Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre PDF Print E-mail

Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre
Jawoyn didj player Jamie Ah Fat
Speeches traditional dancing, language videos and a barbecue entertained a small crowd celebrating the launch of two new dictionaries and community language Library at the Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre earlier this month.

The dictionaries, of Jawoyn, an Aboriginal language of the Katherine area in the Norehern Territory, have been years In the making.

Jawoyn elders have worked with linguists over decades, sharing language and cultural knowledge, to compile them. Sadly, many contributors have now passed away.

The Community Language Library, although small. contains precious resources for around 25 endangered Aboriginal languages.

The Katherine Language Centre  (Diwurruwurru Jaru Aboriginal Corporation) represents around 30 Indigenous languages In the region and over the years has collected and produced materials about many of them.

With a small grant from the NT Community Benefit Fund, the Language Centre sec out to make these material's accessible to the Aboriginal communities who have worked an producing them, and to those who have an interest in learning more about traditional languages and culture.

Brightly-painted, with big cushions, a TV and stereo, the Community Language Library is a comfortable place for people to come and look at  videos, read books and listen to stories in traditional languages and in Kriol.

A lot of the resources in the library have been made for school Language and Culture programs and are aimed at children. Other materials include dictionaries, lifestyle videos (which document traditional cultural practices); sound  recordings (such as oral histories):storybooks and ethno botany guides. The library also offers computer games in traditional language : language maps; and CDs of Favorite Top-End musicians.

"It's more lounge room than library." says Language Centre linguist jenny Danton. ‘It started
with the couch. Whom we found that leather couch we just saw the room take shape around it.”

“It's expected that visiting community members. local indigenous people. school groups. and members of the non-Aboriginal public will use the library.

The joint celebration was attended by community members school teachers and members of organizations from around the region, and was supported by the jawoyn Association and the Mayor of Katherine.

The Community Language Library, at 6 Pearce St Katherine, is open to the public during business hours.
The jawoyn-English Dictionary' and jawoyn Topic Dictionary', as well as the ethno botany 'jawoyn Mara and Animals'. are available. from Diwirruwurry-jaru Aboriginal Corporation,

Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre
Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre
Bilinarra elder Ivy Hector looks at one of her bush medicine books in the community Language Library.

Wardaman elder Bill Harney welcomes guests to country at the launch.

Warda,an elder Bill Harney and Diwurruwurru-jaru deputy chairman Sahardi Garling welcome guests to country at the Jawoyn Dictonary and Community Language Library Launch.

Interpreter and Language consultant Queenie Brennan told stories in Dalabon and Mayalli languages which come to her from her mother and father's side.

Katherine mayor Anne Shepherd praise the initiative of the Community Language Library.