The West Australian newspaper reported today that “Students hold key to Nyoongar language revival”. Noongar is the one of the main languages spoken by the Aboriginal people of the south-west of Western Australia. It had a number of dialects, including one for Perth called Wadjuk. Noongar is an oral language ie it was never written down. There is a major push throughout Australia for the teaching of Indigenous languages in schools to ensure that the languages are not lost.
The State Library has a significant number of books, articles, teaching kits and film on the subject. A good starting point for information on Western Australian Aboriginal languages is the article entitled Aboriginal languages in Historical Encyclopedia of Western Australia edited by Jenny Gregory and Jan Gothard. The encyclopedia is available in most public libraries. There are a number of dictionaries on the Noongar language including Noongar Dictionary: Noongar to English and English to Noongar compiled by Rose Whitehurst and published by the Noongar Language and Culture Centre. Another important dictionary is a Nyoongar Wordlist from the South West of Western Australia compiled by P Bindon and R Chadwick. There are some useful teaching kits available too at the State Library and public libraries eg Nyoongar warr-kin-ying bulup: we’re talking to you about teaching the past today, for tomorrow: course outline. For further assistance on these books and other resources, please visit the Battye Library on the third floor of the State Library.