Being here

Learning the language of place

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  • Published 20220428
  • ISBN: 978-1-922212-71-9
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

BACK IN 2015, when we were getting the local language work going here at the Aireys Inlet Primary School in Mangowak, every Monday morning I’d try to fire up the whole-school assembly about Wadawurrung language. Each week the students learnt, and still do, new Wadawurrung words, and inevitably with those words came new ways of looking at the cultural history of their home landscape. On the first Monday of every month, and on other special occasions, they also sing the Mangowak Song, a boisterous yet melancholy and yearning piece written with some of the words they have learnt, the lyrics a mixture of English and Wadawurrung. This is the song’s first verse:

I’m from Mangowak where the murnong grows
Where the garra blooms along the wintry roads
I’ve got a smart tonton like the old ngoorang
Where the boonea swim that’s where I am

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