Friday, 4 March 2011

ABC reports on language survival in South Australia

The soon to be lost languages of our Indigenous cultures

ABC reports on a five year project at the University of Adelaide, tracking the survival rates of several indigenous languages.

Pitjantjatjarra and Yankunytjatjara, are reported as being the two dominant indigenous languages of South Australia, with others being "severely endangered".

The article states that generational attitudes and relocation are leading to languages not being passed on to younger generations, and that most of the interviewees involved in the study primarily speak English.

A positive point mentioned in the article is that a sense of ancestral pride and heritage, along with a sense of language ownership and "a wish to continue dialect preservations through non-governmental agencies."

It is interesting to note that, despite the assertion by one interviewee in the university's report that
"It is everybody‟s responsibility to keep Indigenous language alive, by supporting the teaching of it in schools. And acknowledging that they are languages in their own right and not dialects."
The word dialect appears three times in the ABC article, in reference to indigenous languages. However, this could be interpreted as a stylistic effect, driven by the appearance of the word language in about half of the paragraphs.

Also included is a link to the full report delivered to the Office for the Arts (

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