Language Nest to be launched in Alice Springs

May 25, 2023

Pertame Ngetya Untya

Pertame School logo

Pertame (Southern Arrernte) is a language spoken in the country south of Mparntwe (Alice Springs). With less than 30 Elder fluent speakers, the language is considered endangered. Without urgent interventions like this, the Pertame language is in danger of falling silent. 

The Pertame School is already creating a vibrant and connected Pertame community through language and cultural renewal, and is preparing to also launch a language nest for 0-5 year olds this June. 

The Pertame Ngetya Untya (Language Nest) is set to launch in June, at the Yipirinya Childcare Centre. This will be a playgroup running as a true immersion language nest. It will be open to Pertame 0-5 year olds and their parents and carers, to provide young Pertame children a full immersion in their language before moving into the English-speaking school system. 

The Ngetya Untya will be led by Pertame Educators and guided by fluent Elders. A language nest is a space where young children can be raised in their language through interactions with Elders and Educators, to mimic natural language learning where infants and children are provided repeated exposure to their language, and English is excluded. Language Nests also align with traditional intergenerational transmission methods.

Because English language surrounds Pertame speakers wherever they go, English will be left at the door of this playgroup, with communication in Pertame or by non-verbal communication only! This is what is meant by full immersion; every child and their carer will be surrounded by only Pertame language, laying strong foundations for community members to develop confidence in their language and cultural identity.

The Ngetya Untya will officially launch at the start of June 2023, and run for four days a week, providing up to 20 hours a week of language immersion. This aims to mimic natural language learning for those hours the children and their carers attend.

For more information, see

Pertame Ngetya Untya identity chant