Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages

The State Library of Queensland acknowledges that language heritage and knowledge always remains with the Traditional Owners, Elders, language custodians and other community members of the respective language Nation.

These webpages are provided to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the revival, documentation and preservation of traditional languages. Additionally, content such as wordlists and other resources help to raise awareness and promote Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

State Library's Indigenous Languages Project is supported through funding from the Indigenous Languages Support Program from the Australian Government’s Department of Communication and the Arts.

Word lists

State Library acknowledges that the language heritage and knowledge of these wordlists always remains with the Traditional Owners, language custodians and community members of the respective language nations.

These pages include a number of word lists on various topics to support communities in their work to revive, document and preserve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The language content is drawn from a range of historical texts found in State Library's collections.

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Women participating in the Research Discovery Workshop at the State Library of Queensland.

2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages

In 2019 State Library of Queensland celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Interactive languages map of Queensland

This resource map aims to raise awareness of the diversity of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and identify resources within State Library collections to support language research and community language revival. The map’s primary purpose is to identify language resources; it is not designed nor suitable for Native Title research or claims. Queries relating to Native Title should be directed to the representative Native Title body. 

How to guides

New media makes it possible for anyone to create, modify and share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language content with others, using relatively simple tools that are often free or inexpensive. New media requires a computer, tablet or mobile device with Internet access. New media tools can help you:

  • CONNECT people with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language information and services.
  • COLLABORATE with other people working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages —including those within your organisation or community.
  • CREATE new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language content, communities and channels of communication that help you deliver information and services.

This toolkit aims to provide community members, language workers and others with some useful tips, resources and information to incorporate New Media into community language revival processes and activities.

This initiative, as part of State Library's Indigenous Languages Project, was supported by funding from the Indigenous Languages Support Program - New Media from the then Australian Government's Attorney-General's Department, Ministry for the Arts.

The importance of language projects
Des Crump, Indigenous Languages Coordinator from the State Library of Queensland, talks about the How, What and Where community and language workers can start a language program or project. Troy Wyles-Whelan and Gavin Singleton give examples of how they researched and implemented language into everyday life while Ernie Grant stresses the importance of keeping it real and getting involved in preserving language.

The song written and sung by Hopevale IKC Coordinator Dora Gibson was recorded during a Regional Indigenous Languages Workshop in November 2014. Dora shows us how to preserve language and culture through song and music. Verses are in English with the chorus in Guugu Yimidhirr.

Download the following list for a selection of websites that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages and are useful starting points for schools, communities, IKCs and Public Libraries in identifying language resources and other information to assist community language revival.

This document provides links to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander corporations preserving languages.

Download

There are several language centres currently operating in Queensland. The role of Indigenous Language Centres is to support the revival and maintenance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in their region. Language activities may include language research, exhibitions and community training as well as the recording and / or documentation of Indigenous  languages.

Other groups such as Land Councils, Cultural Organisations, Elders' Groups, Indigenous Knowledge Centres (IKCs), community groups, etc. may also be undertaking language revival activities.

Indigenous languages blogs

Man and woman talking at the State Library.

Say “G’day” in an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander language!

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International Year of Indigenous Languages 2019

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Indigenous Languages Forum – Rockhampton