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Language Nests | Language, Nest, Bunuba, Kids, Children, Gooniyandi, Gumani, Thinga | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
Language Nests PDF Print E-mail
Anita Bedford, Patsy Bedford and Mona Oscar
Anita Bedford, Patsy Bedford and Mona Oscar
In the Kimberley, three language nests are funded by the Education Department of WA through the LOTE Aboriginal Languages Programs and supported by the Kimberley Language Resource Centre.

The Language Nests allow children to begin learning their language before they go to school:

Photo: Anita Bedford, Coordinator of the Bunuba Language Nest gives her report at the KLRC Annual General Meeting at Mary River. With her are Patsy Bedford and Mona Oscar.

Bunuba thaangani walay buga-u
Bunuba language for the small kids

I find the Language Nest is a great way to start learning to speak and understand more of my language.

The old people that are teaching Bunuba are Mona Oscar, Maisie Green, Molly Jalakbiya and Rita Middleton, who has just joined recently.

There are up to nine kids that attend. The nest runs for four days during the week. We go down to the river and have a bit of fun or we just go to the boughshed at the UAM church in Junjuwa.

When we sit in these places the oldies teach the children the Bunuba names for their body parts and names for different objects around us. The children have learned a couple of songs like Gunggulu, Bandari, Gumani, Thinga.

We do this nest so that the younger children can learn how to speak their language.

Some Aboriginal languages are dying - we are trying to keep this Bunuba language alive by teaching these children.

The Bunuba community of Junjuwa all think that the Language Nest is good.

"It is like a school for the young kids where the old people teach them language."

Gunggulu, bandari, gumani, thinga
Head, shoulders, knees and toes

Gunggulu, bandari, gumani, thinga gumani, thinga

Gunggulu, bandari, gumani, thinga gumani, thinga

Mulu, bina, wura, thangani wura, thangani

Mulu, bina, wura, thangani wura, thangani.


Koonjie Park is a community 20 km west of Halls Creek. There are about forty adults and fifty children, most of whom are Gooniyandi speakers. Maria Griffiths and her mother Sarah Gordon teach about 8 pre-school kids every day under the boughshed, and when the older kids come home from school they also have an hour of learning language. They also go on bushtrips.

Gooniyandi is their first language. When they're babies, they hear that language. They hear it at home all the time. So even when they go to school and hear English and Kriol, they'll still know Gooniyandi. It's really good out here in the community. We've got one language ... we speak Gooniyandi.

Maria Griffiths Coordinator Gooniyandi Language Nest


We have between 9 and 14 kids that come regularly to the language nests. We usually take them out to Caroline Pool or Banjo Bore. We divide them into small groups and the old people talk to them in language. The teachers are Doris Fletcher, Connie Jugarie, Rosie Malgil, Lulu Trancollino and Mavis Wallaby.

Michelle Martin Coordinator Kija Language Nest

The kids learn new words from each activity. For example, when we made damper, they learnt marnem for fire; mayim for damper; and nalija for tea.

Theresa Polkinghorne KLRC language worker

Reproduced with the permission of Keeping Language Strong KLRC newsletter.