A group of academics and indigenous language advocates are using technology and books to try to revive an endangered aboriginal language.
Dr Hilary Smith is a linguist and author who has just launched a series of children’s books written in the aboriginal Gamilaraay language. She’s been working for the last four years in Gunnedah, north-east NSW, learning about the language and developing tools to try to resuscitate it, particularly with younger generations.
Gamilaraay was one of the hundreds of languages that were in Australia before 1788 and it is at risk of disappearing the way many others have, she says.
“Of the 250 to languages in Australia, there are only 13 that are really being used and transmitted in homes. Due to policies like Stolen Generations, massacres, invasions it was really at the verge of being a language lost.”
Dr Smith says that until recently, people weren’t allowed to speak the language, and today there aren’t any people speaking Gamilaraay at home, but there’s a lot of interest in reviving the language.
Read more: RNZ