Due to current circumstances, this page has been updated but will no longer be added to or maintained until further notice.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that the following may contain images and voices of deceased persons.
There are more than 200 Australian Indigenous languages. Less than 20 languages are strong, and even these are endangered : the others have been destroyed, live in the memories of the elderly, or are being revived by their communities. 1
In recent years, there has been an increase in the teaching of Indigenous languages in government, Catholic & independent schools. In 2005, when 133 languages were taught in schools, 45 were Indigenous languages. A listing of most of these can be found from the research study into The State and Nature of Languages in Australian Schools. 2
By 2008 it had risen to more than 80 languages and about 29 000 students. 3 It is hoped this increases so further language loss is avoided.
This page gives access to information about Indigenous languages, resources, curriculum offerings, community sites, government sites and studies, more.
An Indigenous Language Map is found at the Australian ABC. ‘Move your mouse over the map to reveal the detail’ through a magnified circle.
- Aboriginal English
Diana Eades, UNE. Background, vocabulary, sounds, some grammatical features, pragmatics, resources.
- Australian Aboriginal English
Phonology, grammar, lexicon, references, links. Wikipedia.
- Modern Aboriginal Language
Creole, Aboriginal English.
Bardi on the Web.
‘There are a number of online and published resources providing background to the history and etymology of Aboriginal words and place names spoken in Sydney and NSW’.
- Barngarla Dictionary
Apple, Free. ‘Explore and learn the language and culture of the Barngarla people anywhere in the world, for free ! Search in Barngarla and English or use our traditional search of Images’.
‘Australian Aboriginal language which was spoken in the Gulf of Carpentaria region close to the Northern Territory/Queensland border’. Language information, links. Fairly technical presentation.
- Gurindji Multimedia Dictionary
Standalone Version, Intro, Lexicon, English-Gurindji, more.
Overview, Dictionary, Resources.
- Kamilaroi - Gamilaraay
- New !
Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages
‘A digital archive of endangered texts in Aboriginal languages of the Northern Territory. This is a living archive, with connections to the people and communities where the books were created’. Their page New ! For teachers is useful, while their New ! Map page shows language areas and language centres.
Background to the work being done in this area. For practical activities, try the Ngalia Picture Dictionary, developed in 2013.
- Noongar Dictionary by Rose Whitehurst
- Pilbara Language
‘To view information about each of the Pilbara’s languages, click on the language of your choice in the “Languages of the Pilbara” section. Here you will find an introduction to each language and, for some languages, E-Book Dictionaries and past news stories about Wangka Maya’s work’.
- Warlpiri - Lexicon
Download for tablet, standalone version, About Warlpiri, English-Warlpiri, more.
- Western Australian Aboriginal Languages
Handbook of Languages from south of the Kimberleys. Archived version.
- Wiradjuri Dictionary
Apple, Free. ‘Explore and learn the language and culture of the Wiradjuri people anywhere in the world, for free ! Browse the dictionary by letter, categories and common phrases. Search in Wiradjuri and English or use our traditional search of images’.
- Yuwaalaraay gaay Gamilaraay garay
‘Yaama ! Welcome to the Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay home page, the central site for information about the Yuwaalaraay and Gamilaraay languages of northern New South Wales. Find language learning lessons, information on pronunciation, and in the Guwaabal section there are twelve stories in Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay with transcriptions, English translations and background notes’. You can go to Gayarragi, Winangali ‘an interactive multimedia resource for Gamilaraay and Yuwaalaraay. Free for use by individuals and Gamilaraay Yuwaalaraay organisations’.
Includes schools and other educational sources. For further information at the school level, check the Indigenous Education page.
- New !
and Culture Nests
‘The Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests operate within participating schools to provide Aboriginal students and their families with a continuous pathway of learning, from preschool to Year 12 and into tertiary education’. A New ! Fact Sheet about these is available here.
- Updated !
Aboriginal Languages of Western Australia
Curriculum Council WA. Details of the syllabus. Documents available.
- Updated !
R–10 Languages [Australian Indigenous] Teaching Resource [SACSA]
‘Written by junior primary, primary and secondary teachers with the support of, and in collaboration with. policy and program officers’.
- Effective Teaching
and Learning Strategies
‘This resource guide lists strategies that have proved successful in the teaching and learning of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. It has been adapted from several sources, including international settings’. QCAA
Languages of Victoria : Revival and Reclamation
Senior Studies in Victoria. Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority.
Language, Culture and Communities
‘Homepage for Aboriginal languages. Please use the right-hand menu to navigate this section’. Department of Education, NSW
- New !
Mapping Aboriginal Perspectives and Cross-curriculum Content
Covers multiple topics and all levels. NSW.
- New !
NSW Aboriginal Languages Map
Shows the various languages and areas where these are spoken.
- Rediscovering Indigenous Languages
‘The Rediscovering Indigenous Languages project aims to make accessible the rich archival collections of the State Library of New South Wales. The site features historic word lists, records and other documents relating to Indigenous Australian languages’.
- DECCW Aboriginal Languages Policy
NSW Environment & Heritage. Download a copy from the site.
- Indigenous Languages - A National Approach
Abstract, access to full-text.
Languages and Arts Program
Department of Communications and the Arts. ‘The Indigenous Languages and Arts program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to revive and maintain languages, and to develop and present art’.
Organisations & Associations
- Aboriginal Studies Electronic Data Archive
‘Computer-based [digital] materials about Australian Indigenous languages’.
Read the information here, then go to the Main Page to access the language database.
Collectors of Words
‘These word lists are highly sought after by AIATSIS clients and are presented in this online exhibition for information and ease of access to enable further research. Further information about those who compiled the word lists is given in each section of the exhibition’.
- Databases and Indexes
Scroll down to the language area. Other databases may also be of use.
- Indigenous Australian
Video and transcript, links to language resources, further reading and resources.
AIATSIS. Provides links to Manuscripts and Books, Pictorial works and Sound.
- Languages and their status in Aboriginal
The first chapter from a book on Aboriginal languages and culture.
‘Connects individuals and organisations interested in Australian Indigenous languages’.
Read the information here, then go to the Main Page to access the database.
- Pathways Thesauri
‘The Pathways thesaurus is made up of three separate thesaurus headings : Australian place names, Indigenous language groups and people and subjects relating to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies’.
- Second National Indigenous Languages
Survey Report 2014
‘Offers key insights for governments and communities into the current situation of Australian languages, how they are being supported and how best to continue this support’.
- Australian Indigenous Language
National Library of Australia. ‘The language groups listed in this research guide are first sorted by State and Territory [although there will be some overlap], and then arranged alphabetically’.
- Australian Society for Indigenous Languages
Dictionaries for a number of languages, available for download or use as apps, keyboards, translation software, fonts, advocacy, submissions, more.
- Updated !
‘The national body for community based Indigenous language programs in Australia’. Languages, guides to community protocols, research, newsletter more.
- New ! Indigenous Languages Programmes
- New ! Kids learning Indigenous Languages
- First Languages Australia
‘Working with partners to increasing awareness of Australia’s first languages’.
- Indigenous Languages Collection
State Library of NSW. ‘These records are vocabularies and other language material from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and date from 1788 to the 1930’s. More than 40 different language groups from all Australian states and territories have been identified in over 200 original items’.
- Updated !
Muurrbay Aboriginal Language and Culture Co-operative
Language courses and resources.
- Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages
‘Focused on retrieving, recording, researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages with programs now looking at educational tools to teach the Indigenous community about language’. Their Links Page is worth visiting.
- Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre
‘We will use our expertise, knowledge and sensitivity to record and foster Aboriginal languages, culture and history’. Programs, language, resources, translating, more. Resources has several downloads.
- A School Lesson in Aboriginal language Guugu Yimidhirr
‘Take a class with Guugu Yimidhirr teacher, Lillian Bowen, as she teaches children in Hope Vale’. 6.44 minutes
- Updated !
Information from the Central Land Council. Covers language families, Spelling; orthographies, and pronunciation; Pronouncing Aboriginal words; Bilingual education and two way schools; more.
- Aboriginal Languages of Australia
Annotated links to 180 resources for about 60 languages. Stories and Texts in Languages can be found here.
- ARDS - Language Links
A small collection of annotated links from the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services.
Aboriginal Language Material from the Flint Papers
University of Queensland Library. ‘The Flint Papers Boxes which contain materials relating to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages or to varieties of English spoken by Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people’.
- Australian Aboriginal Languages Student Blog
‘A place to share anything at all that’s interesting and related to the languages of Australia. WARNING : We wish to advise that this blog may contain names, voices and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed away’.
- Australian Languages
Reference compilations, workshop information and reports, blogs, particular languages, particular linguists, some dictionaries and other resources. David Nash, ANU.
- English : Aboriginal Language
Recordings in English and Indigenous languages.
- Holding Our Tongues
ABC Radio National. ‘Holding our Tongues is a Hindsight project about the long and painful task of reviving Aboriginal languages. Click on place names on the map to listen to examples of language, watch archival video or find more information’.
- Indigenous Australian Languages
Common features, classification, references, links. Wikipedia.
- Indigenous Language
National Museum of Australia. ‘Australian English borrowed more than 400 words from some 80 Aboriginal languages’. Flash interactive area, audio files, more. Part of a larger section on the Australian language.
- Updated !
Indigenous Languages Programs in Australian
Schools - A Way Forward
2008 ACER Report. Abstract, PDF and Word files.
- Updated ! Inquiry into language learning in Indigenous Communities
House Standing Committee on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Information about the inquiry, Terms of reference, Submissions, Public hearings and Transcripts, Media releases, Report whole or parts].
- Updated !
Access a map of the major tribal/language groups in Indigenous Australia. Click on individual sections to zoom in on that area.
- Languages of Australia
Extensive listing of languages including Indigenous languages. Title, culture, spread, levels of literacy, geographical spread, more.
of the Australian Aborigines
L.E. Threlkeld 1858. Copy of the original document.
- New !
… Australian voices
Reconciliation Australia. ‘For tens of thousands of years, hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages have been spoken across Australia. Let’s talk … Australian voices and what we can do to keep them alive and strong today’.
- List of English
Words of Australian Aboriginal Origin
Flora and fauna, environment, Aboriginal culture, describing words, place names, names, Aboriginal-sounding words. Wikipedia.
- Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages
‘A digital archive of endangered texts in Aboriginal languages from around the Northern Territory’. Charles Darwin University.
- Our Languages
‘Produced as a place where we can share and collaborate on activities surrounding Australia’s traditional Aboriginal languages’.
- Some Australian
Indigenous Languages you should know
Interesting article providing an overview and a wide range of embedded links to other specific aspects. The Conversation, 2015.
- Tribal & Language Database
‘On-line database on Australian Aboriginal tribes, nations, languages, dialectal groups’. Multiple search methods.
- Welcome to
Apple, Free. ‘Australian Indigenous Language Groups and Cultural Protocols. Version 1.0 contains more than 30 tribes and languages groups [of over 500 groups !] right across Indigenous Australia’.
- Updated !
Where can I study an Australian
Indigenous Language ?
Information from the University Languages Portal of Australia.
1. ed. Nathan, D, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages, Retrieved January, 2010, from Aboriginal Languages of Australia : http://www.dnathan.com/VL/index.php
2. Pandora Archive. An Investigation of the State and Nature of Languages in Australian Schools, 2008, p. 30. Retrieved 19 December, 2012, from Pandora Archive.
3. ACER, Indigenous Languages Programs in Australian Schools - A Way Forward. Retrieved 19 December, 2012, from ACEReSearch.