Why preserving language is important

4th Jun 2019

The joint winner of Australia’s premier award for achievement in teaching languages other than English has spoken of how quickly endangered languages can disappear and why it is important to hold onto them.

Teacher and linguist, Christian Brother Stephen Morelli and Sophia Mung, a Gija woman from Purnululu (East Kimberley, WA), are the joint winners of the the Patji-Dawes Award.

Brother Stephen worked closely with Aboriginal communities on the mid-north coast of NSW for over 30 years to revive and teach the Gumbaynggirr language.

Brother Stephen compiled a dictionary and grammar of Gumbaynggirr, co-developed courses up to Certificate III level, and co-edited the Gumbaynggirr Yuludarla Jandaygam Gumbaynggirr Dreaming Story Collection.

Photo - Dynamics of Language