2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

The United Nations General Assembly has 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.

You can join the conversation on social media by using the hashtags #IYIL2019 and #IndigenousLanguages.

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

The official Year of Indigenous Languages page includes an Events page to keep track of events taking place in your local area and a Resources page with access to a range of projects taking place across the globe.


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.

Aust Indigenous Languages Map

Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages

The Corporation is focused on retrieving, recording and researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages.

Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL)

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.

Mewal Song Project

The Mewal song project records, interprets and preserves the Mewal songs for future generations.  This project,  supported by the Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics at Batchelor Institute, was a response to a request by the Wurrkigandjarr group who are the traditional owners of the songs.

Treasure Language

"Please don't call ours an ethnic language, or a heritage language, or an indigenous language.  Call our language a Treasure Language.  Our language was nearly lost, but we're rediscovering it and we want to share it." — the Rama people of Nicaragua. Treasure Language Storytelling events are a fresh and intimate style of community-based gathering that celebrates the diverse sea of languages spoken in our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. At any given performance, held anywhere in the world, a small collection of storytellers shares tales in their mother tongue then translates these into the dominant language of the audience.

Mawng Ngaralk

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.

My pride and joy stick

Taungurung Elder Aunty Lee Healy discusses the no longer lost Taungurung language of Central Victoria.

The Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project

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.

Aboriginal language map

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.

Gambay - first languages map

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

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.