There are many reasons to maintain Australia's first languages.
- Promotes resilience
- Improved health
- Improved cognitive functioning
- Increased employment options
- Costs and compensation
- Intrinsic value
Language and culture are interdependent. It has long been understood that language is the verbal expression of culture. It is the medium through which culture is carried and transferred. Stories, songs and the nuanced meaning of words contain the key to understanding one’s world and one’s part within it. Strong culture gives the individual a sense of belonging to people and places. For this reason, language and culture are deeply interconnected and core parts of one’s identity.
There is now a significant body of evidence which demonstrates a range of benefits for Indigenous peoples and minority groups when they maintain strong connections with their languages and culture. Having one’s mother tongue bestows various social, emotional, employment, cognitive and health advantages. Bilingualism provides yet another layer of advantage for minority language speakers. Keeping the mother tongue and then mastering English for example, provides minority language speakers with the advantage of being able to operate in different contexts. This in turn increases one’s life chances and employment options.
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