Publication Details

Gibson, K. & Vialle, W. J. (2007). The Australian Aboriginal View of Giftedness. In S. N. Phillipson & M. McCann (Eds.), Conceptions of Giftedness (pp. 197-224). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.


To write a chapter on the conceptions of giftedness held by the indigenous people of Australia presents particular challenges to the authors. In framing this chapter, we are mindful that the structure of the book has looked at language as a defining aspect of culture but there is no single Aboriginal language (or culture) and the majority of Aboriginal people speak as their first language either Aboriginal English, a dialect of English, or one of three Kriols, the Aboriginal term for the creole languages (Sandefur, 1986) that have evolved following English settlement of Australia. Even if we were to look at a single Aboriginal community, we are faced with the fact that the language changes according to whether the speakers are male or female, their age, and the people to whom they are speaking. Further, the total number of speakers of any Aboriginal language can be quite small. Nevertheless, language generally (as opposed to specific languages) is a defining and important concept in understanding indigenous Australians’ views toward giftedness.

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