Thiin speaker Peter Salmon of the Upper Gascoyne

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Added by First Languages Australia

Description Peter Salmon, now in his 80s is the last speaker of the Indigenous Thiin (or Thiinma) language. With only a few of his younger relatives able to understand Thiin (or Thiinma), Peter is keen for his language to be recaptured and revived before it is too late.

The Lyons River in the Upper Gascoyne region of Western Australia is his home country.

Raised by his mother in the days when many children were taken away from their Indigenous families, he is proud to carry the heritage of his language.

Peter has three favourite words that inspire his memory of younger days captured here for the ABC Indigenous Word Up project.:

bibi - Mother

nguurru - Horse

baba - water

Other Thiin (or Thiinma) words Peter shared with us:

Ngatha yinha ngurrala buna - I'm here now, I'm going on to my country

mithari - vicks bush

walhara - lemongrass

bugardi - snakewood

mardalha - beefwood

gunayija - creeping mulga

marndabilharu - goanna with green arm

jabardi - jam tree

jilhu - tea tree

yilirri - flat

gujuwi - red

birran - white

As the day passed with Peter travelling across country, his memories came alive as if they were today. Each tree, rock and animal we encountered were translated into Thiin before our eyes by this extraordinary living Thiin elder. Each word is translated by language centre worker Rosie Sitorius for ABC Awaye!.

ABC Open Producer: Susan Standen

This video was originally contributed to the ABC Open Mother Tongue project, which invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to share a story about their mother tongue.

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