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In this paper I position myself in a modest mediator role, supporting the entity of ‘Yolŋu language’ in bringing to life a Yolŋu ontology of language in academia. As a matter of urgency, in reconceptualising ‘language’ in curriculum development in academia, my work is to theorise the Yolŋu ontology of language under the category of philology: philo- (love) and -logy (word). Modern philology is a rather vague category for studying language, but I claim philology can respect and take Yolŋu language ontology seriously. I am arguing for supporting a revival of this way knowing language in academia. It can certainly help me and many academics to stop committing ourselves to having the world of things ‘out there’, and the words to name them ‘over here’. It can help me to study words uttered and written and their meanings in situ, which I argue is one aspect of care for Yolŋu concepts in the academy. This task is not mine alone, yet pursued in a collective epistemic space within academia, where politicoepistemic diplomacy is conducted.