Australian Indigenous Languages

There were around 300 distinct Indigenous languages spoken around Australia at the time of the first European contact. The number of languages still actively spoken by children is fewer than 20, and these languages are mostly in remote parts of Australia. They are used for everyday talk in a number of small communities. In recent years many people have begun to re-learn their families' languages. These languages are very important to their users as languages which connect them with their heritage. There are currently only five* Indigenous languages taught at Australian universities (*an additional two languages, Arrernte and Bininj Kunwok, have also been taught up until recently and will hopefully return in the future). Two of these five languages are still actively spoken, including by children in the community: Pitjantjatjara and Yolŋu Matha (Arrernte and Bininj Kunwok would also fall into this category). The remaining three languages which are taught at Australian universities are languages which are being revitalised by the community: Gamilaraay, Kaurna and Wiradjuri.

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