Australian Aboriginal Languages

The Australian Aboriginal languages comprise up to twenty-seven language families and isolates native to the Australian Aborigines of Australia and a few nearby islands, but by convention excluding the languages of Tasmania and the eastern Torres Strait Islanders. The relationships between these languages are not clear at present, although substantial progress has been made in recent decades.

In the late 18th century, there were between 350 and 750 distinct Aboriginal social groupings, and a similar number of languages or dialects. At the start of the 21st century, fewer than 150 indigenous languages remain in daily use, and all except roughly 20 are highly endangered. Of those that survive, only 10% are being learned by children and those languages are usually located in the most isolated areas. For example, of the 5 least endangered Western Australian Aboriginal languages, 4 belong to the Ngaanyatjarra grouping of the Central and Great Victoria Desert. Yolŋu languages from north-east Arnhem Land are also currently learned by children. Bilingual education is being used successfully in some communities. Seven of the most widely spoken Australian languages, such as Warlpiri and Tiwi, retain between 1,000 and 3,000 speakers. Some Aboriginal communities and linguists show support for learning programs either for language revival proper or for only "post-vernacular maintenance" (teaching indigenous Australians some words and concepts related to the lost language).

The Tasmanian people were nearly eradicated early in Australia's colonial history, and their languages were lost before much was recorded. Tasmania was separated from the mainland at the end of the last ice age, and the Tasmanian Aborigines apparently remained isolated from the outside world for around 10,000 years. Too little is known of their languages for classification, though they seem to have had phonological similarities with languages of the mainland.

Read more about Australian Aboriginal Languages:  Common Features

Other articles related to "australian, aboriginal languages, aboriginal, australian aboriginal languages, language, languages":

David Nash (linguist)
... David Nash is a prominent Australian field linguist, specialising in the Aboriginal languages of Australia ... in pure mathematics from the Australian National University followed by an M.A ... He works as a consultant for various Aboriginal organisations ...
Australian Aboriginal Languages - Classification - Families
... Australian languages divide into a dozen or so families ... Note when cross-referencing that most language names have multiple spellings rr=r, b=p, d=t, g=k, dj=j=tj=c, j=y, y=i, w=u, u=oo, e=a, and so on ... A range is given for the number of languages in each family, as sources count languages differently ...
List Of Digraphs In Latin Alphabets - R
... ⟨rd⟩ is used in the transcription of Australian Aboriginal languages such as Warlpiri, Arrernte, and Pitjantjatjara for a retroflex stop, /ʈ/ ... ⟨rh⟩ is found in English language with words from the Greek language and transliterated through the Latin language ... German, French, and the auxiliary language Interlingua use rh in the same way ...
Botany Bay - History - Aboriginal
... from the shores of Botany Bay has yielded evidence of Aboriginal settlement dating back 5,000 years ... The Aboriginal people of Sydney were known as the Eora with sub-groups derived from the languages they spoke ...

Famous quotes containing the words languages, australian and/or aboriginal:

    It is time for dead languages to be quiet.
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    —Administration for the State of Con, U.S. public relief program. Connecticut: A Guide to Its Roads, Lore, and People (The WPA Guide to Connecticut)