Current Perspectives

Indigenous Language Programmes in Australian Schools [PAPER]

School programmes have much to contribute to the health and vitality of Indigenous languages. Indigenous Languages Programmes in Australian Schools: A Way Forward is concerned with documenting the quality of these programmes, and suggesting concrete ways forward for schools and Indigenous communities developing them.

Meeting point: Parameters for the study of revival languages [ARTICLE]

‘Meeting point: Parameters for the study of revival languages’ by Vicki Couzens & Christina Eira is a pre-publication draft. The final version is published as Chapter 15 of Austin, Peter and Julia Sallabank (Eds.), Endangered Languages: Ideologies and Beliefs in Language Documentation and Revitalisation. British Academy, 2014.

“As language revival and revitalisation rapidly become primary modes of community-based work in Aboriginal Australia, the need for a theoretical foundation for the linguistic scenarios which emerge is becoming increasingly evident. Language revival presents a new situation for analysis, as the languages are simultaneoulsy researched, learned and developed in a single, overarching and ongoing process. This brings to the fore the need to account for and implement ‘vernacular’ approaches to language as well as ‘disciplinary’, as the languages are simply not available for ‘objective’ academic study outside of community-internal motivations, processes and analysis.”

A House already lived in [PAPER]

‘A house already lived in’ by Christina Eira & Lynnette Solomon-Dent was published in Hobson, John, Michael Walsh, Susan Poetsch and Kevin Lowe (Eds.) Re-Awakening Langauges: Theory and practice in the revitalisation of Australian’s Indigenous languages, Sydney University Press, 2010, pp372-386.

“In Victoria the urgency of language reclamation has motivated communities to focus on using their languages as much and as soon as possible. The analysis of historical resources and its incorporation into community language programs has tended to lag behind. This creates a very particular situation for language research, in that research findings must be used to firm up the linguistic foundations of ‘a house already lived in’.”

'I just relexified this one': Translation processes in language revival texts [PAPER]

‘I just relexified this one’: Translation processes in language revival texts by the Meeting Point Project team, Tonya Stebbins, Christina Eira and Vicki Couzens, is also available in Selected Papers from the 44th Conference of the Australian Linguistics Society, 2013 edited by Lauren Gawne and Jill Vaughan, In Press, 2014.

“In language revival, the creation of texts is one of the key areas where the work of language development is focussed. As texts are most frequently developed from the starting point of an existing or created text in English, the methods used for translation are crucially important in determining the form of the end product. In this paper, we present a representative selection of texts, and sequences of drafts, to explore the kinds of strategies and resources available to and employed by their writers. Patterns evident within the texts reveal a range of translation strategies, leading to different outcomes for particular texts.”

Addressing the Ground of Language Endangerment [ARTICLE]

“Addressing the Ground of Language Endangerment” by VACL Community Linguist, Dr Christina Eira, is published in Proceedings of FEL XI, The Eleventh Conference of The Foundation for Endangered Languages, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, October 2007.

“It is commonly understood by linguists working on endangered languages that their status as endangered is no accident. Languages are endangered because of colonisation, stealing of children, genocide, and the need to use another language for access to health care, legal services, education and jobs. Simply put, what causes the loss of languages is dominance of one group of people over another. Nonetheless, when linguists participate in work on endangered languages, we focus on the language itself – collecting language, analysing language, it’s grammar, it’s words, etc. This has the effect of ignoring the ground of language endangerment. More importantly, it ignores the ways in which our work can actually perpetuate the status quo of unequal relations between groups.”

Nyernila - Listen Continously

This book represents a significant shift towards recognising the value of language in Aboriginal Culture. Language is ingrained in culture, stories and history. Culture is described as attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguish one group of people from another. Culture is transmitted, through language, material objects, ritual, institutions, and art, from one generation to the next. These stories are the transmission of knowledge from one generation to the next; they tell us about the land, the people and the rules to live our life by

Language Revival Fact Sheets

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages has produced this series of factsheets to support communities working to revive their languages. These factsheets reflect what we learned from the Meeting Point Project, which was run between 2008 and 2014. In that project, we focussed on the ways revival languages are being brought back into communities by Elders, language workers and language activists. All the fact sheets are about these newly living languages, brought from the past into the present and future. We are grateful to the people who have agreed to share examples of their languages with you in this way. We especially thank our case study language programs: Wiradjuri (Parkes program), Butchulla (Hervey Bay), Keerray Wooroong (Warrnambool), Wathaurong (Geelong program), Gumbaynggirr (Nambucca Heads) and Gunai/Kurnai (Gippsland).

There are four different types of factsheets. Each one focuses on just one topic for language revival.


How people do the work (includes workshops).

  1. Words in English
  2. Making a Translation
  3. Dictionaries and Wordlists
  4. Exploring Deeping Meanings in Words


Ideas for using language (includes workshops).

  1. Everyday Language (written contexts)
  2. Signs
  3. Songs
  4. Welcome to Country


What’s it all for? (includes ideas for discussion)

  1. Language is Culture
  2. Healing
  3. Old into New
  4. Getting it Right
  5. Grammar Pathways
  6. Using Linguistics


Language journeys (includes ideas for discussion)

  1. Stages and Processes
  2. Language Revival is a Journey

Language Fact Sheets

Below are a series of “Fact Sheets” that may give thought to some unanswered questions you may have.

  1. Protocols
  2. Language Sounds
  3. Spelling
  4. Spelling Decisions- Consonants
  5. Spelling Decisions – Vowels
  6. Koorie English

Additional Resources

Peetyawan Weeyn: A Guide for Community Language Programs

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