There are many times when you can’t find the word to describe exactly how you’re feeling or what’s going on. Often, the English word just isn’t quite right. That’s where Spread the Word steps in!
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Spread the Word celebrates the rich culture and languages of our First Nations people by introducing different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words that describe a unique situation when there’s no correlating English word.
In each episode, Indigenous comedians Bjorn Stewart and Katie Beckett meet kids struggling to find the perfect word. Language Warriors Bjorn and Kate call on their friends, Indigenous community members from Tasmania to far northern Western Australia, to share a word from their language.
In palawi kani, the language of Tasmanian Aborigines, saying warr will get someone’s attention really quickly. When your heart is beating fast from nervousness, the Yawuru people from Western Australia call that feeling bidbidgaja. If you’re a calm, no worries kind of person, perhaps because you know a bunch of very special words to explain feelings or situations, then kaynwoenag, a word from the Torres Strait Islander language of Kalaw Kawaw Ya, describes you.
Boasting over 500,000 words, you’d think the English language covers each and every situation, action or item in existence. Sadly, you’d be wrong. There are many common situations we experience every day that simply have no English words to describe them. Lucky for us Australians, we have hundreds of local Indigenous languages that can come to the rescue! It’s time to tap into these rich languages, find the most useful terms for Australians, and then Spread the Word.
Do you need a word to describe that feeling you get when you’re sick and cranky and just want everyone to leave you alone? In Yugambeh that’s called garu-garulen, and now you can use it every time you’re sick and just want to curl up under your doona by yourself. Ever turned a room upside down looking for something you’ve lost? Yes. You have! And you made a huge mess. In Wiradjuri they have one word for the whole scenario, dirranyamgarra. And how crazy that the Wiradjuri community came up with it thousands of years before your mum and dad could even think about getting cranky about your messy bedroom!
Over this ten-part series Spread the Word shares 10 different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander words from language groups across the country.