What’s new

August 2016 update

Another 75 items have been added to the Virtual Library, bringing the total number of items to over 500, representing over 150 languages ... read more

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RESULTS: 34 ITEMS FOR CATEGORY Language rights & policy

Aboriginal English [aus-x-aeq] see all Aboriginal English
Source: The Victorian Aboriginal Education Association (VAEAI)
The protocols outline principles and procedures for the Victorian education sector to respect Koorie communities in setting up curricula and teaching, including languages, and with particular attention to respecting and understanding Koorie English.
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Gurindji [gue] see all Gurindji
Source: Jane Simpson
A research article on the dynamics of language change as evidenced by the languages spoken by and heard by children in four Aboriginal communities in WA and NT. Many Aboriginal children grow up in language landscapes that are undergoing rapid change - languages are declining but also changing, and new languages are being created.
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Luritja/Pintupi [piu] see all Luritja/Pintupi
Source: United Nations High Commission for Human Rights/ANU/L. Macdonald/S.J Dixon/S. Holcombe/K. Hansen
A translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights into Pintupi/Luritja, its first translation into an Australian language. See the news articles from ANU and the ABC. The translation is also available at from ANU. (See also http://www.ohchr.org/EN/UDHR/Pages/Language.aspx?LangID=piu
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Pitjantjatjara [pjt] see all Pitjantjatjara
Source: Ngapartji Ngapartji project
Ngapartji Ngapartji was an arts based community development project. Its website has a useful section on language including a link to this background and policy paper on support of languages [PDF, 5 pages]
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Walmajarri [wmt] see all Walmajarri
Source: Jane Simpson
A research article on the dynamics of language change as evidenced by the languages spoken by and heard by children in four Aboriginal communities in WA and NT. Many Aboriginal children grow up in language landscapes that are undergoing rapid change - languages are declining but also changing, and new languages are being created.
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Warlpiri [wbp] see all Warlpiri
Source: Jane Simpson
A research article on the dynamics of language change as evidenced by the languages spoken by and heard by children in four Aboriginal communities in WA and NT. Many Aboriginal children grow up in language landscapes that are undergoing rapid change - languages are declining but also changing, and new languages are being created.
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Source: The New Daily
Bess Nungarrayi Price has defied the Northern Territory parliament to deliver a speech in Warlpiri. Ms price said ‘My first language is Warlpiri which is one of the family of languages that came to this land 50,000 years ago, tens of millennia before Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet.’
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Warumungu [wrm] see all Warumungu
Source: Jane Simpson
A research article on the dynamics of language change as evidenced by the languages spoken by and heard by children in four Aboriginal communities in WA and NT. Many Aboriginal children grow up in language landscapes that are undergoing rapid change - languages are declining but also changing, and new languages are being created.
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Yolngu [aus-x-yoq] see all Yolngu
Source: Michael Christie and Helen Verran (editors)
Issue of Learning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social Contexts with a variety of papers on Yolngu culture and language, including topics such as language learning, translation, and intellectual property.
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Source: Michael Christie / Helen Verran / Waymamba Gaykamangu
This project ran from 2003-6 and investigated ‘digital systems which support indigenous people building collective memory’ with a focus on Yolngu peoples. See in particular the publications page for a large number of interesting papers about digital technologies and Aboriginal knowledge.
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Source: ABC/Alyssa Betts
The community of Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island want to use their language’s spelling system to write street signs and their own names. Their language, Yolŋu Matha (Yolngu language), has a small number of letters not used in standard English (but which are perfectly available in all writing technologies, since they are part of the International Unicode standard). Community members believe their language is being snubbed and weakened, while the NT Place Names Committee argue that only standard English can be used, despite claiming to support a Dual Naming Policy.
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Source: Yirrkala residents/Museum of Australian Democracy
Image of famous petition now in Australian Parliament House. See also Bark petitions: Indigenous art and reform for the rights of Indigenous Australians.
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Many languages or language not specified
Source: National and State Libraries Australasia
Library policy document acknowledging: 1. The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be informed about language materials relating to their own culture and heritage; 2. The role of communities as custodians of language as central to the development of policy and practice; 3. The right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to determine use and access provisions for language materials which may be community controlled or require cultural consideration. See also NSLA Position Statement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander library servic
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Source: Australian Linguistic Society
In 1984, ALS drew up a list of Lingiustic rights of Aboriginal and Islander communities which still provides valid advice that today’ linguists could aspire to.
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Source: Brian Devlin / ABC
Claims that students in NT schools with bilingual programs performed worse than other students in skills tests were used by the NT Government to dismantle bilingual programs in schools. This paper considers - and rejects - those claims.
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Source: Lester-Irabinna Rigney
In this paper from 2002, Lester-Irabinna Rigney advocated for the formal recognition of Indigenous languages through constitional amendment and the establishment of a National Indigenous Languages Institute. The paper also discusses issues of reconciliation and language stabilisation and revitalisation.
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Source: Ghil’ad Zuckermann / NITV / SBS
In this video, Ghil’ad Zuckermann of University of Adelaide calls on the federal government to compensate Aboriginal peoples who had their languages stolen (i.e. who suffered linguicide). Suitable financial compensation can then used for language revival and other linguistic activities.
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Source: Doug Marmion / Kazuko Obata / Jakelin Troy / AIATSIS
This 2014 report follows on from the first National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS1, 2004-5). The report aims to provide better understanding of:
1. the current situation of Australian languages
2. activities supporting Australian languages
3. people’s attitudes towards and aspirations for their languages, and
4. views about the most effective types of language action.

The report concludes with 18 recommendations, including Recommendation 15: Traditional languages should be recognised in the Australian Constitution as the first languages of Australia. [PDF 63 pages]

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Source: ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority)
The Framework provides flexible guidance for developing programs for any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language. It has three pathways: 1. First Language Learner; 2. Language Revival Learner; 3. Second Language Learner. It also provides principles and protocols for consulting with communities when developing and delivering languages learning programs in schools. This document contains full details for all 3 pathways. [PDF 131 pages]
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Source: ACARA (Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority)
The Framework provides flexible guidance for developing programs for any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language. It has three pathways: 1. First Language Learner; 2. Language Revival Learner; 3. Second Language Learner. It also provides principles and protocols for consulting with communities when developing and delivering languages learning programs in schools. [PDF, 2 pages]
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Source: Australian Human Rights Commission / Mick Gooda and Katie Kiss
The paper argues that the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples should be implemented so that legislation, policy, programs and service delivery empower rather than disempower communities, through observing principles of self-determination; participation in decision-making, free, prior and informed consent, and good faith; respect for and protection of culture; and equality and non-discrimination. The document repeatedly emphasises that support for Indigenous languages is an element in the promotion and protection of rights and identity.
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Source: FATSIL
Guide to protocols, especially for language projects involving linguists working with communities. Also available at this Candaian First peoples’ site.
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Source: Australian Government, Attorney General’s Department, Ministry for the Arts
The principal national Indigenous languages funding (formerly ILS, MILR) is now packaged in two streams: Indigenous Languages and Arts (Languages) (to support language centres etc. and Indigenous language workers in funded organisations); and Indigenous Languages and Arts (Projects) (for traditional and contemporary Indigenous culture and arts projects). This page has documents with guidelines and eligibility and selection criteria.
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Source: Charles E. Grimes/Summer Institute of Linguistics (AuSIL)
The paper argues that the NT government and its education system continue to ignore solid research on best practice education in Indigenous communities. also includes an extensive bibliography on language and education in multilingual societies, many linked to online sources. [PDF]
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Source: ACER/Nola Purdie/Tracey Frigo/Clare Ozolins/Geoff Noblett/Nick Thieberger/Janet Sharp
A report on the national project to strengthen Indigenous languages programmes in schools, providing a detailed survey of the current situation in Indigenous languages education in Australian schools. The report is for language teachers and speakers, Aboriginal communities, schools, and policy makers.
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Source: Jane Simpson / The Conversation
Jane considers parallels between forced assimilation and the imposition of English in the context of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. She argues for ‘best practice’ in schools, where the home language is used as the medium of instruction in the classroom at the start, and later children transition in a systematic way to add English. Ultimately, there must be much more Indigenous language - and well-trained language-speaker teachers - throughout schools with Indigenous students.
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Source: Greg Dickson/Crikey
This article takes an alternative view on the so-called "literacy gap" amongst Indigenous people, and argues for greater recognition and rights to literacy in people"s own Indigeous languages, not (only) English.
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Source: Australian government/House of Representatives Committees
"The inquiry is interested in finding out about the links between Indigenous languages and improving education, community wellbeing, interpreting services and strategies to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage. The Committee will investigate how the use of Indigenous languages, particularly in early education, can assist in improving education and vocational outcomes where English is a second language. The Indigenous languages policies of Australian governments and the effectiveness of Indigenous language maintenance and revival will be investigated."

Includes submissions received and transcripts of hearings. As for June 3, 2012 the final report was not yet available.

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Source: David Nash
A page of useful links to online resources for language policy in relation to Australian languages.
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Source: ABC/Maria Zijlstra/Ghil’ad Zuckermann
Interview with Ghil’ad Zuckermann introducing the concept of ‘Native tongue title’ (a blend of ‘native title’ and ‘native tongue’) which calls for Aboriginal people to be compensated in various ways for the loss of their languages through colonisation. You can download Zuckermann’s article here.
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Source: Ghil’ad Zuckermann / Shiori Shauto-Neoh / Giovanni Matteo Quer
A paper proposing a compensation scheme for loss of Indigenous languages, paralleling compensation schemes for some Stolen Generations victims. The paper describes the history of linguicide in Australia, and the benefits of using compensation to support language revival. The paper appeared in Australian Aboriginal Studies 2014/1. See also the Lingua Franca episode on this topic.
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Source: Graham McKay
In this 2011 paper, describes the history of Indigenous languages policy, and concludes that recent and reasonable policies have not been implemented well, or at all, and furthermore, are undermined by the ‘dominant rhetoric’ about English skills and decrease in support for bilingual schooling.
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Source: Australian Human Rights Commission / Social Justice Commissioner
The report surveys progress in the last 20 years and how lessons learnt can forward Indigenous human rights and improvements in outcomes. The report notes that real meaning can be given to the rhetoric of human rights through a framework based on the principles of self-determination, participation in decision-making, underpinned by free, prior and informed consent and good faith; respect for and protection of culture; and equality and non-discrimination. Languages and bilingual education are important elements. See also Social Justice Report 2012.
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Source: Australian Human Rights Commission
Social Justice Report 2009. Chapter 3: The perilous state of Indigenous languages in Australia.
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Source: SA Government
A policy document addressing provision and use of Aboriginal languages interpreting and translating services. The document proposes a whole-of-government framework based on principles such as the basic right of Aboriginal people to understand and be understood in their communications with government services, and the need for government to provide access to Aboriginal languages interpreters and translators to achieve this.
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Source: National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples
In this document, the Congress welcomes the Framework, stating that it recognises Indigenous languages and their owners or custodians, the negative impact of government policies since 1788, and the importance of languages to Australia’s First Peoples, and the need for ongoing consultation in developing and implementing programs. Congress was disappointed at lack of description of the past and present state of languages and highly critical about the lack of implmentation of the 2009 National Indigenous Language Policy. [PDF, 4 pages]
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Source: Brian Devlin
The future of the discontinued NT bilingual education programs is an issue of national and international concern. This article analyses the status and future of bilingual education programs in remote NT schools. It explains why bilingual education is so contested, resulting in the current unresolved compromise in schools and a political stalemate.
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