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Kaurna online: New website to help learn the language

Kaurna, the original language of the Adelaide Plains, has a new online hub.

The Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures at the Festival Centre. Photo: Peter Barnes

The Kaurna Reconciliation Sculptures at the Festival Centre. Photo: Peter Barnes

The just-established Kaurna Warra website has a host of resources for learning and teaching the language, including courses, guides, and a dictionary.

The website also features educational videos, an online shop, and even a few games in Kaurna, like Wordle and Solitaire.

It builds on decades of research and volunteer work building resources to revitalise the Kaurna language.

“The Kaurna language was long written off as a ‘dead’ language,” says Associate Professor Rob Amery, Head of Linguistics at University of Adelaide, who led the team that established the website.

“Though Kaurna people prefer to think of it as having been sleeping. But through dedicated collaborative work, it has been revived.

“This website not only includes our resources, but connects the user with other important websites to support their learning.

“We hope this work will make Kaurna language accessible to a wider number of people, which is the key for preservation and growth of the language.”

The website is also the new presence for the Kaurna language body Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP), and Aboriginal corporation Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi (KWK), which handles all requests for Kaurna names and translations.

“It signifies two worlds coming together and further highlights how truly evolutionary, resilient and strong Kaurna language is,” says KWK Chair Zoey Bonney.

“The adaptability of Kaurna language and the dedicated people involved in the reawakening, and continuance of it, is world class and this website is a certificate of achievement and a big step in the right direction of longevity.”

Susie Greenwood, a PhD candidate at the University of Adelaide, says there’s community demand for more resources.

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“It is exciting to see more and more Australian schools integrating Indigenous languages and culture into their curriculum,“ says Greenwood.

“Twenty-one South Australian schools have a registered Kaurna language program, however we know there are many others who are looking to integrate Kaurna language and culture into their community in a less structured way and are working with members of the Kaurna community.

“We hope that creating better access to these resources will develop more speakers and interest in the language for future generations.”

This article was first published in Cosmos Magazine

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