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International Mother Language Day is today, 21st February – and funding to support language acquisition and heritage

Last year was the UN Year of Indigenous Languages, aimed at raising awareness of the value of Indigenous languages across the world. Following in those footsteps, today, 21st February 2020 is marked by the UN as International Mother Languages Day, for recognising that with the loss of language so too are lost opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression, as well as the basic right to cultural integrity. In Australia, only 13 out of hundreds of once-thriving pre-colonisation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages are still acquired by children. Indigenous Language Centres play a vital role in preserving disappearing languages in Australia, as does the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies and the First Languages Australia project. Find out more about the catalogued Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages in your region as well as around Australia, and why it’s important to revive ancestral languages, written from a young Aboriginal woman’s perspective.

The federal government is currently accepting Community Languages Multicultural Grants funding applications, aimed at building the capacity of community language schools to deliver quality language education. Projects and initiatives should: support the maintenance, development and acquisition of languages other than English, connect young Australians to the languages and cultures of their community, and enhance cross-cultural awareness and respect for cultural diversity. Applications from organisations applying as a consortium will be prioritised for funding. Applicants are encouraged to seek endorsement for their proposed project from either the national peak body or a state and territory peak body relating to community languages. Find out more and apply. Applications close 11pm Friday, 6th March.

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