• Digital resources for language

    Digital resources for language

    VACL is expanding into the use of inteactive digital tools and Apps for learning language.

    Read More
  • Community Training Workshops

    Community Training Workshops

    VACL offers a range of workshops to assist you with your language revival journey.

    Read More
  • Education and learning

    Education and learning

    VACL supports education and learning activities in schools and communities around Victoria.

    Read More
  • Cultural events and festivals

    Cultural events
    and festivals

    VACL promotes language through cultural activities and public events.

    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
WHY IS LANGUAGE IMPORTANT?

Language is important to Aboriginal people because it is a way for them to express their identity and be proud of where they come from and who they are. If a person knows a word in their language he/she is maintaining a link that has lasted thousands of years, keeping words alive that have been used by their ancestors - language is an ancestral right and it distinguishes something special about Aboriginal people from non-Aboriginal people. Language is a part of culture, and knowledge about culture is a means of empowering people. Language contributes to the wellbeing of Aboriginal communities, strengthens ties between elders and young people and improves education in general for Indigenous people of all ages.

WHO WE ARE

group

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages was established in 1994 to address the issues of language loss and is the state body responsible for coordinating Community Language Programs throughout Victoria. These programs are run in local communities that report regularly back to VACL. The Corporation is focused on retrieving, recording and researching Aboriginal languages and providing a central resource on Victorian Aboriginal Languages with programs and educational tools to teach the Indigenous and wider community about language.

WHAT WE DO
  • Act as the peak body for Victorian Aboriginal Languages to develop partnerships with, and provide resources and information to, government and non-government and community organizations.

  • Promote VACL as it fosters appreciation and use of Indigenous languages in a range of domains and media, so as to advance their retrieval, revival and maintenance.

  • Assist Aboriginal communities to coordinate resources and employment and training through local language centres and committees.

  • Provide and maintain a centre for resources and documentation of languages for the benefit of Victorian Aboriginal people.

  • Ensure good governance and management practices within VACLs structure.

ABORIGINAL LANGUAGES IN PRE-CONTACT AUSTRALIA

Prior to colonisation there were approximately 250 Indigenous languages spoken in Australia (approximately 40 in Victoria). Some of these had several varieties, and there were altogether about 500 language varieties used across Australia. Before settlement Indigenous individuals were capable of speaking five or more languages fluently. When two people met, they could identify the region each came from by the way they spoke. It was a bit like travelling across Europe and recognising which country each person comes from by their language.

ABORIGINAL LANGUAGES IN VICTORIA TODAY

In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest in the Aboriginal languages of the south-eastern corner of Australia. The boundaries between one language area and another are not distinct. Rather, mixtures of vocabulary and grammatical construction exist in such regions, and so linguistic maps may show some variation about where one language ends and another begins.

Many Australian Indigenous languages have declined to a critical state. More than three-quarters of the original Australian languages have already been lost, and the survival of almost all of the remaining languages are extremely threatened.

“Language is the carrier of information about who we are,

how we express ourselves and our culture, it defines our world around us”

LANGUAGE ALIVE IN COMMUNITIES NOW

Communities throughout Victoria, supported by VACL, are reviving their languages through language camps, workshops, school programs, educational material for children, networking events, publications, music, digital resources, and dictionaries.

The Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages supports these communities by:

  • Providing and maintaining a central resource for Victorian Indigenous Languages for the benefit of the local Aboriginal Communities and individual Aboriginal people of Victorian Aboriginal descent.

  • Ensuring that local Community Language Programs are progressing according to their benchmarks and objectives.

  • Supporting local Aboriginal community programs with research and retrieval by supporting the language workers with advice, training and assistance when needed.

  • Researching and retrieving language materials from Victorian and interstate archives, so the material can be made available to local communities.

  • Assisting local Communities with the writing of retrieval plans.

"Education and language are the glue needed to maintain, revive and reclaim culture."

Latest News

Pemulwuy and other Indigenous heroes now in HSC mix - SBS
SBSPemulwuy and other Indigenous heroes now in HSC mixSBS"In the study of Modern History this understanding is deepened through the study of other indigenous peoples and through the exploration of their interaction with others." It says teachers will be encouraged...
Read more...
Open source effort gives indigenous language an official typeface - Opensource.com
Opensource.comOpen source effort gives indigenous language an official typefaceOpensource.comThe Indian government's Ministry of Tribal Affairs, which is set up for the development of many aboriginal groups in the country, does not have its web portal in Santali or any other...
Read more...
NAIDOC 2016: School leads language revival after student prompts search for Indigenous teacher - ABC Local
ABC LocalNAIDOC 16: School leads language revival after student prompts search for Indigenous teacherABC LocalA primary school in Melbourne's outer west has taken a lead in supporting Indigenous language revival by employing a young Wurundjeri man to teach its prep...
Read more...
Lost in translation: Leading the Bunganditj language revival - ABC Message Stick
ABC Message StickLost in translation: Leading the Bunganditj language revivalABC Message StickThere are no Indigenous students at the school, but principal Maureen Hanrahan said it was important for students to engage in Indigenous culture. "Children need the opportunity to engage...
Read more...
This young musician is on a mission to stop Indigenous languages fading away. - Broadsheet
BroadsheetThis young musician is on a mission to stop Indigenous languages fading away.BroadsheetWords are important to Corey Theatre. So too is the preservation of Indigenous Australian languages. Theatre is on a mission to preserve them the best way he knows...
Read more...
Native Montreal seeks teachers to revive Indigenous languages - CBC.ca
CBC.caNative Montreal seeks teachers to revive Indigenous languagesCBC.caAn organization dedicated to providing services to the Aboriginal community of Montreal is looking for language teachers. Starting this fall, Native Montreal plans to provide language classes in Innu, Cree, Mohawk, Abenaquis, Anishnabe...
Read more...
Cleverman showcases revival of Australia's Indigenous languages - ABC Local
ABC LocalCleverman showcases revival of Australia's Indigenous languagesABC LocalThe Aboriginal characters in Cleverman speak Gumbaynggirr alongside the northern NSW language of Bundjalung. Mr Williams said his nephew had been working on the series and contacted him for language advice. "Apparently...
Read more...