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Noongar Language and Culture
About this courseSkip About this course
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned photographs/videos in this course may contain images of deceased persons which may cause sadness or distress.
Noongar people are the original inhabitants of the vast geographical area in the south-western corner of Western Australia. They have been there for over 45,000 years. Through the millennia, ancient wisdom and culture have guided the people throughtheir interactions with the land, nature, and with one another.
In 1826, the Noongar land was first colonised by the British. What unfolded in the years that followed was catastrophic for Noongar people; the impacts of which are still seen and felt today.
Despite this dark history, Noongar culture has survived. Today, Noongar people are passionate about preserving their cultural knowledge while embracing the changes that come with living in a contemporary society.
This course provides an introduction to Noongar culture and language. Learners will be taken on a journey through Noongar boodja (Noongar country). They'll joinNoongar guides as they share knowledge and personal experiences of history, land,and culture.
Learners will be introduced to conversational Noongar - learning words and phrases that can be used in simple dialogue.
We hope this course enhances cultural understanding and respect for the Noongar people - and Aboriginal Australians, as a whole - more broadly.
Wandjoo noonakoort, which means: welcome everyone!
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- A range of conversational Noongar words and phrases
- How to incorporate and use Noongar words within basic conversational sentences
- Appreciation and respect for Noongar spiritual and cultural beliefs
- The importance of boodja (country) to Noongar people and protocols for respecting boodja
- Key events in recent Noongar history and ways to recognise the impacts of colonisation on Noongar culture, waangkaniny (language), society, and people
- How contemporary expressions of Noongar culture through art, music and dance can help Noongar people strengthen their cultural identity
- Examples of the vast cultural knowledge on boodja through bush medicines and bush foods
Module 1 – An introduction to speaking Noongar
In this first module, you will learn the basic principles of Noongar language. You will learn how to pronounce common Noongar sounds (vowels and consonants) and examine overall sentence structure and regional differences.
Module 2 – Wandjoo Noongar boodja (Welcome to Noongar country)
In this second module, you will examine Noongar people, their boodja (country) and important cultural protocols concerning boodja. You will be guided through the six Noongar seasons and learn about various aspects of Noongar spirituality including creation beliefs and totems.
**Module 3 – Koori yeyi (Past to today) **
In this third module, you will examine Noongar society pre-colonisation and learn about the key events (and rising tensions) that occurred following the arrival of the British settlers in 1826. Catastrophic segregation policies, land dispossession, and the attempted assimilation and genocide of Noongar culture and people will also be discussed. This module concludes by recognising the importance of reviving and celebrating culture today.
Module 4 – Ngalang moort koort (Family is our heart)
In this fourth module, you will learn about the heart of Noongar people’s lives - that of moort (family) and community. The kinship system, and the terms that identify who is who in the extended network that makes up Noongar families will be explored. This module will also illustrate ways in which family and communities ensure that culture and language are taught to younger generations.
Module 5 – Warangka, wongka, nyumbi (Song, story and dance)
Dance, music and art have always played a central role in Noongar culture. In this module, you will look at examples of how dance, music, and art have helped to strengthen cultural identity and build relationships not only for Noongar people – but also the wadjela (whitefellas) community.
Module 6 - Ngalang boodja moordit j (Our great country)
In this final module, you will return to boodja (country), to explore knowledge embedded in the land through bush medicines, bush foods, names of places, and in Noongar words themselves. This module aims to give you a glimpse into reading the land the ‘Noongar way’.
Learner testimonialsSkip Learner testimonials
Here are some reasons why our learners liked our course:
“[My favourite parts were the] videos from the course team and Noongar peoples. Their passion and willingness to share their knowledge and experiences placed a layer of authenticity and acceptance over an already wonderful course. I actually questioned the cultural appropriateness of myself as a wajela completing the course, as I did not want to offend anyone. These fears were echoed by others when I discussed my participation in the course to others. However, once I commenced the course my fears where set aside and I thoroughly enjoyed this course.”
“The medicine, us indigenous people having 6 weather seasons instead of 4, and the spirituality of the totems and dreamtime stories were really the highlights of the course for me, because those parts made me the most invested and made me have the urge to show my mom some videos and those were also the most kaadadjan I gathered from this course and about this beautiful boodja. :]”
“The audio files which enunciated the Noongar words was my favourite part. I was often surprised that the word sounded different to my interpretation of how it is pronounced.”