Language and meaning are highly plastic: they adapt to what speakers have to say.
AAP Image/Peter Eve
People still find ways to express old ways of speaking in a new language, so that language does not fundamentally alter their cultural identity.
November 2016 (left to right) Seraine Namundja, Donna Nadjamerrek, Julie Narndal and Cheryl Nadjalaburnburn preparing a new course in Bininj Kunwok, an Indigenous language in the Northern Territory.
Provided by Cathy Bow
In 60 years’ time, only 13 of Australia’s Indigenous languages will be left, unless something is done to encourage children to keep speaking their language.
Angurugu mission school children in the 1940s on Groote Eylandt, NT. Missions helped both erode and preserve Indigenous languages.
Groote Eylandt Linguistics
Australia was one of the most linguistically diverse places in the world but today, few people speak an Australian language.
An image of the landscape around Bairnsdale in the late-18th century. D. R Long (Daniel Rutter), between 1856 and 1883.
State Library of Victoria
Aboriginal songs found in the notebooks of a Victorian anthropologist shed light on the mystery of a ‘captive white woman’ that has been debated for generations.
Maningrida, a community on Australia’s remote north-central coast, is a language hotspot.
At the Maningrida football Grand Final in 2015, commentary was recorded in nine languages. But elsewhere, the threat of language loss poses a serious risk to our nation’s cultural inheritance.
Yingiya Guyula (seated right) wants to be allowed to use the Yolngu Matha language in the NT Legislative Assembly to represent his electorate.
The NT is the only jurisdiction in Australia mandating the use of English in the Legislative Assembly – despite the fact 42% of the population doesn’t speak English at home.
Could music one day be something we experience through augmented reality, responding to the way we move through the world? Sound supplemented with colours and shapes?
Mavis Wong/The Conversation NY-BD-CC
Today, we're hearing about a researcher who records birdsong, how tech changes music and why song might help address Indigenous language loss.
Melbourne in 1846: a view from Collingwood. T. E. Prout.
State Library of Victoria
Ngár-go (Fitzroy), Quo-yung (Richmond), Yálla-birr-ang (Collingwood), and Bulleke-bek (Brunswick), are just some of the Woiwurrung names uncovered in the notebooks of a 19th century anthropologist.
The spread of Pama-Nyungan was likely influenced by climate.
The origin of around 300 of Australia’s Aboriginal languages lies in Queensland, about 6,000 years ago.
Indigenous children can benefit greatly from learning in a language they understand.
Research shows many concepts are best learned in the language that the learner understands.
Reviving languages is no easy task – it needs teachers, a staged curriculum and resources.
The government’s plan to prioritise the revival of Indigenous languages in New South Wales is a welcome first step. Truly achieving it will take several more.
How many colors in your language’s rainbow?
Eye image via www.shutterstock.com.
New research investigates how people sequentially add new color terms to languages over time – and the results hold surprises about assumptions linguists have made for 40 years.
A billabong on SBS website My Grandmother’s Lingo, which takes viewers on an interactive journey through the Marra language.
My Grandmother's Lingo
A beautiful interactive SBS online documentary puts the spotlight on Marra, an Indigenous language spoken fluently by just three people.
Tom E Lewis translated parts of King Lear into Kriol for the Malthouse Theatre production of The Shadow King.
It’s spoken by up to 20,000 people, but most Australians have never heard of Kriol. The creole of North Australia has evolved into a distinct language – but is it helping or killing Indigenous dialects?
The focus on teaching anything about Australian languages in our universities has declined over the past decade.
From 2016, students will be able to study Aboriginal languages in high schools in New South Wales – but a clause in the design of the course means grades will not contribute towards ATARs.
About 20% of the Australian population speaks a language other than English. However there is little connection between the languages taught in schools, and the languages spoken in homes.
Despite few Australians knowing about Indigenous languages efforts are being made across the country to increase awareness of them.
Most Australians cannot manage the name of a single Indigenous language which is astonishing given there are 250 to choose from