The National Indigenous Languages Report

The National Indigenous Languages Report
Thursday 27 August 2020

The National Indigenous Languages Report 2020

The Third National Indigenous Languages Report has been released, the first since 2014.  It gives an up-to-date account of the state of Indigenous languages and their speakers in Australia.  A team of linguists from the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics and the ARC Centre for the Dynamics of Language helped write the report. They developed the ‘Well-being and Indigenous language ecologies’ (WILE) framework which helps policy makers to recognise the diversity of languages in First Nations peoples’ lives. 

The diversity is represented in terms of ‘language ecologies’, which differ in the extent to which community members speak traditional Indigenous languages, new Indigenous languages, such as creoles or mixed languages, and varieties of English.  The WILE framework shows how the range of different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language ecologies around Australia link with their speakers’ well-being in different ways.


The WILE framework is one component of research commissioned from ANU by the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (formerly the Department of Communications and the Arts). Other ANU contributions include a literature review and a quantitative study investigating links between Indigenous language use and indicators of well-being.

WILE Framework & Literature Review
Angelo, Denise; O’Shannessy, Carmel; Simpson, Jane; Kral, Inge;  Smith, Hilary & Browne, Emma. 2019. Well-being & Indigenous Language Ecologies (WILE): A strengths-based approach. Literature Review for the National Indigenous Languages Report, Pillar 2. Canberra: The Australian National University. ISBN  978-0-6480548-0-1.  doi 10.25911/5dd50865580ea.
Quantitative Study showing links between Indigenous Language Use and Well-being
Dinku, Yonatan; Markham, Francis;  Venn, Danielle; Angelo, Denise;  Simpson, Jane; O’Shannessy, Carmel; Hunt, Janet; Dreise, Tony. 2019. Indigenous languages use is connected to indicators of well-being: Evidence from the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey 2014-15. CAEPR Working Paper 132. Canberra: The Australian National University. doi 10.25911/5ddb9fd6394e8.


Updated:  27 August 2020/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications