Noongar Learners Guide
Noongar was originally an oral language. Europeans made written recordings of Noongar language over many years but their different styles caused a great deal of confusion.

Noongar Boodjar Waangkiny has based its orthography (spelling system) on historical records and a series of Noongar language and culture meetings that took place in the south-west from the mid 1980’s to late 1990’s.

  • Marribank 1985
  • Wellington Mills 1990
  • Narrogin 1991
  • Dryandra Noongar Language Festival 1992
  • Marribank 1997

 

Hundreds of Noongar Elders and their families took part in these meetings and language festivals to discuss the Noongar language situation, document language and work towards developing a Noongar language course and dictionary. The first Noongar Language and Culture Centre was established in Bunbury at the Bunbury Aboriginal Progress Association in 1986. This small group of dedicated people took the lead in revitalising Noongar language and coordinating inclusive community workshops.

It was at the 1997 meeting at Marribank attended by approximately 200 Noongars that an agreement was made on a standard orthography, which was to be used for teaching Noongar in schools. There was a unanimous vote that the language would be spelt NYUNGAR. The establishment of a standard spelling system allowed for consistency across language programs and the development of a set of learning materials that could be shared across Noongar country. It is acknowledged that the remerging Noongar has been developed under the influence of English and that there is still considerable work to be done to bring the Noongar language closer to its original voice.

This small guide will aid the Noongar language learner by explaining some of the grammatical features of the language.