Professor Jane Simpson loves dictionaries and the gateway to the past that they can unlock.
She is part of the Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language at Australian National University (ANU), which is currently documenting Indigenous languages in the Pacific region.
Indigenous languages in Australia could number between 300 and 700, depending on the definition of language versus dialect, she said.
However, only 13 languages are believed to be still spoken by children.
“If a language isn’t spoken by children, then its chances of surviving are pretty grave,” Professor Simpson said.
Read more: ABC News