thomas m wilson

My great grandfather grew up speaking Ngarlooma

November 11th, 2008

This article was published in the Northem Times 9/12/1971.  It is about my great grandfather’s life, a life lived growing up with Aboriginal companions in the 1880s and 1890s in the north-west of Australia, and working on stations in the Pilbra region for many more decades.  If you speak a language regularly before you’re seven years old you’ll have a perfect accent for the rest of your life – that is a lesson from cognitive science.  It is amazing to me that Aubrey spoke Ngalooma as well as native speakers, and knew their culture intimately.  I can only just picture this plucky white gentleman leaning against a saddle perhaps, feet on the bright red earth, chatting away in the strange syllables of Ngarlooma with native fluency.  What a different picture of Australia he would have had to people like us.