The goal of this work is to describe the changes occurring in the
Pitjantjatjara speech of teenagers in Areyonga, a Central Australian
community, from both a grammatical and a sociolinguistic point of view. The
study is based on data collected in 1994 and 1995. At the time the data was
being collected, the Areyonga community had about 200 inhabitants, more
than half of them under 25 years of age. A key question of this work is the
extent to which Areyonga Teenage Pitjantjatjara is being influenced by
contact with English.
In order to identify changes in Areyonga Teenage Pitjantjatjara,
contemporary speech was compared with several independent descriptions of
Traditional Pitjantjatjara (and similar neighbouring dialects). Personal
observations of the author and discussions with older Pitjantjatjara people
at Areyonga help to round out the picture obtained.
The Areyonga population is predominantly young. Most of the older people
have left the settlement to return to their community of origin. As a
result, many traditional ways of living have not been transmitted fully to
the following generation. However there is an undeniable striving to
reintegrate traditions into the community and the teaching of the
children. Consequently, there is a constant effort to educate children in
their first language. What then is the state of Areyonga Teenage
Pitjantjatjara? This book aims to answer this question.