Jarrak: Our languages journey

Paja inyja jarrak thangani-ngarri

Jarrak is a public knowledge bank which captures key milestones for strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages from the 1970s until now. It has been published to support both on-going advocacy and effective progress for revival and maintenance of Indigenous languages.

Jarrak includes a timeline and searchable database, with links to documentary and audio-visual evidence of achievements made in four areas: policy, education, language centres and resources. This site is best viewed using Chrome or Firefox browsers.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language programs and workers across the continent often operate in isolation, in under-resourced circumstances, and with languages that are at different stages in the revitalisation process. They have contributed resources to the knowledge bank to support others within the network, providing a means to:

  • build a record and shared understanding of the history of Indigenous language revitalisation in Australia
  • showcase information about ways that ground has been gained and how setbacks have been faced
  • assert the expertise, long experience, and collective knowledge of Indigenous organisations, their leaders and supporters
  • inform and support those who are new to the network, and joining the ever-growing language revitalisation movement
  • educate policymakers and funding bodies, now and into the future.

Jarrak means "to talk" in Kija. In Kija, the vowel "a" sounds like the "u" in the English word "but", and the "rr" is rolled and sounds a bit like the "tt" in "butter" when said quickly.

The full title of this collection, Paja inyja jarrak thangani-ngarri, has been provided by the Kimberley Language Resource Centre and combines four Kimberley languages:

  • paja means ‘many’ or ‘big mob’ in Walmajarri
  • inyja means ‘to go’ in Nyikina
  • jarrak means ‘to talk’ in Kija
  • thangani-ngarri means ‘with our languages’ in Bunuba