Language

Most of the Balgo community speaks Kukatja, which is one of the Western Desert languages. It is the main means of everyday communication. Some of the many languages spoken at Wirrimanu are: Kukatja, Walmajarri, Jaru, Pintipi, Warlpiri and Kriol. Most of the adults are trilingual, and, except the elderly, do have s sufficient command of English to communicate with Non-Aboriginals for survival needs, for example at the store, and with administration personnel. General community meetings are conducted in Kukatja. However some Aboriginal Council meetings are conducted in English, in the presence of the non-Aboriginal persons. As the council comes to accept more responsibility, more and more discussions are held in Kukatja.

(The first full dictionary of the Kukatja language was produced in December 1992. Father Hilaire Valiquette, o.f.m, worked for 21 months on the project, initially using the work compiled by Father Anthony Peile S.A.C, who lived at Balgo for fifteen years, and then with many local people especially the older people and Helen Nagomara, Leo Lee and Anne Darkie. His work is mainly still on disk, but he has published a dictionary of 7,000 words for school used. A small grammar is compiled as part of the dictionary.)