There’s a call out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders communities to be part of an initiative to document 50 words from each Indigenous language in Australia.

24 July 2019

The 50 words project is an International Year of Indigenous Languages initiative of the Research Unit for Indigenous Language (RUIL) in the School of Languages and Linguistics at the University of Melbourne.

Led by Professor Rachel Nordlinger and Associate Professor Nick Thieberger, the aim is to provide online audio of words, recorded by a member of each community supporting the project.

The languages and words are displayed on a map of Australia so it is easy to find words relevant to each region.

‘We hope that this will be a useful resource for schools and educational organisations to learn 50 words in their local language,’ Professor Nordlinger said. ‘We also hope the general public will access the map to discover and appreciate the diversity of First Nation languages around Australia.’

The website already has words available in 12 languages, which can be accessed by clicking on the languages marked in orange on the map, and the project team is keen to hear from other communities interested in sharing audio and videos.

‘Just send an email to RUIL-contact [at] and we can provide information about the project and how you can participate,’ Professor Nordlinger said.

The map includes language information from both First Languages Australia and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) AUSTLANG database.

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