Welcome back: the recovery of Australia’s Indigenous languages

Dharug* woman Jacinta Tobin is Buruberongal (belonging to the kangaroo, the people from around Richmond) and Canamadagal (belonging to the possum, the people from near Prospect). But growing up dyslexic in Emu Plains in the 1970s, she didn’t know the names of the western Sydney clan groups of her ancestors, or know they were "Dharug [...]

By |2020-11-26T16:19:33+00:00November 26th, 2020|Australia, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

The next generation is bringing Australia’s ancient languages into the future

Before colonisation, over 250 First Nations languages were spoken in Australia. Now, just over 100 are still in use and 90 per cent are considered "endangered". "Without your language, you're nobody," Ms Holden said. "Your language describes your country and your culture. That's why it's so important for us." Ms Holden is one of a [...]

By |2020-11-21T15:28:58+00:00November 21st, 2020|Australia, First Nations language, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

‘The kids soak it up’: How Aboriginal language transformed a school

Aboriginal elder Michael Kulka overheard a conversation between students that stopped him in his tracks while on a recent visit to the local primary school at Mossman, an hour north of Cairns in far north Queensland. It wasn’t the topic of the discussion that struck him, but the fact that the children were speaking in [...]

By |2020-03-02T16:12:25+00:00March 2nd, 2020|Aboriginal languages, Australia, Education|0 Comments

How New Indigenous Languages Are Changing Australia

Before European colonization, as many as 300 languages were spoken on continental Australia, reflecting the cultural diversity among its original inhabitants. Today, only about 40 to 60 of these languages remain, with more than half of them no longer learned by any children. Yet the dynamic nature of language is giving some indigenous groups and [...]

By |2020-02-04T14:32:53+00:00February 4th, 2020|Australia, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Reviving aboriginal language through literature and tech

A group of academics and indigenous language advocates are using technology and books to try to revive an endangered aboriginal language. Dr Hilary Smith is a linguist and author who has just launched a series of children's books written in the aboriginal Gamilaraay language. She's been working for the last four years in Gunnedah, north-east [...]

By |2020-01-18T17:43:25+00:00January 18th, 2020|Australia, Endangered language, Gamilaraay language|0 Comments

Researchers map ancient language in West Australian outback

Amid widespread concern about the disappearance of Indigenous languages, the former Catholic mission of Balgo is located in a linguistic melting pot that is thriving after tens of thousands of years. Now, scientists want to map the local "lingua franca" called Kukatja, which is spoken more fluently than English by residents of all ages and [...]

By |2019-12-29T13:09:55+00:00December 29th, 2019|Aboriginal languages, Australia|0 Comments

Indigenous language puzzle receives missing piece after freak find buried in old book

Caroline Hughes, who researches the Ngunnawal language of the Canberra region, made the find during a workshop last week. The words, buried in a book held in Adelaide, were drawn to her attention by a relative she met while tracing her family history. "She mentioned to me in an email last week that she'd found [...]

By |2019-09-17T14:09:05+00:00September 17th, 2019|Australia, Indigenous languages|0 Comments

Australia’s Ancient Language Shaped by Sharks

The tiger shark was having a really bad day. Other sharks and fish were picking on him and he was fed up. After fighting them, he met up with the hammerhead shark and some stingrays at Vanderlin Rocks in the waters of Australia’s Gulf of Carpentaria to speak of their woes before they set out [...]

By |2019-05-15T18:01:36+00:00May 15th, 2019|Australia, Language|0 Comments

Millennial Aboriginal Australians Have Developed Their Own Language

Millennials, in a way, are a firmly bilingual group, thanks in no small part to “textspeak.” With the rise of Web 2.0 at the turn of 21st century, instant messaging slang and the bevy of acronyms that resulted have become a de facto marker of age, if not cool-factor. Down under, in the remote village [...]

By |2018-10-12T10:04:04+00:00October 12th, 2018|Aboriginal, Australia, Language, Warlpiri|0 Comments

Explainer: how Tasmania’s Aboriginal people reclaimed a language, palawa kani

Truganini’s death in Hobart in May 1876 attracted worldwide attention. She was widely, but wrongly, believed to have been the last Aboriginal person to have survived the Tasmanian genocide. Her demise symbolised the devastating impacts of British imperialism on Indigenous peoples. Yet Tasmanian Aboriginal people continue to live on the Bass Strait Islands, in rural [...]

By |2018-07-19T10:38:09+00:00July 19th, 2018|Australia, Language, Tasmania|0 Comments