10 most widely spoken Aboriginal languages in Australia

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At the time of colonisation in 1788, Australia was home to over 500 Indigenous languages. Since that time, many languages have been lost forever. This year’s NAIDOC theme was our languages matter and we are compiling a list of the 10 most widely spoken Aboriginal languages.

Sadly there are many languages in Australia that are either extinct/sleeping or have less than a dozen speakers left. Even the top 10 languages listed here are considered endangered by linguists who feel there is still a chance that 50% of the world’s languages could be lost forever within the next 80-90 years. Well, we don’t want that and we hope articles like this might spark more interest for other Aboriginal people whose traditional languages are not in the top 10 to start promoting language in their communities. Even with limited numbers of speakers it is still possible to help revive languages that are currently dying. This can happen through community classes and events etc. Another great way to help promote Indigenous languages is through song.

Check out the Top 10 list below and take a look at our playlist of these languages from our Welcome to Country YouTube channel.

10 most widely commonly spoken indigenous aboriginal languages australia

 

Top 10 Aboriginal Languages playlist

Arrernte – Central Australia, Northern Territory

Djambarrpuyngu – Arnhem Land, Northern Territory

Pitjantjatjara –  Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY Lands), Central Australia

Warlpiri – Central West, Northern Territory

Murrinh-Patha – Wadeye, Northern Territory

Tiwi – Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

Luritja – Western Desert, Central Australia

Anindilyakwa – Groote Eylandt, Northern Territory

Wik Mungkan – Aurukun, Cape York, QLD

Ammatyerre – Central Australia, Northern Territory

Click here to view the full AIATSIS languages map

Please note that numbers of speakers are only estimates based on dates between 1996 & 2006. Sadly the Australian Bureau of Statistics have not released the data on the number of speakers counted during the 2016 census. It would have been a great addition to make this information public considering the theme of this years NAIDOC week is about the importance of language.

Welcome to Country is an independent news/media website. We make it easy for Indigenous voices to be heard. If you would like to have your very own article published, contact us via our Facebook page or via our contact page.

 

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