Lost in translation: Leading the Bunganditj language revival

“Martu karu. Nharingayn Brooke Joy. Ngathu bini Boandik parlarparlar.”

“Good day. My name is Brooke Joy and I am a proud Boandik woman.”

There is surprise and more than a little confusion on the faces of Penola primary school students as Brooke Joy introduces herself in unfamiliar words.

Ms Joy is speaking in the traditional language of Bunganditj, native to the Boandik people of south-east South Australia and considered a lost language, having gradually fallen from use during the 20th century.

Ms Joy, who graduated with a Masters of Indigenous Language from Sydney University in 2015, is one of just a handful of people in the world fluent in the language.

Reviving the use of Bunganditj in the Boandik community and seeing it preserved for future generations is a personal goal of Ms Joy’s.

“Bunganditj is a revival language, in that it was lost in colonisation and Boandik people were not encouraged to use their traditional language,” she said.

“For Aboriginal people, having a strong connection to language is developing a strong sense of cultural identity as well.”

“I think it’s exciting for the Boandik community to be reviving our traditional language, and it’s fantastic to be able to get back to country and be able to share that language with the local community as well.”

Read more: ABC News

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