to connect with other language workers from around Australia and share some of our language together. I really valued this experience in particular, understanding other languages brought out new perspectives and understandings of my own language, which was something I didn’t expect to walk away with.

The course was relevant, having a focus on Indigenous language instead of linguistics in general, and we had an incredible lecturer, Jackie Van Den Boss, who has done great work with the Ngukurr community and speaks a great deal of Kriol.

I gained so much confidence in my ability to understand linguistics jargon throughout the course, and by the end of my time in Darwin I had decided to undertake my diploma in linguistics in 2021. I am anxious about this commitment, but knowledge is power, and I want to be a part of making our way to self determination.

Once I’ve assisted Arabana community to further develop their language programmes I hope to offer linguistic support to other mobs out there, but, one step at a time!

Lakota Gibbons (back, furthest right) at the course with the other attendees and tutors