Have you heard of Gambay? Developed by First Languages Australia in partnership with regional language centres and programs across the country, Gambay is an interactive online map that showcases over 780 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. The name Gambay translates to "together" in the Butchulla language of the Hervey Bay region in Queensland (First Languages Australia, 2021).
“It is the first Australian map that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities control over the way their languages are publicly represented.” - First Languages Australia, 2021
'Gambay.' Courtesy of First Languages Australia, 2021.
For all the teachers out there, First Languages Australia have even compiled teacher's notes to assist in integrating Australia's first languages into the curriculum! The notes cover each year level from foundation to Year 10, in line with the Australian national curriculum and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders Histories and Cultures Cross-curriculum priority (First Languages Australia, 2021).
To help with the sharing of language resources, some regions have chosen to group related languages in colour. As you scroll through the list on the right hand side of the page, you will see all of the languages listed. When you select a language, there are video clips of ‘Language Legends’ aka Australian language workers explaining the importance of their language/s and demonstrating their dedication and passion to reviving or maintaining their language/s. These video clips are aimed at encouraging a better understanding of the importance of Australia’s first languages. The videos also provide an opportunity for members of the wider Australian community to gain an insight into the vast diversity of First Nations languages and their present endangered status, and they act as a bridge to cross-cultural understanding (First Languages Australia, 2021).
The information about each language can be shared via the Facebook, Twitter or email icons below each language tab. Each language also includes the ‘Austlang code’ which you can click on to read further information on the language, provided by the government agency Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) (First Languages Australia, 2021).
So, check out the Gambay map, and we hope you enjoy learning about First Nations’ languages used in everyday Australian life. Learning about First Nations languages is so significant to understanding not only the cultural roots of this Country, but even the anthropological roots and plant and animal life. It is also important to learn that language forms a vital part of many Indigenous groups’ traditional rituals and ceremonies. Without the preservation of language, history and culture is lost.