Blog: Indigenous Australian Languages


The AIATSIS blog is our space to showcase our expertise, and for you to discover the stories behind the work we do and the items we are working on.

We'd love to hear from you, but please read our comment guidelines before joining the conversation.

Yolŋu Sign Language

What is Yolŋu Sign Language?

CultureIndigenous Australian Languages

23 Sep 2019 Dr Bentley James

Yolŋu Sign Language is a unique, endangered sign language of the Yolŋu people of North East Arnhem Land.

Read more

Nganapurru malngmarama balandanha runungura baman

War ServiceHistoryIndigenous Australian LanguagesCollection

23 Apr 2019 Rita Metzenrath

A month after the bombing of Darwin in 1942, a parachute came down on Rirratjingu lands on Bremmer Island. Read how Wandjuk Marika rescued American pilot Flt Lt Clarence Sanford.

Read more

Wisdomatic Women Leader: The Spirit of Baymarrwaŋa

Laurie Baymarrwaŋa photo

CultureIndigenous Australian Languages

7 Mar 2019 Dr Bentley James

Laurie Baymarrwaŋa (1917-2014) was a humble and inspirational leader from the Crocodile Islands who spent a lifetime teaching and promoting Yolŋu language, knowledge and culture.

Read more

Indigenous Languages in Australian Parliaments

Tyronne Bell, Jai Bell, and Glen Freeman help Malcom Turnbull to give an acknowledgement of country in Ngunawal.

Indigenous languagesLanguageIndigenous Australian LanguagesHistoryResearch

21 May 2018 Jacqueline Battin

As a part of AIATSIS’ Ngunawal Revival Project, we assisted in writing an acknowledgment of country in Ngunawal, which PM Malcom Turnbull has said in Parliament. But on what other occasions have Indigenous Australian languages been used in Parliament?

Read more

Searching for Something About Emus

Family members of some of the Bininj contributors pictured here with editor Murray Garde

Literature and storiesIndigenous Australian Languages

5 Jul 2017 Murray Garde

I had been living and working in western Arnhem Land since the late 1980s and had learned languages which linguists now collectively refer to as Bininj Kunwok, so the obvious thing to do was to record the stories in the first language of those people who had expert knowledge about ngurrurdu or kurdukadji ‘the emu’.

Read more

Arthur Capell and language codes

Capell, A. 1963. Linguistic Survey of Australia. AIAS

Indigenous Australian LanguagesIndigenous languagesLinguisticsArchives and archivingAustralia’s heritage – The AIATSIS Collections

11 Oct 2016 Dr Kazuko Obata

For many years, AIATSIS has been looking after Arthur Capell’s archive of over 230 reels that contain language recordings.

Read more

Archival finding aids and discoverability

Tasaku Tsunoda

Indigenous Australian LanguagesArchives and archivingAustralia’s heritage – The AIATSIS Collections

5 Oct 2016 Fiona Blackburn

Archives, or manuscript collections, form over time.  In the process, a structure develops, a shape which reflects the way the content has been created and organised.  

Read more

Literacy in language

AIATSIS linguists Amanda Lissarrague (Collections – Print) and Rhonda Smith (Collections – Audio) with visitor Dr Ray Kelly, University of Newcastle

Indigenous Australian LanguagesLinguisticsLanguage

14 Sep 2016 Amanda Lissarrague

The AIATSIS Australian Indigenous Languages Collection was established in 1981.

Read more

Subscribe to Blog