What’s new

August 2016 update

Another 75 items have been added to the Virtual Library, bringing the total number of items to over 500, representing over 150 languages ... read more

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Update 2024

This site is no longer current and is not being updated. Since 2016, happily, the number of online sources of knowledge about Australian Indigenous languages exploded in number and diversity of sources, especially from Indigenous organisations and individuals. As a result, it became impossible to keep ALoA up to date. It is no longer a key resource.

As the main web portal for Australian Aboriginal languages on the web (part of Tim Berners-Lee’s official W3C Virtual Library (now defunct at https://www.vlib.org/ - see its history) this site provided summaries, guidance and links to quality resources on Aboriginal languages, especially those produced from communities and by community members. It was listed in most of the major international libraries and other institutions as a key site for Australian languages, and attracted over 500,000 hits a year.

Approximately half of the linked sites still exist and the site’s back-end database remains valuable because it contains data which tracks 20 years of the emergence, expansion and changes in the online presence of Australian First Nations languages from the birth of the web.


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RESULTS: 14 ITEMS FOR CATEGORY Bilingual education

Iwaidja [ibd] see all Iwaidja
Source: Joy Williams Malwagag and Sabina Hoeng
A short film where senior Iwaidja speaker Ngalwangardi aju Minjilang (1946-2012) talks in Iwaidja about the pressure on her language. She describes consequences of the 2009 policy of the Northern Territory Department of Education and Training to marginalize the use of indigenous languages in schools.
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Warlpiri [wbp] see all Warlpiri
Source: ABC
Four Corners documentary about effects of government's scrapping of bilingual education in the NT.
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Many languages or language not specified
Source: D Nathan et al
Misc collected responses in 1999 to the NT Government's policy to phase out bilingual education in the Territory.
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Source: various
Selection of resources created after the NT Government announced that Bilingual Education Programmes would be axed in 1999.
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Source: Brian Devlin / ABC
Claims that students in NT schools with bilingual programs performed worse than other students in skills tests were used by the NT Government to dismantle bilingual programs in schools. This paper considers - and rejects - those claims.
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Source: Friends of Bilingual Learning
Friends of Bilingual Learning supports the development of the Northern Territory as a multilingual society acknowledging communication through Indigenous languages and English. FOBL formed in 2008 in response to the everyday struggle that Indigenous people experience such as disproportionate representation within the judicial, welfare and health systems, and constant negative media about poor educational attendance and outcomes. The site includes news items and links to materials about multilingualism and Indigenous languages in education.
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Source: Jane Simpson, Jo Caffery, and Patrick McConvell
AIATSIS Discussion Paper (2009) of the Northern Territory government's policy changes withdrawing the teaching of Indigenous languages in schools. Also available from ResearchGate.
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Source: Charles E. Grimes/Summer Institute of Linguistics (AuSIL)
The paper argues that the NT government and its education system continue to ignore solid research on best practice education in Indigenous communities. also includes an extensive bibliography on language and education in multilingual societies, many linked to online sources. [PDF]
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Source: Jane Simpson / The Conversation
Jane considers parallels between forced assimilation and the imposition of English in the context of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People. She argues for ‘best practice’ in schools, where the home language is used as the medium of instruction in the classroom at the start, and later children transition in a systematic way to add English. Ultimately, there must be much more Indigenous language - and well-trained language-speaker teachers - throughout schools with Indigenous students.
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Source: Greg Dickson/Crikey
This article takes an alternative view on the so-called "literacy gap" amongst Indigenous people, and argues for greater recognition and rights to literacy in people"s own Indigeous languages, not (only) English.
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Source: Charles Darwin University / Batchelor Institute / NT Government / ANU
LAAL (Living Archive of Aboriginal Languages) is a digital archive of endangered literature in Australian languages from the Northern Territory. Much of the literature is language teaching/literacy material created in schools, which is otherwise endangered by the instability of governmental support for mother tongue and bilingual programs. You can search the site by map, placename, language name, author, or category (such as Narrative or Language instruction). The literature materials are beautifully displayed and are viewable and downloadable as PDF or plain text. The site currently holds about 2250 books in 32 languages. Updates are posted on http://laal.cdu.edu.au/
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Source: Australian Human Rights Commission / Social Justice Commissioner
The report surveys progress in the last 20 years and how lessons learnt can forward Indigenous human rights and improvements in outcomes. The report notes that real meaning can be given to the rhetoric of human rights through a framework based on the principles of self-determination, participation in decision-making, underpinned by free, prior and informed consent and good faith; respect for and protection of culture; and equality and non-discrimination. Languages and bilingual education are important elements. See also Social Justice Report 2012.
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Source: Noel Pearson/The Australian
Newspaper article in which Noel Pearson links reconciliation with Aboriginal languages education: " the greatest gift for a child in Australia ... is to have another language, a mother tongue, a language of the heart that is not English".
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Source: Brian Devlin
The future of the discontinued NT bilingual education programs is an issue of national and international concern. This article analyses the status and future of bilingual education programs in remote NT schools. It explains why bilingual education is so contested, resulting in the current unresolved compromise in schools and a political stalemate.
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