Australian Indigenous Languages: a brief status report

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

Around 200 years ago there were approximately 250 distinct languages in Australia. Most of these languages had several dialects, bringing the total number of Australian languages in the late eighteenth century into the many hundreds. Some estimates suggest around 800 languages. Distinct languages are when a speaker of one language cannot understand any of another language - languages that are as different as Arrernte and Kija, or Turkish and Greek. By contrast, when a speaker of one language can understand some or much of a speaker of another language, the languages differ at the level of dialect only.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-6
Number of pages2
JournalNgoonjook
Volume21
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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