Malcolm King in The Age today, writes about the losing of the many Aboriginal languages:
The world’s languages are dying at a rate of one a fortnight, but an Aboriginal tongue has been brought back to life.
MUCH has been written about the need for ecological diversity to maintain a balanced ecosystem. Yet in the City of Churches an equally profound revolution is taking place that has linguists all over the world talking ” the resurrection of a dead Aboriginal language.
Ninna marni? Are you good? Marniai. I’m good. Wanti ninna? Where are you going? Wodlianna. Going home.
That’s Kaurna, the language of the original inhabitants of the Adelaide Plain, the Kaurna people. It was effectively dead by 1900. It suffered the fate of many Aboriginal people: dispersal, disease, infighting and assimilation. English buried their tongue.
When Europeans arrived, linguists estimate, there were more than 250 Aboriginal languages. Today no more than 25 Aboriginal languages are spoken daily.