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Language of the Month | Noongar, Language, Ngaala, Ngaalang, Noonak, Waangk, Teaching, Centre | FATSILC, Fed. Aboriginal Torres Strait Island Languages and Culture
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Noongar [Jurien Bay to Esperance, WA]

Of the thirteen dialects spoken by the Noongar people at the time of white settlement, only five still main. But while the number of fluent adult speakers has fallen dramatically, growing enthusiasm and energy in a variety of education programs has seen a revival in the teaching and use of Noongar language by people of all ages. Noongar territory covers the area from Jurien Bay to Southern Cross, and to the south between Esperance and Ravensthorpe.


It was back in 1986 that a small group of Noongar people, from around the Bunbury area in the south west, decided that action was needed to turn around the loss of language and culture that the community was suffering.

From humble beginnings and the efforts of a small group of workers, the Noongar Language and Culture Centre has grown to now include offices in Bunbury, Northam and Perth.Among the objectives listed by the current management committee at Noongar, is the desire to highlight the contribution of the Noongar women, many now old and frail, who worked tirelessly to preserve the language and to establish the centre which now serves the community.

The Noongar Language Centre lists amongst its achievements the publication of 17 books, most of which are printed in Noongar only. A few 'easy learners' have English translations.

In the past two years over 120 people have learned to read and write Noongar, meaning that a growing number of language workers will be available to continue to take the language out to schools and community programs, as Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers.

Noongar Prayer
Ngaala Maaman Waangk

Ngaala Maaman ngiyan yira moonbooli Moodlooga.
Kooranyi noonak korl. Noonak waangk, yoowarl koorl,
birdiyar ngaala boodja noonook woorn noonak kooranyi kaalak.
Nyinyak ngaalang nidja kedela ngaala mereny.
Nyinya nyinyak ngaalang ngaala wara waarniny.
Ngaalak nyinya nyinyak, baalang ngiyan waarn wara ngaalang.
Yoowart koorl ngaalang moort-moort djooroot. Maaman maar barang ngaalang, Noonak waangk birdiyar. Noonak moorditj, noonook ngaangk yira.
Kalyokool, kalyokool.

The voice gets louder

Of the thirteen dialects spoken by the Noongar people at the time of white settlement, only jive still remain...

New teaching kit helps all areas

Bingo cards and bean bags, coloured counters and a spinning wheel are just some of the inventive aids included in the Kaadadjiny Noongar Waangkiny language learning kit, put together by Noongar language workers Olive Woods and Rose Whitehurst. A special feature of this kit is the fact that it can be adapted and used to teach any language, as the cards have been made with removable language tags.This has created interest from a number of sources, with other teachers able to take advantage of the years of careful preparation that went into the kit's development.

Rose and Olive based their ideas on the need to make learning simple and fun.They set their work around a bird and animal theme, and relied on the input of the Noongar Elders to determine the spelling system which is explained in the kit's manual. Kaadadjiny Noongar Waangkiny is recognised as a valuable contribution to the resources available to the LOTE teaching system in Western Australia.