Ngiyampaa language strengthened by new dictionary

Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 1:57pm

This dictionary is a great resource for our kids to learn our language that is what I would like to see.” Aunty Norma O’Hara, Ngiyampaa Elder.

The resurgence and maintenance of the Ngiyampaa language has been bolstered by a dictionary published by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) publishing arm, Aboriginal Studies Press.

Ngiyampaa Wordworld: Thipingku Yuwi, Maka Ngiya; Names of Birds and Other Words includes stories, example sentences and songs, a comprehensive list of bird names and other words. The dictionary includes an English to Ngiyampaa finder list to quickly look up words in Ngiyampaa.

The dictionary is a much needed resource to not only learn language, but to strengthen cultural identity for current and future generations.

"This dictionary is invaluable. Having our language available and accessible makes me feel more connected to my country, to my ancestors and increases my sense of pride and strengthens my cultural identity,” Ngiyampaa language project contributor, Ashlee Kearney says.

I am really excited to share this with my family, especially the younger ones to make sure they are growing up strong and proud."

The Wangaaypuwan dialect of Ngiyampaa is the language of the Pilaarrkiyalu, Nhiilyikiyalu and Karulkiyalu people that come from the dry, riverless country of Western NSW. Some Pilaarrkiyalu, Nhiilyikiyalu and Karulkiyalu people still live in and around the ngurrampaa ‘homelands’ but many now live in larger towns and cities around NSW and other states and territories.

AIATSIS CEO, Craig Ritchie says the dictionary is a rich publication that provides critical infrastructure for the cultural resurgence of the Ngiyampaa people.

Ngiyampaa Wordworld is a wonderfully vibrant dictionary funded through the Indigenous Languages Preservation: Dictionaries Project,” Mr Ritchie says.

Ngiyampaa people can strengthen their connection to the language, songs and ecological knowledge of their ancestors and teach us all about the rich heritage of Western New South Wales that stretches back over 65,000 years.”

Ngiyampaa Wordworld: Thipingku Yuwi, Maka Ngiya; Names of Birds and Other Words is published through the Indigenous Languages Preservation: Dictionaries Project, administered by AIATSIS and funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA).

Ngiyampaa Wordworld can now be ordered online through Aboriginal Studies Press. The first edition was published in 1997.

Media enquiries: Commsmedia@aiatsis.gov.au or 0476 843 522.

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