The University of Adelaide's Mobile Language Team has been working with the Arabana Community in the far north of South Australia to revive their language for future generations.
“I don't care who speaks Arabana, as long as it's being spoken,” said Arabana elder Syd Strangways.
Syd has been closely involved with the ‘Learning Language On Country' project which has been running for more than 5 years now.
The project is devoted to finding and developing appropriate tools for the Arabana people to help them learn, share and teach their heritage language. The traditional homeland of the Arabana community is about 700 kilometres north of Adelaide in the remote Kati Thanda, Western Lake Eyre region. It's in outback Australia, where the rain falls rarely and the earth is deep orange.
The Learning Language On Country project will continue to thrive during UNESCO's International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019). The Mobile language Team, proudly supported by the Indigenous Languages and Arts program, will deliver extra camps and workshops to build up more resources and documentation of the Arabana language.
IY2019 aims to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in the daily lives of people across the globe.
It's estimated there were originally 250 Indigenous languages in Australia, but less than half of these are still spoken. Of these about 90% are considered endangered, including Arabana.