Sharing Wangkatja language

Sharing Wangkatja language

07 September 2022

In the news Public school life

A Goldfields teacher had a dream to share her grandmother’s language with the younger generation. So, she wrote a children’s book in Wangkatja to ensure it lives on for years to come.

Wangkatja woman and East Kalgoorlie Primary School language teacher Tanya Tucker has written a book called Nyaapa ngurltju nyurra nyawa?/What family members do you see? that features Wangkatja words for family.

East Kalgoorlie Primary School principal Sally Fowler and teacher Tanya Tucker.

The book, illustrated by Ashley Altes Art, includes words written phonetically to help with pronunciation.

Growing up, Ms Tucker did not speak Wangkatja. She learnt the language as an adult and has also completed Aboriginal language teacher training through the Department of Education.

Ms Tucker said the book was a step towards promoting and revitalising the Aboriginal language. 

“It feels great, and I am so proud to continue to revitalise my grandmother’s language through children’s books,” she said.

“It is important for me to share the Wangkatja language to the younger generation to ensure the continuation of not only the language, but our culture as well,” she said.

Speaking to the Kalgoorlie Miner, East Kalgoorlie Primary School principal Sally Fowler said having Ms Tucker as a language teacher at the school was an absolute asset.

“But now actually creating a book that celebrates the language and the culture of the community will promote the Aboriginal cultures and histories that we’re in,” she said.

East Kalgoorlie Primary School students reading teacher Tanya Tucker's book in Wangkatja.

“It’s just brilliant that we not only have a book with Wangkatja language, but we also have that expertise on site as well.”

Ms Tucker plans to write further books and is looking forward to completing her next book about animals in the area.