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International Year of Indigenous Languages

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It is through language that we communicate with the world, define our identity, express our history and culture, learn, defend our human rights and participate in all aspects of society, to name but a few.

Through language, people preserve their community’s history, customs and traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking, meaning and expression.  They also use it to construct their future. Language is pivotal in the areas of human rights protection, good governance, peace building, reconciliation, and sustainable development.

A person’s right to use his or her chosen language is a prerequisite for freedom of thought, opinion and expression, access to education and information, employment, building inclusive societies, and other values enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 

Many of us take it for granted that we can conduct our lives in our home languages without any constraints or prejudice.  But this is not the case for everyone. 

It is for this reason and others that the United Nations chose to dedicate a whole year to indigenous languages, to encourage urgent action to speak, revitalise and promote them.

UNESCO

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You can help celebrate our languages by tagging your language social media throughout the year #iy2019 #iyil2019, hosting an event or joining an event near you. 

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Events

June 2018 - June 2019 - This Place: sharing the stories behind Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander place names. Hosted by First Languages Australia and the ABC.

21 February - Launch of the new improved Gambay: First languages map. Published by First Languages Australia

21 February - First story in Young Champions profile series. Published by ABC Life and First Languages Australia

23 February - 100th episode of Word Up. Published by ABC Radio National's Awaye! program.

10 April - Western Australian Languages Centres Meeting. Hosted by First Languages Australia.

7-8 May - Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages Forum 2019. Hosted by the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee.

26 May - 30 August - Marrin Gamu: Indigenous languages song competition 2019 launches.Hosted by ABC Education and First Languages Australia

19-22 August - PULiiMA Indigenous Language and Technology Conference. Hosted by Miromaa.

30 October - Jarrak: Our Languages Journey - Policymaker launch event. Hosted by the Sydney Policy Lab and First Languages Australia.

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You can find more events nationally and internationally on our partners' IYIL19 websites:

Australian Government

UNESCO

AIATSIS 

Guide for reporters

To help improve the coverage of Indigenous languages and language activities, First Languages Australia is soon to publish “Notes to assist reporting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages”. 

The notes recommend that reporters find a language worker, or other relevant local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander contact, to provide expert guidance and have a voice in any first language story being published. 

For stories about a specific language or region, the notes recommend contacting a regional language centre or local program to find a suitable contact.

The draft notes can be downloaded here. We are asking language centres and programs to read through the draft and send us feedback by the end of March 2019.

New, improved, Gambay: First Languages Map

Press release for International Mother Language Day–21 February 2019

In acknowledgement of International Mother Language Day 2019, First Languages Australia is celebrating the relaunch of Gambay: First Languages Map.

www.gambay.com.au

First Languages Australia manager, Faith Baisden says, “Gambay highlights over 700 languages, many of which are grouped by colour to support the sharing of resources between related languages.”

“In collaboration with local community members extensive teachers’ notes have been compiled to encourage schools to teach about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages across curriculum areas.”

“Over the past few months, Gambay has undergone significant development to improve a range of functions...”

Read more: New, improved, Gambay: First Languages Map

Yaale – Tools for language work

In July 2018, Annalee Pope and Carolyn Barker from First Languages Australia, together with Steven Bird from Charles Darwin University, visited the Mobile Language Team in Adelaide to look at the various tools they are using in their work with language groups across South Australia. The Mobile Language Team have many innovative activities underway, primarily focused on creating environments where community members can talk with each other in language. Of particular interest, were their processes of collaboratively creating learning materials to support weekly community classes held at great distances from each other.

Read more: Yaale – Tools for language work

Language programs map

To help the media, and others, make direct contact with language workers, First Languages Australia is publishing a map of language programs.

We are asking all language centres and programs to check their contact details are correct on the web map at this link, and also the DRAFT PDF.

We would also like to hear of any additional programs that would like to be added.

Language programs map February 2019

First Languages Australia and the Sydney Policy Lab

The Sydney Policy Lab is a new strategic project of the University of Sydney which looks to address complex local and global policy challenges. The lab aims to bring researchers, community and industry together to spark new ideas, reframe issues and transform the policy options on the table, working toward a society that works for everyone.

First Languages Australia was delighted to receive one of seven inaugural Sydney Policy Lab Fellowships.

The fellowship has focused on making knowledge relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages policy more accessible across our network. An outcome of the project is Jarrak: Our languages journey a public knowledge bank which captures key milestones in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages advocacy from the 1970s until now. 

Working with Indigenous Community Television (ICTV)

ICTV

Over the past two years, you may have seen hundreds of our Language Legends films broadcast on ICTV. Maybe you have even see yourself. First Languages Australia would like to congratulate all the Language Legends who have participated in the project and extend our thanks to the team at ICTV for their ongoing work to ensure our voices are broadcast loud and clear.

Tune in to ICTV or check out ICTV play for lots of excellent language programming. 

First Languages Australia Language Centres meeting, February 2018

First Languages Australia was pleased to host a national meeting to coincide with people travelling to Queensland for the National Indigenous Languages Convention in February.

The meeting was an opportunity to feedback activities underway since the Cairns meeting November, with the report from that meeting distributed and discussed. From this meeting, there was discussion of a renewed call to Canberra for national legislation to support language into the future within the structure of government. There was also a call from language centres for FLA to produce a series of contracts and protocol documents that can be accessed by all project teams and adapted to the specifics of local projects. FLA is in discussions with Arts Law to see this project underway.

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Read more: First Languages Australia Language Centres meeting, February 2018

Global Lessons: Indigenous languages and multilingualism in school programs

Global Lesson

As a companion to Nintiringanyi: National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teaching and Employment Strategy, we have collated case studies that demonstrate the requirements for successful collaborations between language communities and their local schools into a document titled, Global Lessons: Indigenous languages and multilingualism in school programs. Global Lessons is available as a PDF or online. The online version of the document includes video links that demonstrate the activities in action.

  

Binbi Wadyabay: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language

Congratulations to the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee and Department for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships in their collaboration toward the formal government recognition of Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages. Discussions to this end were launched in May at Binbi Wadyabay. First Languages Australia was pleased to be a part of the event contributing through the coordinating of local media, and the collection of Language Legends videos. The Queensland meeting was also supported by funding from Indigenous Languages and the Arts.

Read more: Binbi Wadyabay: Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Language

Request for school resources in many languages

Paraburdoo Primary School teaches Kindergarten to Year 6 students in the Ashburton ShireParaburdoo Primary School teaches Kindergarten to Year 6 students in the Ashburton Shire of the Pilbara. Paraburdoo Primary is working with the Wangka Maya Pilbara LanguageCentre to establish a cultural hub in the school and is wanting to display language material from languages across the country as the students to come to Paraburdoo have diverse cultural connections. The school is requesting donations of language resources. If you are able to contribute please contact Julie Walker, 08 9172 2344, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Yugambeh voices at the Commonwealth Games

Commonwealth Games

From the welcome to all to by Yugambeh Elders, to song sessions and stories in theFrom the welcome to all to by Yugambeh Elders, to song sessions and stories in the cultural exhibition spaces, the language of the Gold Coast was shared with the huge international audience for the Commonwealth Games. Patricia O'Connor and Ted Williams gave the welcome which was viewed by an international audience of millions while theYugambeh Youth Choir performed with confidence on the official stage for the closing ceremony.

Contact us

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