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Still Waters

High-tech bid to save ancient language

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Researchers are developing a mobile phone application in an effort to help save an ancient Aboriginal language that is close to being lost forever.

The language of Iwaidja is thousands of years old but on Croker Island in the Top End only about 150 people still speak it.

Iwaidja is one of about 50 known Aboriginal languages of Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory.

Bruce Birch from the Minjilang Endangered Languages Project has been working with locals to try to save it.

"It is one of Australia's hundred or so highly endangered languages," he said.

Using $100,000 of federal funding, a mobile phone application is being developed.

It will have 1,000 dictionary entries and almost 500 phrases.

arrow3.gifRead more...

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IPHONE TO THE RESCUE! Saving languages in distress!

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Languages survive based on how well the people who speak them adapt and how important they make themselves on the world stage, Mandarin is becoming a widely spoken language around the world because of its growing importance, at the same time Latin is no longer widely spoken because the Roman Empire diminished in importance, so seeing as I've never heard of Iwaidja, it clearly isn't important enough to be worth a massive effort to maintain. If the people who spoke it had spent the last few centuries building up a nation like Australia then maybe it would an important language, they didn't, so that's their bad luck.

On a side note...that old guy in the middle is sporting a ridiculously well toned body for his age!! Way to go old man!

Edited by TheSpoonyOne

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thats not true at all im an aussie and theres alot more people speaking it than 150 hahahaha lmao thats funny

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Arawyn, an iPhone would be very useful on a walkabout. I wonder if Siri understands Iwaidja?;)

Edit: Added a winky smiley

Edited by Junior Chubb

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Languages survive based on how well the people who speak them adapt and how important they make themselves on the world stage, Mandarin is becoming a widely spoken language around the world because of its growing importance, at the same time Latin is no longer widely spoken because the Roman Empire diminished in importance, so seeing as I've never heard of Iwaidja, it clearly isn't important enough to be worth a massive effort to maintain. If the people who spoke it had spent the last few centuries building up a nation like Australia then maybe it would an important language, they didn't, so that's their bad luck.

On a side note...that old guy in the middle is sporting a ridiculously well toned body for his age!! Way to go old man!

I would imagine out of the 7256 or so languages of the world, there are heaps of them you have never heard of! Interesting value system! If you haven't heard of it, it must not be important.

arrow3.gifView: Ethnologue

There are lots of reason for populations to diminish. One is ethnocentric westerners taking over the lands of a people who have no generational buildup of immunity to things like German measles, small pox, scarlet fever... Then there is just the wholesale slaughter of them so they won't be a problem while the land is being stolen from them. How about that old man?

Edited by encouraged

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it can has a great success in Spain, where they keep some ancient, death, and inner country languages such a vasco, catalan, gallego, bable, murciano, valenciano, mallorquin, silbo, etc.

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