Language project features on NITV

SHORT films about the quest to reclaim the Barngarla Aboriginal language filmed in Port Lincoln screened on NITV recently.

NITV filmed workshops held in Port Lincoln discussing a language revival project that could result in a language centre being set up at the end of the three-year workshops schedule.

The Office for the Arts has provided funding over three years for the workshops.

The project aims to have the Barngarla language recognised as the primary language of Port Lincoln and taught in local schools.

University of Adelaide School of Humanities chair of linguistics and endangered languages professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann facilitated last week's workshops with Barngarla descendents at the Port Lincoln Hotel.

Mr Zuckermann has been working with Barngarla people in Port Lincoln, Whyalla and Port Augusta to help bring back their language, which has not been spoken in about 50 years.

"We're hoping to reclaim the 'sleeping beauty' Barngarla language," he said.

"The language was subject to linguicide several decades ago.

"The participants in this workshop range from a three-day-old baby to Barngarla elders."

He said the language revival project would help Barngarla descendents learn more about their heritage and pass it on to the next generation.

The project is being made a whole lot easier with the help of a Barngarla dictionary created by German Luthern missionary Clamor Wilhelm Schurmann from the Dresden Mission Society, who came to Port Lincoln in the 1840s to help the Barngarla people in an attempt to end wars between them and the first local settlers.

He set up a native Barngarla school and in 1844 published a dictionary of the Barngarla language.

The NITV short films can be seen at and

You can also view a five-minute clip at

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