Federal funding helps Eden group preserve local language

Care program manager at Twofold Aboriginal Corporation Alison Simpson, language worker Nathan Lygon and Eden Language Group program coordinator Sue Norman celebrate the news of the grant.

Care program manager at Twofold Aboriginal Corporation Alison Simpson, language worker Nathan Lygon and Eden Language Group program coordinator Sue Norman celebrate the news of the grant.

The Eden Language Group, working with Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, has been successful in gaining an Indigenous Arts and Language Grant for the next stage of their program called South Coast Language Succession Plan.

The group began collecting and recording South Coast language back in the early 2000s.

"It has been a long and slow endeavour but the success of this grant application is a testament to the value of doing things the right way," program coordinator Sue Norman said.

"The aims of the program are to respect the knowledge held by the Aboriginal community and to preserve the sound of the actual language spoken."

The methods and process of the program have been guided and run by the Indigenous Australian people of Eden and have led to the development of a data base of over 1300 recordings from 43 different people.

This material was then refined into an audio dictionary and language workbook which outlines a teaching and learning method devised to encourage confident use of the language within the community.

"The next stage is for me and the elders to work with younger community members to ensure the program continues on into the future," Ms Norman said.

"We are particularly lucky to have Nathan Lygon working on the program bringing his passion and commitment to this important work."

Mr Lygon said as a young Yuin man living on the coast he could not stress enough how important language was.

"As a child I was lucky to hear language spoken by my grandmother. Only a few words were passed down from her mother and uncle, but a few words are better than none," he said.

"I am so proud of our young people for picking up this work and carrying it forward.

"I am so grateful to our old people and all who have come before laying the foundations for us to build this work upon.

"The thought of losing an ancient language that was spoken here for thousands of years makes my heart heavy with sadness.

"So we must go on. So that one day my grandchildren can speak to theirs in the same tongue that my grandmother spoke those very few words to me."

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