2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages
The United Nations General Assembly declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people’s daily lives. Language is not only as a tool for communication, education, social integration and development, but also as a repository for each person's unique identity, cultural history, traditions and memory. But despite their immense value, languages around the world continue to disappear at an alarming rate. By raising awareness around Indigenous languages in 2019 will not only benefit the people who speak these languages, but also enable others to appreciate the important contribution these languages make to our world's rich cultural diversity.
At the time of colonisation, more than 250 Indigenous languages were spoken across the country, including 800 dialectal varieties. Today, there has been a resurgence in the need to preserve and revive Indigenous languages across Australia in an attempt to halt the loss of culture and linguistic diversity amongst Australia's First Peoples.
The Corporation is focused on retrieving, recording and researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages.
The Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL) works with Indigenous communities across Australia and the region to expand and strengthen Indigenous language research, and to support efforts by communities to maintain their linguistic and cultural heritage.
This project website features an online Mawng Ngaralk dictionary, videos and sound recordings of Mawng and other community languages from the area. Mawng is the common language spoken on Warruwi, an island also known as South Goulburn Island in the North West of Australia's Arnhem Land.
Taungurung Elder Aunty Lee Healy discusses the no longer lost Taungurung language of Central Victoria.
The Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project aims to preserve and revitalise some of the oldest languages in the world by locating, digitising and providing access to Indigenous word lists, language records and other cultural documents.
This map is just one representation of many other map sources that are available for Aboriginal Australia. Using published resources available between 1988–1994, this map attempts to represent all the language, social or nation groups of the Indigenous people of Australia.
First Languages Australia is working with regional language centres nationally to develop a map of Australian languages that reflects the names and groupings favoured by community.
First Languages Australia is working toward a future where Aboriginal language communities and Torres Strait Islander language communities have full command of their languages and can use them as much as they wish to.