Resourcing an awakening language: Kaurna of the Adelaide Plains, South Australia

Rob Amery, Mary-Anne Gale, Susie Greenwood

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


This chapter reviews the range of resources produced for Kaurna, an awakening language from Adelaide, South Australia. Kaurna is known only from limited written historical documentation. Since 1990 a wide range of language resources have been produced to support the learning, teaching and re-introduction of the language. Resources include a dictionary, alphabet book, learner’s guide and phrasebook, but also innovative resources including a funeral protocols book and a pack of playing cards featuring Kaurna icons. Audio resources accompany many of the printed resources. Websites have been created to map Kaurna placenames and other Kaurna language in the public domain on Google Earth. Since 2012 many online resources have been produced including language games and the Pirltawardli (possum house) puppet show which exploits code-switching to introduce Kaurna to an English-speaking audience. Increasing use is made of social media: YouTube, IndigiTube, Instagram and Twitter. Resources are produced in collaboration with Kaurna people who often feature in the resources, be they books or videos. But there is still a long way to go when compared to other major world languages. Few children’s books, for instance, have been written. Hopefully, the Kaurna language experience might provide others with ideas to emulate or adapt to their own situations.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventFoundation for Endangered Languages Annual Conference: FEL 24 - Virtual
Duration: 23 Sept 202025 Sept 2020
Conference number: 24


ConferenceFoundation for Endangered Languages Annual Conference: FEL 24
Abbreviated titleFEL 24


  • Kaurna
  • Kaurna people
  • Indigenous languages
  • indigenous language teaching


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