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Indigenous languages preservation: Dictionaries project

The preservation of languages is critical to strengthening the cultures, identities, and wellbeing of Indigenous Australians. Dictionaries play an important role in language preservation and revitalisation, both in schools and communities, and also as a way to share knowledge about languages with non-Indigenous Australians.

There are many cases where a good dictionary database has been created for a language, perhaps over decades of work, but a lack of funding has prevented publication from taking place. In numerous other cases publication has taken place, but in low-quality physical formats which have now deteriorated, leaving the community without a dictionary.

AIATSIS has launched a project to support the publication of Indigenous language dictionaries. The project aims to identify dictionaries that are in an advanced stage of development, and work with the language communities to support their publication.

We invite community groups to make contact with us to discuss the status of their dictionary project. If your dictionary project is at the appropriate stage of development we will ask you to submit an expression of interest to be considered for funding support. High quality dictionary projects will be offered funding for their publication.

The Dictionaries Project is proudly funded by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

Resources

So far we have supported the publication of ten dictionaries.

  • Ngarrindjeri
  • Alyawarr
  • Ngaanyatjarra & Ngaatjatjarra

Project team

Doug Marmion
Rhonda Smith