Getting in Touch: Language and Digital Inclusion in Australian Indigenous Communities

Carew, Margaret
Green, Jennifer
Kral, Inge
Nordlinger, Rachel
Singer, Ruth
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University of Hawaii Press
Indigenous people in remote Australia face many dilemmas in relation to the status and vitality of their languages and communication ecologies. Cultural leaders want to maintain endangered heritage languages, yet this concern is balanced against an awareness that English competency is a necessary life skill. Remote Indigenous groups must also negotiate the effect of globalized media on language and cultural practices. While public policy seeks to bridge the digital divide in remote Australia, little attention has been paid to the dominance of English in the new digital environment and the potential impact that increased English language activities may have on endangered Indigenous languages. In this paper we discuss the Getting in Touch project, a joint initiative between linguists, Australian Indigenous language speakers, and software developers. Using a participatory, collaborative process, the project aims to develop ideas for digital resources that privilege Indigenous languages and knowledge systems. We argue that taking Indigenous languages into account in app design may help enhance digital literacies in remote Indigenous communities and promote digital inclusion.
Australia, Indigenous peoples, Technology, language software
Carew, Margaret, Jennifer Green, Inge Kral, Rachel Nordlinger & Ruth Singer. 2015. Getting in Touch: Language and Digital Inclusion in Australian Indigenous Communities. Language Documentation & Conservation 9. 307-323.
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