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e card Mother Tongue

The Mother Tongue Project is part of First Languages Australia’s national media strategy, which aims to increase the awareness of the first languages to the broad Australian audience.

In 2011, First Languages Australia approached ABC Open with a project proposal that aimed to showcase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, while sharing media skills with language workers around the country.

Mother Tongue provided the opportunity for stories about many of the first languages of Australia to be told to the world in each community’s voice. More than 100 films were made, sharing over 60 languages. ABC Open producers in each of the 50 ABC regional stations worked with members of their local language groups to help share their stories. The official project ran for 12 months during 2014 and 2015, though the relationships built have seen films continuing to be made and added to the collection.

The films have been shared subsequently via ABC Open and First Languages Australia’s social media platforms. A selection of the films is included as ‘Language Legends’ clips on Gambay (www.gambay.com.au), the national languages map; some films have screened on ABC TV and ABC iview, and each film will be broadcast on ICTV in the coming years. The content can be viewed on the ABC Open website.

The collaboration has led to strong relationships with and a much greater understanding of local Aboriginal language communities by ABC station staff. The project has seen an increase in media discussion of local language projects and activities beyond the parameters of Mother Tongue.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all the communities and ABC Open producers who participated.

You can view the Mother Tongue video contributions on the ABC Mother Tongue YouTube Playlist.

And read the text contributions here.

It is really a pleasure to see the Yolungu women working with their linguist to keeping their languages strong and another great project from ABC Open. These stories revitalise us and give us the incentive to keep working on our languages when we have language blockages, which is the same as writer’s blockage. It is like being in the desert with no water and then suddenly you see these videos and you are refreshed again and ready to get back to work on your language. Keep going Yolungu people, we are with you in spirit.
Bridget Priman

Manymak, Manymak, Manymak. What a great story. Thanks for sharing Jacqui Taylor and Will Tinapple. This little piece put a smile on my dial. The Yolngu women are just beautiful.
Charmaine Ingram

Latju dhäwu marrkap'mi mala.
Kathy McMahon