Aboriginal languages of central Australia

Some of the extraordinary things about our Aboriginal languages are that so many of them have survived colonisation, that they are often closely associated with particular areas of land and that their speakers are often multilingual. How is this so? There are a number of answers, some unique to Central Australia.

This map of Central Australian Aboriginal languages from our oral history collection Every Hill Got a Story shows that their distribution ignores state borders. A number of language groups in desert regions of Central Australia extend into Western Australia and South Australia. 

These groups are often comprised of closely related languages that share much vocabulary and grammar. Sometimes the distinctions between the languages are minimal, sometimes they are significant.

Take a deeper dive into our amazing languages with the following essays: