HEARING the Dunghutti language being spoken in Kempsey will become more common if the success of the Ngabu Bingayi language class is any indication.
The class was taught by elder Aunty Esther Quinlin through the Dhangatti Language Group.
The group has a long history of teaching the language to children in local schools and in classes run from the Kempsey TAFE campus.
Three of the new graduates are Vicki Taylor and Linda and Colin ‘Coggy’ Wilshusen.
Vicky Taylor said it was a trip to Queensland that encouraged her to learn her native tongue.
“I was talking with some local indigenous people in Queensland and they were familiar with their own language,” she said.
“I was embarrassed that I didn’t speak any of mine, and they said that in NSW we weren’t allowed to speak our languages.
“That made me even more upset that not only didn’t I speak the language, but other people knew we didn’t and were not surprised by it.”
“That made me more determined as a proud Dunghutti woman to learn it.”
Coggy Wilshusen said he grew up with a lot of Aboriginal people who worked with his father breaking horses.
“I have strong connections to the Dunghutti people through my father and it was not unusual for everyone to use Dunghutti words in everyday conversation, but that seems to have died out," he said.
“It is a beautiful language and it has a grammar and construction that is more like German for instance than English so it is interesting to learn.”
Vicki Taylor said learning the local language also helps kids with their general English skills.
“You can see how language works in a way that is more connected to them and it gives them pride and a sense of who they are to speak their own language," she said.
More classes run by the Dhangatti Language Group are scheduled for 2015.
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