“Our language is our identity” – new Wirdi language website launched

Latest News / Saturday, April 24th, 2021

Media Statement

Friday, 9 April 2021

Wirdi Language Dictionary for Wanggan Yagalinggu Country launched

The People of Wanggan and Yagalinggu Country (also known as Wangan and Jagalingou – W&J) have launched an interactive dictionary with tools for learning the Wirdi Language. 

The online dictionary and language learning tools are part of a language project established by the Wangan Jagalingou Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation to revitalise the Wirdi language.

W&J Project Manager, Sharon Ford says: “We are the Wirdi people from Wanggan Yagalinggu Country. We are reclaiming our identity and revitalising our unique language. Our traditional language was spoken by our ancestors for millennia, before the impact of colonisation on our people and culture. This project is to ensure that once again our children and grandchildren, and those that follow, will hold our true identity and continue to speak our original language.

“Our language is our identity,” she said. “But the effect of removal of our ancestors from Country and the restrictions imposed on them not to speak language, had caused a significant loss of language for Wanggan and Yagalinggu People.

“These types of assimilationist policies have continued to the present, restricting our ability to practice our culture, be on Country, and exercise our rights”.

Wanggan and Yagalinggu people are known for their unwavering defence of their Country, people and rights, and are determined to hold onto and restore the central place of language.

Ms Ford says language sits at the centre of Wanggan and Yagalinggu cultural sovereignty, and their determination to safeguard the future of their people.

“Our language is our connection to our identity and what connects us to our country. And our country connects us to spirituality, culture and family. Through these connections we are told how to live in harmony with our environment.

“Our Dreaming is the Mundangarra (rainbow serpent) who created the environment we live in. Mundangarra came up from under the ground and travelled in and through the land to create the mountains, rivers and animals. It is our responsibility to protect our land, water, people and spirits.

“This stage of the project was designed to recover all recorded language words from the country of the Wanggan and Yagalinggu and surrounding areas, to transcribe all written and audio language, and draw on the remaining Wirdi speaking people. The outcome was to launch this interactive website dictionary with tools for learning the Wirdi Language”, Ms Ford said.

For more information/ comment email to info@wirdi.com.au

The Wirdi language website can be found @: www.wirdi.com.au

Video of the family day and launch of the Wirdi Language Dictionary is here

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