Published July 2, 2020
Featuring Sheree speaking Kalkutungu, an extinct language spoken by Aboriginal Australians. From the Kalkatungic branch of the Pama-Nyungan language family, it is being reconstructed through records of the last native speakers. Self-filmed by Sheree Blackley in Australia. Sheree is speaking Kalkutungu, also commonly spelled Kalkatungu, which is a language of the Aboriginal Kalkadoon people of the Mount Isa area in Queensland. The Kalkadoon people had a complex trading system with other Indigenous people in Australia previous to European colonization of Australia, and Kalkatungu was often used as a trade language prior to first contact in 1861. Kalkutungu was largely lost following a 6-year conflict fought between the European settlers and police and the Aboriginal tribe. This conflict culminated in a massacre where many Kalkadoon people were killed by musket fire in 1884; this event was enough to devastate the tribe and its linguistic culture. There were not many survivors who still lived in the tribal lands, so the linguistic group was dispersed and English often replaced the Kalkatungu as the primary language for commerce and communication. The grammar and spoken variety of this language was not written, so it is being reconstructed through collection of as many linguistic samples as possible from the area and comparison with similar areal languages. Barry Blake, an Australian linguist at La Trobe University Melbourne, is known for collecting data from the last living native speakers to determine what language family Kalkutungu belonged to, whether or not there is some single proto-language ancestor for Aboriginal languages in Queensland, and how lost languages could be accurately reconstructed with limited data; this is an ongoing process. This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license. To download a copy, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.