Eve Fesl

Gubbi Gubbi

I’m a Gubbi Gubbi person on my mother’s side and my father is also Aboriginal, Yuman, so I have two different languages from two different areas. They cover two different aspects of the country and people’s behaviour in the country. I studied linguistics as a young woman and Mum had always told me about our language and talked to me in Gubbi Gubbi. I found it very interesting. I ended up getting my PhD in linguistics. From then on I became really interested in where languages come from, and in documenting languages. I was concerned that Aboriginal languages weren’t being written down or recorded properly, so I worked with Mum to document Gubbi Gubbi. That’s how I became interested in language and the need for recording our languages. Linguistics has taken me some interesting places, for instance, once I went to Germany. People in the community I stayed knew that I was a reasonable speaker of German, and that I was a linguist. They didn’t care if I was an Aboriginal person or not. This Southern German community was having trouble with Northern German being imposed in their schools, so they called a meeting to ask me what they could do. That was really interesting; giving advice to people in another country on their language.