The Centre for Critical Studies was incorporated in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities in August 2015.

The information in this website is therefore out of date but retained for archival and staff purposes.

Loss and Renewal: Indigenous Languages since 1788

Thursday 27 March 2014, 5:30 - 6:30pm
The University of Queensland Art Museum (Building 11), St Lucia Campus [see map]

Click here for the audio recording


Over the last 225 years, English has left an indelible footprint on the linguistic landscape of Indigenous Australia. Of the approximately 250 languages which were spoken at first contact, only around 18 remain strong. However, in many remote areas of northern Australia, language loss has also been accompanied by language genesis. New Indigenous languages have emerged as a modern expression of Indigeneity. While a concerted effort has been directed towards the documentation of traditional Indigenous languages, we are only beginning to understand the nature of these new languages. This talk will focus on the Gurindji community of Kalkaringi (NT) where Felicity Meakins has worked for the last 15 years as a community linguist and academic. Gurindji people are well known due to their influence on the equal wages and the land rights movements in the 1960-70s. Kalkaringi has a complex language ecology which has given rise to a new language, Gurindji Kriol. A better understanding of communities such as Kalkaringi is important to help equip Indigenous communities with tools to target at risk areas of vocabulary and grammar in Indigenous language maintenance programs and to provide educators with information about Indigenous children's language background necessary to tailor educational programs.


Felicity Meakins is a Research Fellow at the University of Queensland. She is a field linguist who specialises in the documentation of Australian Indigenous languages in the Victoria River District of the Northern Territory and the effect of English on Indigenous languages. She has worked as a community linguist as well as an academic over the past 15 years, facilitating language revitalisation programs, consulting on Native Title claims and conducting research into Indigenous languages. She has compiled a number of dictionaries and grammars of traditional Indigenous languages and has written numerous papers on language change in Australia.


This lecture will be chaired by Professor Gay Hawkins
Members of the public are invited to attend this free seminar, after which light refreshments will be served.
Enquiries: Rebecca Ralph, Events Co-ordinator
P: (07) 3346 7407 | F: (07) 3365 7184 | E:
Go to top