Cultural diversity on display

HOBART’S cultural diversity was on display during the fifth annual Hobart Language Day, as the community celebrated the dozens of different dialects spoken across the city.

A free, family-friendly event held on Parliament Lawns on 30 March as part of the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL), Hobart Language Day 2019 featured a series of speeches and readings in Indigenous languages including palawa kani, Quechua, Zapoteco, Batak, Balinese, Nauatl, Karvetlian, Maori, Tamil, Nepali, Javanese, Teachew and others.

Patrons also had the opportunity to decorate an IYIL banner with ochre hand prints, sharpen their Chinese calligraphy skills, and enjoy traditional live music and dances from the Tasmanian Aboriginal, Indian, Nepalese and Peruvian communities.

Sonia Parra organised the inaugural Hobart Language Day in 2015 after arriving in Tasmania from her native Colombia and noticing just how many languages are in use here.

The first four Language Day events were held at Mathers House in Bathurst Street, but growing community interest – and the chance to tap into the Salamanca Market crowd – saw this year’s activities moved to Parliament Lawns.

Ms Parra thinks there may be more than 100 different languages spoken across Hobart, and it’s vital that none of them are lost.

“When you arrive in a new country it’s very important to learn the language, but it’s also important to maintain your own language,” she said.

“People should speak their own language sometimes with their kids, as it’s important for the next generation to maintain the mother tongue – people should be proud of it.

“Hobart Language Day is especially good for older people to be able to come here and read something in their own language, or meet someone who can talk their own language.”

Caption: Young members of Hobart’s Nepalese community before their performance at Hobart Language Day.

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The Hobart Observer is your monthly community newspaper, reaching over 24,000 homes and businesses in and around the City of Hobart. It is the product of Nicolas Turner, Justine Brazil, Ben Hope, Simon Andrews, Tobias Hinds and guest contributors, with support from advertisers.

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