The United Nations (UN) has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness about the crucial role of languages.

4 January 2019

The United Nations (UN) has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness about the crucial role of languages.

Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are some of the most endangered in the world. Only around 120 are still spoken of the estimated original 250 languages and, of these, approximately 90% are at risk.

IY2019 is an opportunity to focus on revitalising and maintaining Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

The Australian Government is committed to supporting programs and activities that focus on the preservation, promotion and celebration of these languages.

The Government recognises the importance of language for identity, cultural diversity, spirituality, communication, social integration, education and development.

Across Australia a range of programs are in place to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages including the Government's Indigenous Languages and Arts (ILA) program. This program currently has a grant opportunity open to applications until 11 February. It supports:

  • Community led language programs delivered by 22 Indigenous language centres across Australia. The centres deliver essential work to preserve, revive and maintain around 165 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.
  • The development of a National Indigenous Languages Report.
  • A range of Indigenous language and arts projects assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to express, preserve and maintain their cultures through an annual grant opportunity.

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