Pilot films are live!

We have launched 2 pilot films for our Watch My Language project. We aim to co-create a series of language learning films with kids and families in their heritage languages to help them watch and learn. These films will be shared online for others to watch and learn from too. Sharing language, culture and stories- digitally!
The pilot films are made by cofounder and director Penne Thornton with her Sudanese Australian family in Dinka and English.

Watch them here on our projects page or on youtube
What language are you learning? Would you like to make a short film?

 

News about First Languages in Australia

Check out this exciting collaboration :

First Languages Australia and ABC Regional are collaborating to see hundreds of fifteen second sound bites in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages created and aired on ABC Regional Radio across the country.

The sound bites are known as station IDs as they identify the radio station. Around the country, radio producers have been working with Indigenous community members to record and edit the IDs for broadcast.

First Languages Australia manager, Faith Baisden, sees this project as a bridge between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, our national broadcaster and regional audiences.

“This is a project of international significance”, she says, “allowing all listeners to connect with the first languages of Australia – among the oldest spoken languages in the world. People will come to understand the diversity of these hundreds of languages and the strong connection between the speakers and their lands.

“First Languages Australia works to ensure recognition and respect for Australia’s first languages, whether they are still strongly spoken today, proudly being revived, or those that haven’t been heard for many years.”

“Our collaboration with ABC Regional supports language groups around the country to have their voices heard proudly and strongly in the media landscape”, says Faith.

For full media release click here

Wade Davis on Language and Culture

(Transcript from Wade Davis TED talk) – Now, a language is not just a body of vocabulary or a set of grammatical rules. A language is a flash of the human spirit. It’s a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. Every language is an old-growth forest of the mind, a watershed, a thought, an ecosystem of spiritual possibilities. 

And of those 6,000 languages, as we sit here today in Monterey, fully half are no longer being whispered into the ears of children. They’re no longer being taught to babies, which means, effectively, unless something changes, they’re already dead. What could be more lonely than to be enveloped in silence, to be the last of your people to speak your language, to have no way to pass on the wisdom of the ancestors or anticipate the promise of the children? And yet, that dreadful fate is indeed the plight of somebody somewhere on Earth roughly every two weeks, because every two weeks, some elder dies and carries with him into the grave the last syllables of an ancient tongue.

And I know there’s some of you who say, “Well, wouldn’t it be better, wouldn’t the world be a better placeif we all just spoke one language?” And I say, “Great, let’s make that language Yoruba. Let’s make it Cantonese. Let’s make it Kogi.” And you’ll suddenly discover what it would be like to be unable to speak your own language.

Quotes

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Nelson Mandela

 

“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”
— Ludwig Wittgenstein

 

“Cultural survival is not about preservation, sequestering indigenous peoples in enclaves like some sort of zoological specimens. Change itself does note destroy a culture. All societies are constantly evolving. Indeed a culture survives when it has enough confidence in its past and enough say in its future to maintain its spirit and essence through all the changes it will inevitably undergo. ”
Wade Davis, The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

 

Denying cultural expression means limiting the expression of unique perspectives on life and the transmission of knowledge from generation to generation.
Racism No Way

“…there are few contemporary matters that do not involve the problem of the illusion of cultural identity.” (Jean-Francois Bayart)

“When asked the meaning of being human, all the diverse cultures of the world respond with 10,000 different voices. ” Wade Davis.

When a language ceases to be learned by young children, its days are clearly numbered, and we can predict with near certainty that it will not survive the death of the current native speakers.
linguisticsocity.org