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Our Language Matters - Ngandi and Kriol

minority languages, Technology

Date: 5 July 2017

What are you doing tickling Grant’s ear Opie?

This is Grant Thompson with Opie in the CoEDL robotics laboratory at the University of Queensland. Grant is a Ngandi man of the Wurlngarri clan. He works at the Ngukurr Language Centre as a language worker and teaches his language Ngandi at the local Ngukurr school. Ngandi is a critically endangered language, which Grant calls “sleeping language”. Grant is also working with linguists to advocate for better understanding of Kriol - a newer language spoken across large areas of northern Australia. We hope that Grant taught Opie some Kriol and Ngandi. That’s because Opie is a classroom robot and as such, works with a team of researchers who are interested in designing robots that can socially interact with young students in the classroom setting, including classroom settings in remote communities where English is not always the first language children learn. We think Opie would impress the teacher if he knew Ngandi and Kriol. Don’t you?

Grant also recently gave a seminar with CoEDL researcher Greg Dickson about Kriol and we think you should check it out:

The ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (CoEDL) is celebrating the work of language workers this week as part of NAIDOC week. Below are links to some earlier stories:




  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University

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