Wiradjuri Classes going Strong PDF Print E-mail

Original language native to the region and spoken thousands of years ago by the Wiradjuri people is being passed on to local kindergarten students from Dubbo South Primary.

Classes are being taught by the schools Aboriginal Education Officers Dina Moore and Deb Morrow who have Certificate III in the Wiradjuri language from TAFE.

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Teachers and students in the Wiradjuri class at Dubbo South Primary (photo: Amy Griffiths)
The students have picked up a surprising amount of the Aboriginal language in the short time they have been taught.

“It is quite surprising because this is only the second week and it is amazing how much they have picked up,” Ms Moore said.

So far the children have learnt family names, how to count to 10 and the names of body parts in Wiradjuri.

“That’s why we aimed at the little kids - they pick it up a lot quicker,” Ms Morrow said.

Learning the native language has created a greater cultural awareness among the young students.

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Wiradjuri Elder, Stan Grant
“We explain to the children it is the language of the Aboriginal people spoken years ago,” Ms Moore said.

There are hopes the program will expand to other age groups and schools.

“The kids just love it and hopefully we can teach other stages as well,” Ms Moore said.

“We want to build it up so it can carry into the high schools,” Ms Morrow said.

Wiradjuri is a Pama–Nyungan language of the Wiradhuric subgroup. It was the traditional language of the Wiradjuri people of Australia. The process of reclaiming the language was greatly assisted by the publication in 2005 of A First Wiradjuri Dictionary by elder Stan Gran Senior and consultant Dr John Rudder. John Rudder described the dictionary: “The Wiradjuri Dictionary has three main sections in just over 400 B5 pages. The first two sections, English to Wiradjuri, and Wiradjuri to English, have about 5000 entries each. The third sections lists Names of Things grouped in categories such as animals, birds, plants, climate, body parts, colours. In addition to those main sections the dictionary contains an introduction to accurate pronunciation, a basic grammar of the language and a sample range of sentence types.”