Aboriginal hand sign language with Anmatyerr women

April Campbell, Anmatyerr woman and Clarrie Nagamara, above, senior Anmatyerr elder, will be in Hobart to be part of the 4th edition of the Hobart Language Day, this Sunday 22 April 2018 from 10 am in Mather’s House.

They will explain all about the Aboriginal hand sign language, specially how Anmatyerr people use their hands to communicate. This form of communication is called iltyem-iltyem; the Anmatyerr name for Central Australian Sign Language.

April and Clarrie will discuss the sign language that they use at home with family, on hunting trips and as part of everyday communication in their lives at Ti Tree in Central Australia. April and Clarrie will demonstrate a number of different kinds of signs – such as kinship signs, people signs, signs for animals and plants, signs for coming and going, actions such as drinking and eating, signs for different times of the day and night, and also signs that express emotions and feelings.

They also will talk about the Iltyem-iltyem project, which involves recording signs on video and presenting them in an online dictionary. The participants will have the opportunity to learn and practice signs with April and Clarrie. They will be accompanied by Dr Jenny Green, a linguist from Melbourne University.

April is an Anmatyerr woman from Ti Tree and is a teacher at Ti Tree school. For many years she has been teaching Anmatyerr language to children in the school, working in partnership with elders to maintain language and culture through the school program.

Clarrie Nagamara is a senior Anmatyerr elder, and lives at Nthwerrey (Ti Tree Station), near Ti Tree in Central Australia. She is an important knowledge holder in this region and a leader of women’s ceremonial performance. Clarrie is committed to teaching young people and works closely with the staff at Ti Tree school in the Anmatyerr language and culture program at the school.

April and Clarrie’s trip to Hobart has been made possible by the financial support of Bellendena Small Grants.

This video is about Aboriginal hand sign language.