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Podcast: Recording Australia's threatened indigenous languages


An international not-for-profit organisation dedicated to building the world’s largest language archive is turning its attention to Australia’s indigenous languages.

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In today’s podcast, The Message Pod’s Nicole Haack talks to Daniel Bogre Udell, the founder of Wikitongues – a volunteer-driven organisation that has been growing its online database since 2013.

The movement has more than 800 volunteers in 60 countries, but none in Australia – yet.

Bogre Udell wants Australians to help build the archive, with a focus on Australia’s indigenous languages, many of which are under threat.

“The rate of language loss the world is experiencing right now is unprecedented, and very much tied to the injustices of the past two centuries,” Bogre Udell said. “We want to defend cultural diversity.

“In Australia, it is Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that are struggling most with maintaining their languages.

“These are communities that didn’t give up their language because they wanted to, but because they’ve been at the blunt end of some kind of economic, cultural or political marginalisation.

“Language is really about fundamental access of identity and also of equality. I don’t think we can have serious or fully nuanced conversations about political equality and inequality, economic equality and inequality and development and social justice without thinking about language….it is the voice of a community.”

Listen to the full conversation – including how you can get involved – below.

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