History has shown that there are few things more important to people than their own language.
The Groote Eylandt Language Centre is dedicated to preserving the Anindilyakwa language.
Islanders like to boast that their language is one of the hardest in the world to learn.
Anindilyakwa is spoken by the Warnindilyakwa people on Groote and Bickerton Island.
A 2001 Australian government study identified more than 1000 speakers of the language, although there are believed to be as many as 3000.
The Groote Eylandt Language Centre was managed by the Church Missionary Society until 2006, but is now run by the Anindilyakwa Land Council.
Anindilyakwa speakers are proud of their language and the language centre is highly respected.
The language centre’s work includes:
- The development of an Andilyakwa orthography – a record of the language’s conventions, such as punctuation and word breaks
- The production of the Eningerribirra-langwa jurra, a children’s dictionary, and Alawudawarra akwa Emeba, a CD of children’s stories and songs.
- The recording and digitising of more than 1200 Groote Eylandt clan songs
- Collections of traditional stories in Anindilyakwa with English translations
A database of historical photos dating back to the early 1900s