Preserving Mpakwithi language

[supplied by NIAA]


Therra Kaffry (Cheeky little hairy man). Image: supplied

Pama Language Centre is working with First Nations of Cape York Peninsula to revive and preserve the 149 threatened languages in the region.

In the 3rd of our series on language preservation, we bring a happy song clip about the cheeky Therra Kaffry which was composed and recorded by Mpakwithi Language Champion, Susan Kennedy from New Mapoon.

Kaffry is happy when he's running, hopping, climbing, eating, swimming and reading and writing. Therra Kaffry, a bundle of cheeky happy energy, who plays most of the day, teaches and shows us lots of fun and useful Mpakwithi verbs.

Therra Kaffry is much more than a song clip. This song is the lead track to a rich bundle of Mpakwithi language learning resources based on song and art, including a picture book, read aloud e-book and two fun and immersive Mpakwithi language lessons led by Susan Kennedy.

Susan also illustrated the Therra Kaffry picture book. It is one of the first 3 texts ever written in Mpakwithi. Joshua McHugh created animations for the video of Susan’s original illustrations.

The Mpakwithi language of Tentpole Creek on the West Coast of Cape York Peninsula is a revival language currently spoken by just four people, Susan Kennedy and her sisters Agnes Mark, Victoria Kennedy and Pama Language Centre Linguist Xavier Barker.

The sisters are working with Pama Language Centre to develop learning resources and create language transmission opportunities to revive their beautiful Mpakwithi language.

Language lessons featuring Therra Kaffry are available at:

  1. Mpakwithi Doing Words with Susan Kennedy

  2. Kaffry Chwini (Kaffry Says) with Susan Kennedy – verb action game.


All products are available from the Pama Language Centre online bookstore.


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