Helping Nyoongar people reclaim their language

Commemorating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on the Year of Indigenous Language.

Indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their identities, culture and land for years, yet throughout history their rights have been violated. For many, even their language has been taken from them.

Today in Australia, of the estimated original 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only around 120 are still spoken. Of these, approximately 90 per cent are endangered.

'Knowledge of the Heart' is a powerful story of a language stolen and almost destroyed by oppressors. The Nyoongar people of South-West Western Australia are working hard to restore their language; it speaks to the core of their being, to their culture and to their understanding of themselves. It is the wisdom of their hearts.

This is a story which shows the power of restoring voice through language, to those who had it ripped away.

The Lord’s Prayer in Nyoongar

Ngalang Maaman, yira noonang Kooranyap-al,
noonang kol kooranyi.
Yoowal-koorl-oola kedela
nginda noonook nyiny Djelyib ngalang boodjeral.
Ngala koordook noonany etjenno Birdiyar ngalang boodjer,
war-djin noonook nyiny Birdiyar noonang Kooranyi Boodjer.
Yanga ngalany mereny ngala ngarn yennar kedela.
Nyinya-nyinya ngalang wara-doniny,
war-djin ngala nyinya-nyinya wara-doniny moortaman don ngalak.
Kidji yoowart barrang ngalany ngwidamap-ak djoriny-karriny,
Yalga maar-barrang ngalany ngarl Djenak yoowart barrang ngalany.
Noonook maar-barrang boodjer.
Noonook maar barrang mardayin.
Noonook maar-barrang binary.
Kalyakool wer kalyakool.

Our Father, high in your Holy Place,
your name is holy.
Let the day come
when you reign as King in our land.
We want you to become Boss of our land,
the same way you are Boss of your Holy Land.
Give us the food we eat every day.
Forgive our wrong-doing
the same way we forgive the wrong-doing people do to us.
And do not take us to the hard place of testing.
But hold us so the Devil cannot get us.
You hold the land.
You hold the power.
You hold the light.
For ever and for ever.

"Jesus is a storyteller. He had his language too and he explained his culture through parables, like how we do ours.”

How To Get Involved

Give to support Nyoongar Bible translation work

Your generous donation today will help support Nyoongar speakers as they translate the Bible for their community.

Resources in Australian Indigenous Languages

A translation of the Gospel of Luke to aid in their language’s resurgence and this was completed & published in 2014.

Nyoongar/English Gospel of Luke

The Nyoongar Gospel is set in parallel with the English, a glossary of Nyoongar words runs beneath the text.

About Bible Society

The message about the love of God found in Jesus Christ is just as important today as it has always been. That's why we champion the Bible to share this message with a world that desperately needs it. Our mission is to provide the Bible to those who don't have it - both here in Australia and around the world.