Article

Australian Languages

Claire Bowern

in Linguistics

ISBN: 9780199772810
Published online October 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199772810-0005
Australian Languages

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  • Linguistics
  • Anthropological Linguistics
  • Language Families
  • Psycholinguistics
  • Sociolinguistics

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At the time of the first European settlement of Australia in 1788, there were approximately 250 distinct languages spoken, representing about twenty-eight phylic families. In the early 21st century only twenty of these languages are being learned by children. These languages are important to all areas of linguistics as the only languages spoken by hunter-gatherers who were not in contact with agriculturalists and as languages with many interesting syntactic, phonological, and morphological features. Speakers of Aboriginal languages and heritage owners are also at the forefront of language preservation and revitalization activities. This article provides an overview of the main areas in the field, language resources, and both classic and state-of-the-art materials. A great number of important additional resources exist at present in manuscript form; this work is not cited here.

Article.  8988 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Anthropological Linguistics ; Language Families ; Psycholinguistics ; Sociolinguistics

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