New website helps grow Kaurna language

Kaurna website

University of Adelaide researchers have contributed to a new website, a comprehensive, up to date one-stop shop for everything about the Kaurna language, the original language of the Adelaide Plains.

The Kaurna Warra website hosts Kaurna language resources to provide greater resources and training to help develop speakers who can pass on the language to future generations.

The resources include a learner’s guide, dictionary, alphabet book, games, information about spelling and pronunciation, Kaurna language courses, Kaurna placenames, and a members’ section for Kaurna people.

Educational videos are also available, including an online Pirltawardli Puppet Show, animal names, counting from 1-10, a Christmas carol, and a café chat, all in Kaurna.

An online shop makes resources available for in-person teaching.

University of Adelaide Associate Professor Rob Amery from the School of Humanities has decades of working as an expert linguist with the Kaurna language and lead the team to establish the website.

“The Kaurna language was long written off as a ‘dead’ language, though Kaurna people prefer to think of it as having been sleeping, but through dedicated collaborative work, it has been revived,” said Associate Professor Amery.

“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.”

University of Adelaide PhD Candidate Susie Greenwood said there was demand from the community for more resources.

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

“21 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.

The Kaurna Warra website is the new web presence for Kaurna Warra Pintyanthi (KWP) and Kaurna Warra Karrpanthi (KWK), an Aboriginal corporation under the Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations which handles all requests for Kaurna names and translations.

“The Kaurna language was long written off as a ‘dead’ language, though Kaurna people prefer to think of it as having been sleeping, but through dedicated collaborative work, it has been revived." Associate Professor Rob Amery

KWK Chair Zoey Bonney said the website is another important step in the re-awakening of the Kaurna language.

“It signifies two worlds coming together and further highlights how truly evolutionary, resilient and strong Kaurna language is,” Ms Bonney said.  

“The website is accessible and will make for deeper learning and therefore deeper connection, all at the click of your fingers.

“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.”

Hosted by the University of Adelaide, KWP produces Kaurna language resources, and especially online media Kaurna Language Hub, to support the learning and teaching of the Kaurna language.

The KWP team worked on the first ever English to Kaurna dictionary, 'Kaurna Warrapiipa’, which was published in 2022 by South Australian publisher Wakefield Press.

The University of Adelaide is committed to reconciliation and to excellence in Aboriginal education and research. Through the University’s Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education unit, we strive to be an institution that makes an enduring contribution to our First Nations peoples through the transformative impact of education and employment.

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