Celebrating Australia's linguistic diversity on International Mother Language Day, linguist Jeanie Bell discusses Australian indigenous languages with Waleed Aly on Radio National Drive, last Thursday 21 February.
The aim of International Mother Language Day is to promote multiculturalism and linguistic diversity. The day encourages the use of language to preserve heritage and culture. It was proclaimed by UNESCO's General Conference in November 1999 to commemorate a fatal 1952 protest in Dhaka, Bangladesh (East Pakistan at the time) about the announcement that Urdu was to be the official language of the divided Pakistan. The International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000.
Jeanie Bell, a lecturer at the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Education and a PhD candidate in the School of Language Studies, provides an insight to the 145 Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia today and the fate of some 110 which are critically endangered.
» Listen to Jeanie's interview here.