How Adelaide’s ‘extinct’ Indigenous language Kaurna was brought back to life

Only a few decades ago the Kaurna language was thought to be extinct.

Adelaide’s Kaurna people say it was only ever “sleeping”.

Rob Amery from the University of Adelaide has dedicated his life to reviving Kaurna.

He’s just published the first-ever English to Kaurna dictionary.

“I’m confident that if I got run over by a bus tomorrow it would still continue on,” he said.

“People know enough of the language, know enough of the grammar of Kaurna language to be able to continue the work on without me.”

The Kaurna people’s traditional lands extend from South Australia’s Mid North, through Adelaide, and as far south as the bottom of the Fleurieu Peninsula.

The closest thing to a dictionary before now was written by German missionaries in the 1830s, who documented about 2,000 Kaurna words.

Speaking the language was once forbidden by white Australians, and Kaurna all but faded from use by the 1860s.

Read more: ABC News

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