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Gambay: Australian First Languages Map

Most people know how to say ‘hi’, ‘thank you’ or ‘yes’ in a few different languages – French, Italian, or Spanish.

But just how many of us know at least these simple words in Martu or Nyiyarpali – the languages of the traditional owners and custodians of the place we call our home, here in Newman.

Language and culture are important, and so is respect and understanding.

First Languages Australia have developed an amazing resource which showcases and maps out the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages, and teaches us a few words along the way. Gambay – Interactive Map

The interactive map is called Gambay, meaning ‘together; in Butchulla language – of the Harvey Bay region in Queensland.

According to First Languages Australia, “Gambay showcases over 780 languages. It is the first Australian map that allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities control over the way their languages are publicly represented.

To support language revival and maintenance at the community level, the map can group languages by colour to help communities identify the neighbouring languages with which they may most easily share language resources.

As only around twenty of Australia’s traditional languages are used daily by fluent speakers, establishing links between related languages is key to reviving Australia’s first languages.”

Proud Martu artist and filmmaker, Curtis Taylor, shares some of his knowledge as part of the interactive map with his segment of ‘Word Up’.