2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages

Tuesday, 1 January 2019 to Tuesday, 31 December 2019

Happy International Year of Indigenous Languages!

In 2019 the world celebrates the International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019).

In 2016 the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues reported that 40 per cent of the estimated 6,700 languages spoken around the world were in danger of disappearing, with the majority of these being indigenous languages, putting the cultures and knowledge systems to which they belong at risk.

IYIL2019 is an opportunity for all Australians to engage in a national conversation about Indigenous languages. AIATSIS will have a range of activities throughout the year to celebrate and recognise the diversity of Australian Indigenous languages and their importance in supporting cultural resurgence and shaping our national identity.

The Department of Communications and the Arts (DoCA) is the lead agency for planning the Australian Government’s participation in and promotion of IYIL2019.

  • You can find more information about Australian Government initiatives for the year on the DoCA website.

You can also join the conversation online using #IYIL2019 and #IndigenousLanguages.

AIATSIS IYIL2019 Calendar 

Date Event
28 January Official Global Launch Event of IYIL2019
February Spotify playlist launched - Songs in Language: The Australian Indigenous Languages Playlist
21 February International Mother Language Day
8 March International Women's Day campaign featuring Laurie Baymarrwaŋa language work
9 April Launch of Year of Indigenous Languages commemorative coin in conjunction with the Royal Australian Mint
25 April ANZAC Day Odes in language on social media
29 April - 5 May Children's Book Week
30 April Launch of Year of Indigenous Languages commemorative stamp in conjunction with Australia Post
30 April Australia post blog with CEO Craig Ritchie about Indigenous languages
7 May Celebrating IYIL window decals installed on AIATSIS building
2 July Ngarinyman Dictionary Launch
2 July IYIL Public Lecture with Daniel Browning
9 July Official launch of Welcome to Country (Ngunnawal language) audio recording of at Canberra International Airport
13 July State Library of NSW exhibition - Living Language: Country, Culture, Community
2 September Paper and Talk (Breath of Life Institute Pilot)
4 September Indigenous Literacy Day
8 September World Literacy Day
13 September

AIATSIS IYIL Exhibition - Our Language: Keeping us Strong

Last reviewed: 20 Sep 2019