Batchelor Institute » Strengthening Mowanjum Languages
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Date:July 10, 2012

Strengthening Mowanjum Languages


Mowanjum Community is working in partnership with Batchelor Press to revive their languages and strengthen their culture and languages for future generations.

There are three language groups living at Mowanjum Community (15km south of Derby). Worrorra, Ngarinyin and Wunambal Elders have been working over the last year to document their languages and make child friendly books, talking books and language learning resources to help strengthen their languages.

Batchelor Press is the specialty in-house publishing division of Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education and they have been working with the Mowanjum Community in WA on an Endangered Languages Project to rebuild and revive the languages.

The project highlights the importance of strengthening Mowanjum Community languages. As a result, it has been successful in receiving funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Indigenous Language Support program and by the Dambimangari Aboriginal Corporation in Derby.

Manager at Batchelor Press, Maree Klesch says reviving and recovering Aboriginal languages is a vital part of keeping cultural tradition and knowledge alive so these can be passed onto the next generations.

‘Communities learning language together strengthens the community and takes steps towards reconciliation of our country,’

Maree Klesch

‘The result of the elders work has been the development of seven sets of readers in Worrorra, four sets of readers in Ngarinyin and two sets of readers in Wunambal. A talking book and learning resources accompany each book. The elders have also provided language to develop a series of posters to support language revitalisation in the community and in schools’, Maree Klesch said.

The books document traditional knowledge in natural history, family relationships and titles to support the inclusion of Worrora, Ngainyin and Wunambal in school curriculums and community based language nests.

A book launch will be held at the Mowanjum Community Language Centre at 10:30am on Thursday the 12th July 2012 to celebrate the significance of the works within the community and region.