A NEW app bringing the local Barngarala language to the wider community will be launched in Port Lincoln on Friday as part of a long term project to reclaim the language.
The Barngarla Dictionary App, which translates words from English to Barngarla, is the result of a team effort by Barngarla Language Advisory Committee, linguistics professor Ghi’lad Zuckermann and language technology company RegenR8.
Committee member Jenna Richards said the app was discussed briefly at the beginning of the language reclamation project but it only came up again recently because of the number of Barngarla people who had not been able to attend the language workshops.
Professor Zuckermann introduced the committee to RegeneR8 and the app was developed from there.
“It took us a whole weekend between Port Augusta and Port Lincoln for us to digitally record the language dictionary but we did it,” Ms Richards said.
“I love being able to learn our beautiful language and I’m so happy and grateful that now the rest of the Barngarla community will have our language at the touch of a finger whenever and wherever they want.”
The app will also be available to the wider community to learn about the Barngarla language and the committee hopes it will eventually be used as a resource in local schools.
The app includes more than 3000 words and was only possible because of German Lutheran missionary Clamor Schurmann’s work recording the Barngarla language in Port Lincoln in the 1840s.
“He wanted to make the Barngarla people Christian and he used their language for that purpose,” Professor Zuckermann said.
Professor Zuckermann said he did not support missionary activity but Schurmann’s dictionary had made it possible for the Barngarla people to reclaim their language.
“The beauty about the app is it’s an ongoing thing; we recently discovered 600 new words in Barngarla so I’m going to add them to the app,” Professor Zuckermann said.
The community is invited to the launch at the Hilton Motel on Friday at 3.30pm.