The Anaiwan Language Revival Project is bringing language alive with the opening of their new hub

LANGUAGE REVIVAL: Bailey Widders, Steve Widders, Susan Briggs and Bill Widders want to share their language, Anaiwan, with the community.
LANGUAGE REVIVAL: Bailey Widders, Steve Widders, Susan Briggs and Bill Widders want to share their language, Anaiwan, with the community.

A LANGUAGE that has existed since time immemorial is being revived with one of the newest trends on the Internet – crowdfunding.

Starting with a lexicon of just 300 words, the program has seen an addition 200 Anaiwan words developed, and this Saturday the program will open its permanent language hub.

Anaiwan man Callum Clayton-Dixon said the goal is for future generations to be able to one day speak the language fluently.

“The goal isn’t just to pepper our English with Anaiwan language, it’s to eventually be able to have fluent conversations,” Mr Clayton-Dixon said.

“Aboriginal languages are not just communication devices, they’re ways of relating with both people and country as well.

“Connected to them is story, place, traditional knowledge – we’re not just trying to retrieve words from these old records, because often they were recorded without any context.”

Trawling through archival records beginning with the colonisation of Armidale by John Oxley in 1818, the group has revived a language that Wikipedia still says is extinct.

Now, with the help of the community, the group is curating an Anaiwan Language Knowledge Book.

Anaiwan elder Steve Widders said the project is about identity.

“We have to reinforce that this is our place and it’s backed up by the language,” Mr Widders said.

“This place is called the New England – those people forced their culture on us and told our ancestors that this language couldn’t be spoken.

“It’s about pride in who we are, we were one of the first groups here to lose our language.”

Anaiwan woman Susan Briggs said for her the language is instrumental in reviving the culture.

“It’s all about identity, to say that this is Anaiwan is one thing but we haven’t been able to live it,” Ms Briggs said.

“Through language we’ll be able to tell the stories, sing and dance.”

The Anaiwan Language Hub, at 93 Faulkner Street will officially open on November 11 at 10am.

All are welcome to attend.