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Requesting Awabakal Language

We are thrilled with the interest we receive with language requests. We are finalising the Awabakal Grammar at the moment - and are grateful for your patience. 
We are often asked about specific words and names to bring awareness to the ancient history of Newcastle and surrounding areas. Meeting these requests can be more challenging than you would expect.

What you need to know:

  • Is this use of language appropriate?
    If you wish to name any object, place, organisation or event, we ask that you observe protocols and first contact MALTC for advice on whether it is fitting do so.

  • Aboriginal vocabulary is nearly entirely made up of thenatural environment. Native people are walking encyclopedias of their home. Just as you know where everything is in your household; the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc. You could tell me where most of your items are and where they are kept. This perspective is the same for Aboriginal People living with the landscape. The landscape is home. We know where everything is, how it got there and what particular activities happen in that space; You wouldn’t go to the bathroom in your kitchen. Every place has a purpose and a resource. We need to keep our home clean, tidy, and organised for our family. Everyone needs to help, and everyone has a role.  

  • Traditional Aboriginal people don’t view the world and landscape the same way as modern, Western people. 
    Boundaries overlap, peopleare multilingual and stories are shared over entire ecosystems. Our languages connect us all together.We also had our own formal ways of addressing others. Through the connectedness, we address each other as family. 

  • We won’t be able to supply words for modern and artificial things. 
    Chair, explorer, computer, car, shopping etc, are not words that exist in Australian Aboriginal Languages.There is language adoption from English,example: the word Motorcar turned into a Warlpiri adaptation of the word to fit the language: Murtukayila 

  • We can help if the word is conversational, the natural environment or a traditional artefact.
    Anything other than that will be English.

  • We don't claim ownership of the language
    Miromaa Aboriginal Language & Technology Centre (MALTC) does not claim ‘ownership’ of the Awabakal language itself. The Awabakal language belongs to Awabakal country.

  • Language changes as research deepens
    We will assist in ensuring that the Awabakal expression desired is the most grammatically, lexically and idiomatically apt expression insofar as can be reasonably determined at the time of the proposed naming. But as we travel on our language research journey, we discover new information that may change how a word is presented. This is the nature of First Nations' language work world over.

For more local information please visit the websites: 

Lake Macquarie Council 
Description: Page on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Awabakals: The first people of Rathmines
Description: Rathmines is a suburb of the City of Lake Macquarie

University of Newcastle
Description: Page on Awaba

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School Workshops

Our School Workshops give your children a chance to learn some of the Awabakal Language, the traditional Aboriginal language of the Lake Macquarie, Newcastle and Hunter Valley landscapes. The children thoroughly enjoy the interactive lessons and pick up on the language very quickly. The aim of the lessons is for the children and youth of today to start to speak a language that has not been spoken for a very long time, once the children know this they get very excited and want to jump in and have a go. 

Workshop Enquiry
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General consultancy: Awabakal Language

Our Awabakal Language & Culture Team are available to assist where possible in matters relating to Awabakal Language & Culture. Our Centre has a research and conservation development program, so we are regularly learning new things about  Awabakal language and culture.  

We have been consultants on many projects, including cultural content and voiceover consultants for the ‘Niiarrnumber Burrai (Our Country)’ virtual reality immersive journey project on behalf of the City of Newcastle.

Make a Consultancy Enquiry

Special relationship

We are fortunate to have a close relationship with First Languages Australia.

We are funded by