The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2019 the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IY2019) to raise awareness of the crucial role languages play in people’s daily lives.

In Australia, of the estimated original 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, only around 120 are still spoken. Of these approximately 90 per cent are endangered.

IY2019 is an opportunity to continue raising awareness and taking further actions to improve preservation and promotion of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages logo
Action Plan

The UNESCO Action Plan lays the foundation for the IY2019. It sets out the objectives, principles and action to be taken during the year and afterwards.

Young Galpu Man plays sunset song at Wallaby Beach
Sharing Indigenous stories from Indigenous voices

Find out more about the many activities and programs happening around Australia to protect, preserve and promote Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

Elderly indigenous man reading to a group of children.
What languages do you identify with?

Across the country, people are identifying with or speaking different traditional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Tell us what languages you identify with.

UNESCO IY2019 world map

Register your events and activities on the UNESCO IY2019 world map. An interactive pin will appear with details about your activity. This is a great way to share your event globally and find out about other activities taking place throughout the year.

What's new

Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
From the titles of towns to streets, rivers and mountain ranges: Indigenous names surround us in Australia.
Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
A mobile language team, proudly supported by the Indigenous Languages and Arts program, is helping revive ancient languages.
Indigenous arts and languages. Indigenous arts and languages
A new online survey is asking Indigenous Australians what languages they identify with.