ABC Radio Is Broadcasting In Two Indigenous Languages Now, Continues To Be the Absolute Best


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Hey, here’s something happening in Australia that isn’t hideously, hideously depressing: ABC Radio in the Northern Territory has just started a twelve-month trial of broadcasting the news in local Aboriginal languages, and it’s going really well.

News bulletins read in the Warlpiri language, spoken by about 3,000 Warlpiri people in the central Northern Territory, began broadcasting on Tuesday August 5, while broadcasts in Yolngu Matha, an umbrella term for around six mutually intelligible languages spoken by roughly 4,600 Yolngu people in northeast Arnhem Land, started a day later. The news is translated from English by the Aboriginal Interpreter Service, and broadcast by native speakers of each language once a day.

Indigenous Australians make up 30 percent of the Northern Territory’s population, and in remote areas up to 64 percent of Aboriginal people speak an Indigenous language at home, making something like this an absolute no-brainer. Around 93 percent of Indigenous languages have become extinct since 1788, but communities like the Yolngu, Warlpiri and the Barngala on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula are working to both preserve and revive their spoken languages. The once-extinct Kaurna language has even been brought back into circulation on high school syllabi in Adelaide’s northern suburbs.

The preservation and promotion of Indigenous languages is a good thing in and of itself, but this kind of stuff is a reminder that the ABC can be bloody brilliant sometimes, and is one of the things that makes us us. Hopefully those budget cuts the government wants don’t go through.

Have a listen below, in both Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha:

Feature image via ABC.