The word’s out about survey

Caitlyn WattsPilbara News
Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre linguist Logan Simpson.
Camera IconWangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre linguist Logan Simpson. Credit: Picture: Caitlyn Watts

A community survey designed to help to build and grow community knowledge about different Aboriginal languages in the Pilbara toured Karratha and Roebourne last week.

The Pilbara Aboriginal Languages survey conducted by the Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre heard from the local community to find out what needs and demands there are to keep languages strong and ensure knowledge is passed on to younger generations.

WMPALC linguist Logan Simpson said the aim of the survey was to find out what languages are being spoken in the Pilbara and by how many people as current statistics were outdated.

“It’s kind of like a census and it’s just asking Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in the Pilbara to let us know which languages they are speaking and how well, even if it is only English,” he said.

“We are doing it just so we can have an update on our numbers on how many people are speaking each language because usually they do these kinds of surveys but there hasn’t been one done here in over 20 year I think.”

Mr Simpson said when the survey is complete it will help guide language projects.

“Once we have this information we will be able to better plan language projects and apply for funding as well because it’s kind of difficult to do both of those when you don’t know exactly how many speakers you have throughout a certain language,” he said.

“It helps us see where people are as well because people are not necessarily in their traditional areas anymore.

“When we are done we will share the information publicly so people planning their own language projects or any of the Aboriginal corporations that want to plan their projects as well can use the information.”

The survey is expected to be open until May next year and will eventually tour other regions in the Pilbara including remote Aboriginal communities.

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