Treasures Talk: Indigenous Languages in the Northern Territory

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More than 250 distinct Indigenous languages and dialects were spoken in Australia at the time of colonisation in 1788.  Today, more than 100 Aboriginal languages and dialects are still spoken in the Northern Territory. However, the majority of these languages are considered highly endangered because there are so few surviving speakers. From the first European arrivals on the Territory coast in the 1820s right through to the present day, efforts have been made to record Indigenous words and phrases. Increasingly, Indigenous Territorians have taken a leading role in this process.  From Iwaidja to Arrernte, Indigenous languages appear in the Northern Territory Library collection in a range of rare and valuable documents and publications. 2019 is the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages and we invite you to explore and celebrate the Territory’s rich Indigenous linguistic heritage through our Treasures Talk series.

Artwork by Sabrina Kelly, featured in Let's go hunting in Alekarenge

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