Ahem. *Climbs atop soap box.* I want to make it clear that I am an ‘American’. I live in the United States, and have for all my life. So when I began thinking of ways to write the Bloodcloak series, I admit I was very naive. I thought maybe the aboriginal people of Australia spoke 6, 7 maybe 12 different languages.
I was wrong. Very, very wrong. And this is a problem.
A very big problem.
I found a few other writers from Australia who helped open my eyes. In Australia, before captain Cook and the subsequent genocide of the native people and their cultures, Australia had hundreds of different languages. Tribes with dialects and accents. The whole nine yards. Now there are maybe twenty or thirty languages. MAYBE
And that too, is a problem. I think this is something people should be more aware of, in general. Languages are dying out quietly, and have been for decades. A few groups such as Reconciliation and Advancement committee are trying to spread more information. So much is lost, and day by day more is slipping away. This needs to be acknowledged on a global scale.
Could I just make up languages as I go?
Could I just put my characters don’t understand what the yaramayahoo are saying?
Is it possible to just waffle through a’la Stephenie Myers (and consequently E.L.James) making up anything and everything with no regard to stereotypes, miscommunication and cultural appropriations?
But I won’t. Sometimes, being a writer doesn’t just entail ‘making it up as you go’. Sometimes it’s more rewarding for the reader and the writer to do diligent, careful research. I have no desire to trample on a group of people who have already been so horribly treated. I don’t wish to dismiss my audience as imbeciles.
In short, this is a learning experience for anyone and everyone involved. This is a cause the human race should pick up, collectively as a whole. The culture of the Aborigines should not be thrown to the winds and buried in the sands of time.
*Climbs back off soap box*