Australia Study - Essay Example

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Australia is reportedly famous as a distant island with a very rich cultural background as it has been home to a diverse group of colonizers belonging to different part of the world, and having enriched ethnic outlook. However it is surprisingly to note that even though many language habitats were sustained by that part of the world, which were undisturbed and stable for a long period of time, Australian communities were never totally isolated from each other in terms of speech…
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Download file to see previous pages They were a traditional race; caves and rocks were their temporary abode. During the era of pre-European settlement in Australia, according to Crawford (2003 p. 38), they were approximately 500 000 Aboriginals, speaking about 2000-2500 different languages living in groups which had distinct languages and culture, who identified themselves with the language they spoke. When the Indonesians (Macassans) came to the shore of this remote island, the brought with them goods: knives, blades and fishing nets to trade for the local cucumbers and other goods. In this process, the Aboriginal picked up new words from the Indonesians and changes were inflicted on their dialect. (Crawford, 2003 p. 43) On 26th January 1788, England made its first settlement in Australia at Sydney Cove at Port Jackson (Walsh and Yallop, 1993, p. 33); this marked the beginning of a drastic change in linguistic background and the cultural heritage of the indigenous people of the island. According to the authors, it was made a high priority matter to establish a channel of communication between the colonizers and the aboriginals and subsequently measures were taken to enhance the linguistic interaction between the two parties. Banting (2002, p. 8-10) states that the impact of British Colonization in the Aboriginal land was colossal, many aboriginals, he says, were killed in the battles defending their land from the British or succumbed to the diseases brought on by the colonizers. He further stated that the natives who survived were taken prisoners and were forced to work for the British. Furthermore, the Tasmanian Aboriginals were completely wiped off the center of the earth by the European settlements. Crawford (2003, p. 43) states that the colonizers settled in the island by introducing a new language and a whole set of new technologies to the local inhabitants, as a result of which the lifestyle as well mindsets were manipulated to suit the requirements of the existing situation. In this way, the rich cultural and spiritual background of the aboriginals received a severe blow and most of their traditions and rituals were eradicated in the process. Moreover, Crawford reveals that during the 1800’s, the Aboriginal children were placed in missionaries where they were only permitted to speak in English as per the British administration policy, which contributed, heavily to the loss of the traditional language. There was a Gold Rush in Australia in 1851 when gold was discovered in the region. Almost 700,000 emigrants from United States, China, England, Poland and parts of Europe flocked the country to find their fortune (Banting, 2002, p. 10). This must have contributed to the establishment of English as the language of expression in Australia since the new emigrants from different outlook would have been in need of a common mode of communication and due to their proficiency in English, the language would have further reinforced its root in the Australian soil in this process. Leitner (2004, p. 54) points out factors that accelerated the destruction of aboriginal habitat. He is of the opinion that intermingling of traditional multilingualism with the ‘intruding languages” was a chief reason of the demise of the ancient culture. Secondly, he ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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