G is for gugunyal: A Dhurga alphabet book

Dhurga is one of four traditional languages of the south coast of New South Wales, spoken by Yuin (Yuwinj) people between Nowra and Narooma and used as far inland as Braidwood and Araluen.

G is for gugunyal: A Dhurga alphabet book – just released by Aboriginal Studies Press (ASP) – helps new speakers pronounce the 24 sounds used in Dhurga while introducing the land and marine animals of Dhurga Country.

Author and illustrator Leanne Brook is a proud Murramarang Yuin woman who lives in Ulladulla. Leanne uses her art to connect with her culture, land, people, and language. She decided to learn Dhurga after starting work at Ulladulla Local Aboriginal Land Council to regain something that had been missing for her, for her community, and especially for her mother and Dhurga Elders.

‘Now I feel a sense of responsibility and a calling to help my community restore and teach our native tongue,’ Leanne says. ‘Our language connects us to our people and our physical world. Traditional languages are being reclaimed and spoken across Australia.

‘Fragments of Dhurga were kept by Elders and in books. Dhurga was sleeping; but is now being taught, learned and spoken by Yuin people.’

The beautiful illustrations in G is for gugunyal help readers to learn the sounds of the Dhurga language and they introduce creatures of the south coast that are part of local creation and dreaming stories. A QR code in the book leads the reader to a page to hear the Dhurga sounds and Dhurga words spoken by Yuin Elder Aunty Patricia Ellis.

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