SSiMaori will surely be something to look forward to.
Hear, hear. I was reading a similar article yesterday (I forget where) about efforts to boost the learning of Maori — maybe even to make it compulsory in NZ schools — and I applaud them too. (Even as an Aussie. But I hope we can look forward to SSi for some Australian Aboriginal languages as well.)
Given the increasing recognition of and interest in these languages everywhere in Australia, that day will come, for sure!
I hope so. It was doing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies at university that first really sparked my interest in endangered languages and the need to support them.
It’s a struggle sometimes - our local language here, Anaiwan, has completely vanished, there are no speakers left. All that remains is about 500 words, recorded in explorers’ journals and other bits and pieces. Yet there is a group here trying to recreate it by various means, including comparative linguistics. They are getting some attention in the area, which is great.
That IS great to know — bit like what has happened with Cornish (which I’m learning)! Even if a language has to be reconstructed, and even if it’s impossible to restore it fully to what it was before, it’s still a great step to at least bring back important words and phrases and encourage people to learn and use them. The way I see it, for indigenous Australians it’s part of their culture and heritage and who they are; for non-indigenous Australians it’s a way of paying more respect to the first people of the land. I grew up in Bunurong country (south-east of Melbourne) and I would love to learn even a few words of the language for place names, plants and animals, greetings and so on. There are people working to revive it, but I can’t find much information online and don’t know how much support they’re getting.