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Language with a Local - Dec/Jan

Hello dear OTL readers! We are at the end of the United Nation’s International Year of Indigenous Languages. What a glorious year it has been – or if you’re reading this in January, what a glorious year it was.

I’d like to once again thank all the people who have shared their beautiful languages and their stories with us throughout the course of 2019. If you’d like to read any of those stories again, you can check them out in the Youth secton.

All Indigenous Australian languages come from a place of family and strength. Our languages are from our ancestors, and are gifts from them to us. Many articulate the culture, land, relationships and people in a way that no other language would quite be able to.

So, as this year and decade draws to a close, I hope that you keep on thinking about the Indigenous languages of our country.

If you’d like to learn more about these languages, you can find heaps of resources in many Indigenous languages online. I even found some books at The Bookshop the other day!

Goodbye!
These are general and well-known terms for goodbye in the region. Each language or dialect may have its own word for goodbye, and you can always ask a speaker if you aren’t sure.

East Arhnem - djutjutj (chu-chut)
West Arhnem - bobo (bor-bor)
Tiwi - nimpangi (nim-pang-ee)
Daly-Wagait - ma-mak (mah-muck)
Dessert - jakuru (jah-ku-ru)


Emily Tyaemaen Ford is a Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu woman from Kurrindju, who speaks two languages - Rak Mak Mak Marranunggu and Rak Marrithiyel. She is on the City of Darwin Youth Advisory Committee and works in Indigenous research at Northern Institute.

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