Indigenous languages

In the August 31 and September 1 editions of Guardian Australia, there were a series of very interesting articles on the state of indigenous languages in Australia: the first by Helen Davidson is an overview of the national scene and the types of programs that are being run.

The second is a poignant personal reflection on the individual’s relationship to language and background by Stan Grant.

The third is an account of the efforts of one Wiradjuri elder, Stan Grant (Senior) to teach the language to the younger generations

All are highly recommended.


1. Waking our sleeping Indigenous languages: ‘we’re in the midst of a resurgence’           

Helen Davidson

At the start of a major Guardian Australia series, Helen Davidson reports that while the vast number of Indigenous languages are considered endangered, there are many that have a good chance of survival if they are nurtured. Click on the link below to read the full story:

2. If language tells us who we are, then who am I?

Stan Grant

“Inspired by my father and to honour the traditions of our people, I have learned more of the Wiradjuri language. But I am the sum of many parts.

Language and names are markers of identity. This is how we introduce ourselves to the world; how we explain ourselves to each other. I admire this conscious effort to keep themselves and their people alive in the world, but I am wary too.

I am who I am and I am born of a country whose history is what it is. My struggle is to live free to determine my identity unconstrained by the expectations or definitions of others.

Reviving Indigenous languages is in itself a response to a history of oppression and denial. It can be liberating and assertive but like all identity it is a construction.”

Read more:

3. Yamandhu marang? Language does not belong to people, it belongs to country

It was a language that almost died but the efforts of a community – and one man – have brought Wiradjuri back to life. 

Read more:




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