Many of us are unaware that there are people who have lived in this country for generations but they still cannot speak English. These folks have lived here for more than 10 generations, possibly over 300,000 generations. Some of these obviously dinky-die Auzzies cannot speak a word of the language of their oppressors. Most can speak at least five local Australian languages way before they take on the utterly foreign tongue of the dominant culture of the day.

When migrants come to our shores we like to advise them that learning the language of the locals will make their life easier.

This is common sense. It is also backed by empirical evidence that if you fail to learn the language of the local culture this can lead to misunderstandings. More often than not, these misunderstandings lead to conflict. Sometimes these conflicts can lead to wholesale slaughter. This is exactly what happened when the first immigrants arrived on our shores, unannounced, uninvited and unwelcome. In their arrogance these uninvited guests refused to learn the language of their hosts, consequently missing out on a wealth of knowledge and wisdom about the country they had chosen to conquer. Refusing to learn the language of their hosts also meant they were unaware they were dealing with a highly developed and sophisticated culture that had figured out how to flourish in a volatile environment that can be extremely harsh at times, especially during an ice age. Rather than ask for advice from the locals, they chose to shoot them. They then set about plundering the defenceless environment, slowly but surely weakening the environments ability to thrive. That wilful ignorance on the part of the invaders persists to this day, exacerbated by a stubborn refusal to learn the language of our hosts. On the contrary, we demand that our hosts learn our language, and have gone to great lengths over the years to dissuade them from speaking their own languages.

Having failed in our concerted attempt at genocide, we are now having a go at cultural genocide. In the N.T. to this day the argument flops back and forth between teaching in the utterly foreign language of English, or using the language of the students themselves.

It is not beholden upon our hosts to learn English in order to be understood. You will never fully understand any of them this way, no matter how good their English is. If we really want to understand the first people to make this place their home, we will have to learn their languages. Only then will we begin to understand the enormous gulf between our cultures and why it is so hard for either of us to cross that gulf.

Hopefully learning at least one blackfella language will naturally lead to more respect for their culture. A culture tailored specifically for the unique climate and environment of this unique continent.

Dare I say that way may well discover that the first nations peoples of this strange land follow cultural ways far better adapted to its quirks and idiosyncrasies. I dare I say that we may find it a whole lot easier to deal with the vicissitudes of this place if we learn and adopt the cultural practices of the those who have lived here the longest.

How to talk Australians – Episode 1

I am a fearless reporter who has recently been sacked from News of the World due to wishy washy. namby pamby, bleeding heart, bed weting liberals banging on about Ethics, whatever they are. I try to offend as many people as possible but in the words of some great orator, "you can offend some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time, but youcant offend all of the people all of the time".

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