30 Language cards

Sarah Kallman

At the least, I need words in different languages to comfort children when they’re upset or for toilet training. Can someone make a resource with simple, useful phrases that we could use with children? 85% of our children are Vietnamese but resources in any of Australia’s community languages would be great!

Jarowair Language Cards with language, picture and symbol

This resource connects with some helpful words and phrases of the Jarowair People of the Darling Downs area in Queensland.

Document file: Kallman Jarowair

*Please note that some of these references are historical as much of the Jarowair Language has been lost. Only a few written records remain.


Culture is often conveyed through language. Language is the means by which people connect. Language gives children a framework for their thoughts and allows them to express needs, feelings and imagination (USQ, 2019b). Even when the local Aboriginal children do not speak traditional languages, their cultural context is reflective of elements of traditional languages and language values (USQ, 2019c).

According to Paul Carmody (Australian Broadcasting Company Indigenous, 2019) Jarowair and Giabal language has very few speakers left. As Jeff Chesters stated, “The language had been lost, this makes the kids lost with their culture as well” (First Languages Australia, 2019). Educators that value and recognise the importance of traditional languages, support Aboriginal children to build a strong sense of cultural identity (USQ, 2019d).

This resource can be used in many ways, some cards may be placed around the room in places like “the waterhole” where the drink bottles are kept, or in the “meeting place” beside the yarning circle or group time mats. Other cards may be printed in duplicate to play matching games like go fish or memory. Additionally these could be used for active games in collaboration with the Yulunga resource, playing the game Kangaroo (using traditional local language) with extensions to include different animal movements. The applications for these cards are many and varied, and as more language is re-discovered educators can extend the cards to encompass many other words.

This approach is supported by the kindergarten curriculum. The Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline [QKLG], states that all kindergarten children should be “exploring alternative communication”, to attempt to communicate (Queensland Curriculum & Reporting Authority, 2018b). These alternative communication methods could range from signed/ non-verbal communication, but can also include an additional language. In this case Jarowair, Yagera and Gibal language is a valuable method of communication and relevant to the Darling Downs community, and cultural background of the children, so is a suitable choice.




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Gems and nuggets Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Kallman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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