Language identifies who people are and where they come from. People use languages to express all that they feel and know. When a language is lost, the unique knowledge and perspectives of the people that speak it are also lost.
For tens of thousands of years, hundreds of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages have been spoken across Australia. These languages are a unique and rich part of our heritage.
Studies show that there were about 250 Aboriginal languages in Australia at the time Europeans arrived. These distinct languages had extensive vocabularies and complex grammar. Today, 145 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are still spoken in Australia, however only 18 remain strong, meaning they are spoken by people of all ages.
As much of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history has been passed down orally it is important to the nation that these languages are preserved.
Extract from Reconciliation Australia website www.reconciliation.org.au, website source, National Indigenous Languages Survey 2005
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