Archive for January, 2019

Indigenous Languages Initiative

Posted: January 8, 2019 in Uncategorized


It’s not uncommon to hear criticism of Christian missionaries for their patriarchal approach to indigenous people.

However, in this International Year of Indigenous Languages it is significant that the work of at least one pioneer missionary in Australia will be recognised.

The National Library of Australia has commenced a project as part of the International Year to digitise some important books on Aboriginal languages, including a number produced by veteran missionary-linguist, Wilf Douglas.

Works will include dictionaries and word books from as far back as 1954 in the Western Desert language of Warburton Ranges, the Bardi language of Sunday Island and the Noongar language of the south west of Western Australia. 

Few people have contributed as much to the knowledge of Australian Aboriginal languages and their protection from potential extinction through the development of dictionaries and grammars for previously unwritten languages.

Congratulations to the National Library of Australia for embarking on this significant project in the International Year of Indigenous People.