International Year of Indigenous Languages

The Centre is proud to support the UNESCO International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019. Our researchers are at the forefront of working with indigenous communities to document, preserve and revitalise the precious linguistic heritage of Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

3 June 2019

Mother tongue

Elizabeth Ellis

A chance find of a language fragment buried in archives of a family farm sheds light on a forgotten Indigenous language. Jane Faure-Brac reports on how the find is emblematic of the United Nation’s Year of Indigenous Languages. Read more...

31 May 2019

Indigenous language teachers win Patji-Dawes Award

Steve Morelli and Gary Williams at book launch

Two teachers of Australian Indigenous languages are the joint winners of the Patji-Dawes Award – Australia’s premier award for achievement in teaching languages other than English. Read more...

21 May 2019

Gurindji sign language films win ICTV award

Takataka ICTV award recipients

The Gurindji Takataka sign language project has taken out the 2019 ICTV (Indigenous Community Television) Video Award for Best Language Film. Find out more...

18 May 2019

Video: The genius of Australian Indigenous languages (public lecture)

Rachel Nordlinger delivering public lecture

On 6 February, Professor Rachel Nordlinger, one of the country’s foremost experts on Australian Indigenous languages, explained their unique importance to an audience of hundreds. Watch here...

8 May 2019

New book on Murrinhpatha questions concept of the ‘word’

Nguvudirr Jeramiah Tunmuck and John Mansfield

Murrinhpatha Morphology and Phonology is the culmination of eight years' work on one of the world's most complex and fascintaing languages by Dr John Mansfield. Read more...

2 May 2019

Moli det Bigibigi rides into Australian Reading Hour

Karen Manbulloo at Sydney Opera House

Karen Manbulloo, author of Moli det bigibigi (Moli the pig) has been named as a Child Ambassador for this year’s Australian Reading Hour. Read more...

15 April 2019

The 14 Indigenous words for money on our new 50 cent coin

Indigenous languages 50 cent coin

The coin, developed in consultation with Indigenous language custodian groups, features 14 different words for 'money' from Australian Indigenous languages. Felicity Meakins and Michael Walsh ask where these words came from. Read more...

2 April 2019

Video: The ‘ecology’ of deaf sign languages in PNG

PNG deaf sign language seminar

In this seminar, Lauren Reed, Alan Rumsey and local advisor John Onga outline their work documenting these barely studied languages and present one fascinatng case study from the Western Highliands. See more...

27 March 2019

The ABCs of language revival

Gamilaraay 'alphabet' poster

When Hilary Smith began working with the Gamilaraay people of northern NSW on the revival of their language, she quickly hit upon an  stumbling block: strong interest, but low confidence. Bringing a language to life is as tricky as A,B,C. Find out more...

25 March 2019

Aboriginal Australia’s smash hit that went viral

Wajarra singers

The Wanji-wanji song has travelled thousands of kms over 150 years. Follow the journey with our researchers Myfany Turpin, Brenda Croft, Felicity Meakins and ClintBracknell in The Conversation. Read more...

21 March 2019

Technology yarning

i-tjuma ipad still

Tjinytjatjunku tjuma is the ancient art of telling stories while drawing in the sand. Now, thanks to iPads, storytellers of all generations can share their tales with the world while drawing on the screen. Read more...

13 February 2019

PhD opportunities in Indigenous Language Technologies 

Grant Thompson with Opie

Develop tech at the University of Queensland for under-resourced Australian languages through machine learning, social robotics, apps, co-design projects with communities and educational games. Apply by 10 March. Learn more...  

30 January 2019

Preserving the Kunwinjku language of West Arnhem Land

Cathy Bow and Seraine Namundja

The Charles Darwin University (CDU) and the Australian National University (ANU)  have launched the first university-level course teaching Kunwinjku - an endangered Aboriginal language spoken by the Bininj people of West Arnhem Land in northern Australia. Read more...

24 January 2019

Fishing up a huge surprise: tracing ancient sawfish with Indigenous knowledge

Sawfish rock art site

Could the ocean-dwelling sawfish swim 500km inland? The CSIRO's Double Helix magazine investigates an ancient mystery using Inigenous knowledge and Western science. Read more... 

22 January 2019

The state of Australia's Indigenous languages – and how we can help people speak them more often

Tindale's map of Aboriginal tribes

In 60 years’ time only 13 of Australia’s languages will be left unless something is done now to encourage Indigenous children to keep speaking their language, and to encourage children from other language groups to start speaking their heritage languages. Jane Simpson writes in The Conversation. Read more...

2 January 2019

Takataka: Gurindji Sign Language videos

Gurindji sign language video

Jenny Green and Felicity Meakins have collaborated with Cassandra Algy and other Gurindji people, and the Karungkarni Art and Culture Aboriginal Corporation, to produce 15 short videos demonstrating signs for people, places, artefacts and actions. Watch them on ICTV...

  • Australian Government
  • The University of Queensland
  • Australian National University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • Western Sydney University