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Talking Deadly: My Grandmother's Lingo

Jake Duczynski sitting on a chair smiling at the camera

Jake Duczynski at Talking Deadly: My Grandmother's Lingo

On Wednesday 30 May, Indigenous Services hosted the second Talking Deadly event of 2018 in the Glasshouse at the Library. The team invited guest speaker Jake Duczynski - Animator, Designer and Director, to give a talk on the making of My Grandmother’s Lingo, a Walkley Award-winning animation contributing to the revitalisation of Marra language.

an image with written My grandmothers' lingo with a drawing of a butterfly

Jake began his talk by detailing how, in 2016, he was approached by SBS to develop an animation that would tell the story of Angelina Joshua, a young woman from the remote South-East Arnhem Land community of Ngukkur, and her plight to revive her Grandmother’s first language, Marra.

With only three fluent speakers remaining after Angelina’s Grandmother’s passing, Marra is critically endangered. In acknowledgement of this, My Grandmother’s Lingo was developed as a voice-activated interactive requiring the user to speak words in Marra to progress through each chapter. This crucial feature ensures the user is not only learning about the language but is ‘playing a role’ in its preservation.

During his talk, Jake spoke of the synergy between animation and Indigenous storytelling, particularly in the way it can bring Dreaming stories so beautifully to life. Over many months of consultation with the Ngukurr community, Jake was able to slowly render symbols, animals, colours and sound, all of which held meaning for the community and Angelina.

Jake said he hoped that above all, My Grandmother’s Lingo would raise awareness about the importance of language reclamation initiatives and the ongoing work of Angelina and the Ngukurr Language Centre.

Our team would like to thank Jake for being part of the Talking Deadly speaker series and for sharing his incredible work with the Library’s audiences. We hope you can join us for the next Talking Deadly with Lauren Booker – more details to come!


Jake Duczynski is a Designer, Animator and Director based on the south coast of NSW. A recent graduate of the Bachelor of Design in Animation (Hons) (2016) at the University of Technology, Sydney, he is the recipient of the UTS Young Alumni Award (2017) and the Walkley Award for Multimedia Storytelling (2016) for the animation My Grandmother’s Lingo. Jake is a Gamilaroi descendent with family ties to Moree.