Australia: Women on front line of language preservation
francis.hult at utsa.edu
Thu Apr 9 13:20:26 UTC 2009
Women on front line of language preservation
Spurred on by the critical need to halt the loss of endemic indigenous languages across Australia, academics at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the Northern Territory are finding themselves involved in a front-line offensive.
Of the 250 traditional languages once spoken on this continent as recently as 100 years ago, there are now only 20 to 30 considered healthy, viable and likely to survive, according to Jeanie Bell, lecturer at the institute's Centre for Australian Languages and Linguistics.
She acknowledges that increased support for documenting language will come from the women and younger people in the communities; however, it is not always easy to maintain their interest.
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