Preschoolers visit Port Lincoln as part of Barngarla language revitalization
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Preschoolers visit Port Lincoln as part of Barngarla language revitalization

by Freya Lucas

July 09, 2021

A group of preschool children from suburban South Australia recently visited the regional town of Port Lincoln as a way of continuing their efforts to revive the Barngarla language. 


The class of 32 preschool children have been learning the Barngarla language at the Kidz Club Childcare and Educational Centre in Modbury through video and an alphabet and a picture book developed by the Barngarla people of Port Lincoln, Port Augusta and Whyalla.


Educators have worked with University of Adelaide linguistics professor Ghil’ad Zuckermann and have been supported in their efforts through the state government’s Indigenous Languages and Arts program.


For the visit to Port Lincoln, four children from the class visited Port Lincoln with their families and educators from the service, meeting with Barngarla people and seeing some of the areas they had learnt about, local news source Port Lincoln Times reported.


The purpose of the trip, University of Adelaide linguistics program coordinator Stuart Blair said, was to communicate with the Barngarla people, enhance the children’s language base and communicate with the native speakers.


“The reclamation of the Barngarla language is significant for the Barngarla people, these children are learning a language that was forcibly stopped during colonisation and now it’s been given the chance to come back and breathe new life,” he added.


The visit to Port Lincoln included workshops presented by the Barngarla people with a focus on information at a children’s level, and a visit to Shelly Beach which the children learned about through a video at the centre.


Mr Blair said they hoped to bring Barngarla people to the centre in the future.


Barngarla woman Jenna Richards said it was great to see a young group of people outside Port Lincoln learning the language, and she provided a painting called ‘Wararda Galinyala” (Welcome to Port Lincoln).


She said she would be keen to go to Adelaide to see how the students at the centre were learning the language.


“That should be eye opening, to see fellows who are friends and allies of us and how they are learning and teaching about us,” she said.


To access the original coverage of this story, please see here

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