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Noongar maya waangkiny kaadidjiny (Noongar sound speaking understanding)

"Why reviving Indigenous languages is so important". This is an article by Wakka Wakka woman Annalee Pope about why she wants to bring her language back - "Today my language is sleeping, in the future my language will be awake".[1] Her language journey began as coordinator of the Central Queensland Language Centre:

2019 was the UN Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL 2019).[2] The Australian Government Department of Communications and the Arts has a web site with links to see indigenous language activities and to register your own events.[3]

To learn your country, start by learning its Aboriginal names

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This is the title of a 2020 ABC South East NSW article.[4]. And specifically for Noongar there is a 2015 ABC Local article "Discovering the land and its people through Noongar placenames".[5]

title You learn the name, you learn the Country, and respect its history - This Place

There is a separate Noongar project on Noongar place names - "Boodjar: Nyungar Placenames in the South-West of Western Australia"[6] It has been set up by Prof. Len Collard.[5]

A major objective of this Noongarpedia is reclaiming and explaining Noongar names for places in WA. See for example pages in the following categories:

And the following pages:

See also the following pages which enable you to work out for yourself what a Noongar place name means

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N.B. These pages should all be in Category:Wp/nys/Waarnkiny‎

See also birds

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Another kwop place to start is by learning the names of the animals and plants on Noongar Boodjar, especially the Noongar names of Djerap (Birds) as often the Noongar name is the sound of one of the calls of the bird. So rather than have a mobile phone app to identify bird song, just learn the Noongar names of the birds in Noongar boodjar. See especially:

The little words are important!

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wer - and; ba - and (kongal-boyal - south eastern dialect)
  • Linking words giving location, direction of movement, etc. - called prepositions
il - on, in, to
ak - on
yira - up
For example in English, the sentence "That reminds me of something" has three pronouns
yennar - all, every
keny - one
ngany, ngaitj - I
noonook - you; nyoondok (southern dialect)
baal - he, she or it
ngalak, ngarlak - we
baalap - they, theirs
karro - more
nidja - this (as in "this tree"; on its own in English 'this' is a pronoun, as in "do this")
windji - where (as in "marany windji?" - "where's the food?")

Modern Noongar dialect groups[7]

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There may have been up to 15 dialects of the Noongar language at the time of European settlement.

There are now 3 specific Noongar dialect groups and a Noongar for Languages Other Than English (LOTE) standard.

  • Noongar LOTE[8]
  • Kongal-boyal – South-eastern: from Denmark and Albany in the far south, east probably as far as Esperance and Ravensthorpe, and north through what is now the wheat-belt.
  • Djiraly - Northern: around Perth and on the coastal plain north to the Moore River and inland to New Norcia and east through to what is now the wheat-belt.
  • Kongal-marawar - South-western: Meelon Bilya (Murray River) east to Kojonup and south to Augusta.

The Noongarpedia however acknowledges and respects all variants of dialect used across the south west. The Noongar language was not written until settler times. It was an oral language, and thus there was no concept of spelling. In writing Noongar words in English different people wrote down the sounds as they heard them, resulting in multiple spellings for the same Noongar word. An important conference at Wellington Mills in February 1990 standardised the orthography of the Noongar language. Orthography includes spelling as well as other written elements of a language such as punctuation, capitalization, etc.[9] The Noongarpedia accomodates these different spellings in a page title by using redirects, so there should be just one page on one topic.

For the main page on the Noongar language see Gnullar Karla Mia - Our Campfires (Language groups).

Kaya - boordawan

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Saying hello ... goodbye in Noongar at least shows you acknowledge the language and are trying.

Kaya - hello
Djinang moorditj - take care (lit. look strong), boordawan djinang - see you later

Have a conversation: Kaya ...


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  1. keny,[10] keyen[11] - one (sometimes there is more than one Noongar dialect word for something in English)
  2. koodjal - two
  3. mau,[10] dambart[11] - three
  4. koodjal koodjal - four, as in Koodjal Koodjal Djookan (Four Sisters)
  5. maar - five
  6. maar-keny, maar-keyen - six
  7. maar-koodjal - seven
  8. maar-mau, maar-dambart - eight
  9. maar-koodjal-koodjal - nine
  10. maar-maar - ten


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Noongar Our Way

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Nidja publication is to help people learn Noongar Language[12]. "Noongar Our Way" is a Noongar language learning kit. It provides nine lessons with written texts wer matching audio provided il cassette tape. The Noongar language was used by different mobs, who had their own dialects, so sometimes there is more than one Noongar word for something.

‘Unit One’ models Noongar language in a question wer answer format as dialogue in examples such as:

 Q. Winja Noonook koorliny 
 (where you going?)
 A. Ngaitj kaarlak koorliny.   
 (I home going)

Noongar education groups have suggested using a similar question wer answer format, wer a variety of sentences of dialogue that might be used in classroom language activities. For example, at the end of the school day:

 Teacher: Windja nyoondok koorliny 
 (where you going)
 Students: Ngaitj (ngarlak) kaarlak koorliny. 
 (I/we home going)
 Teacher: Boordawan djinang 
 (later see)
 Students: Boorda 

Mount Lockyer Primary School’s Dreamtime Committee has also recommended a range of greetings wer farewells that might be introduced into classrooms:

Greetings etc

 Q. Yaarn 
 (how you going)
 A. ngayn moorditj  (I/me strong)
 (I/me strong)
  • Alternatives:
minditj (sick)
winyarn (weak)
karang (angry)
good (kwop)
 Boordawan djinang  
 (later… see)
 Ngan kwel 
 (My/me name)
 Q. Windja noonook nyin?  
 (Where you sit/live)
 A. Ngayn Perth nyininy      
 (me Perth sitting/being)
 Q. Ngiyan noonook moort?  
 (Who you family)
 A. Ngan moort X         
 (my family X) 


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Noongar – our way (kit)[12]

Noongar Waangkiny: a learner’s guide to Noongar[13]

Nyungar Nyinalanginy Wangkininy (Nyungar Language Conference). At Wellington Mills, February 1990[9]

see also

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Ngiyan waarnk - References

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Annalee Pope "Why reviving Indigenous languages is so important". ABC Life. 21 February 2019. Retrieved 23 February 2019
  2. "IYIL 2019". 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages. Retrieved 23 February 2019
  3. "2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages". Australian Government, Department of Communications and the Arts. Retrieved 23 February 2019
  4. Vanessa Milton and Sarah Abbott. "To learn your country, start by learning its Aboriginal names". ABC South East NSW. 10 January 2020. Retrieved 12 April 2020
  5. 5.0 5.1 Karla Arnall (2015). "Discovering the land and its people through Noongar placenames". ABC Local. 2 April 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2023
  6. "Boodjar: Nyungar Placenames in the South-West of Western Australia". Boodjar.org.au. Retrieved 2 August 2020
  7. Noongar Dialects. Noongar Boodjar Language Cultural Aboriginal Corporation. 2017. Retrieved 21 March 2018
  8. Noongar > Word Cards. LTA Education. Retrieved 21 March 2018
  9. 9.0 9.1 "Nyungar Nyinalanginy Wangkininy (Nyungar Language Conference)". Wellington Mills, 12 - 14 February 1990. Archived 10 September 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2019
  10. 10.0 10.1 Bernard Rooney (2011). "The Nyoongar Legacy". Batchelor Press. ISBN 978 174131 232 4
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Counting in Noongar". The Year 3/4 Smarties. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2018
  12. 12.0 12.1 Wooltorton, Sandra et al. Noongar – our way (kit). Part 1. Noongar Tradition. Bunbury: Noongar Language and Cultural Centre, c.1992 pp.****
  13. Noongar Boodjar Language Centre, Noongar Waangkiny: a learner’s guide to Noongar. Batchelor, NT: Batchelor Press, 2014 pp.9-11.