First Languages Australia has developed an interactive map to display and promote the diversity of Australia’s Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages. The map is called Gambay, which means ‘together’ in the Butchulla language of the Hervey Bay region in Queensland.
The data included on this map has been contributed by regional language centres and programs working directly with language communities.
Gambay showcases over 780 languages. It is the first Australian map that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities control over the way their languages are publically represented.
To support language revival and maintenance at the community level, the map can group languages by colour to help communities identify the neighbouring languages with which they may most easily share language resources.
As only around twenty of Australia’s traditional languages are used daily by fluent speakers, establishing links between related languages is key to reviving Australia’s first languages.
Teachers’ notes have been developed to assist school teachers to teach about Indigenous languages across key subjects including; English, Maths, Science, History, Geography and Civics. The notes are linked to the Australian national curriculum and cover each year level from foundation to Year 10, in line with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum priority.
To encourage better understanding of the importance of Australia’s first languages, video clips of ‘Language Legends’ are being collected and published on the map.
A ‘person’ icon on a map dot represents a Language Legend clip. The clips allow Australian language workers to personally explain the importance of their language/s and demonstrate their passion and dedication to their revival or maintenance.
The videos are moving expressions of the diversity of Australia’s languages, their present endangerment status, and aspirations. They provide an opportunity for members of the Australian public to meet language workers from their regions and gain an insight into the language activities they are involved in, as a bridge to cross cultural understanding.
From a technical perspective, First Languages Australia is grateful for the collaboration of the Queensland Indigenous Languages Advisory Committee (QILAC) in sharing the tools developed for Nyurrangu Ngardji, the interactive language map of the state of Queensland.
What I love the most is that the map is interactive. It allows our language warriors to tell their story on their country.
Language is important because it us an identity and a belonging to a group. You’ve got to know who you are and where you are from. I think language is part of that.
Access Gambay here: www.gambay.com.au