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Professor Ghil’ad Zuckerman believes that languages are the building blocks of community identity and authority. In an effort to civilize the aboriginal people in Australia, their language was taken away from them in the 1900s resulting in linguicide (language killing) and glottophagy (language eating). In recent years, the concept of language reclamation has become a popular theory as people seek to uncover their roots and reclaim their cultural autonomy.

Click on play to learn:

  • What it takes to revive a language in general.
  • What reasons support the investment of time and money for language revival.
  • What are ‘sleeping beauty’ languages.

Professor Zuckermann is the founder of Revivalistics, a global, trans-disciplinary field of enquiry surrounding language reclamation, revitalization, and reinvigoration. He believes that the loss of a language is more damaging for indigenous peoples than the loss of their land. While compensation may be given for lost land, there is no compensation for lost languages.

Language killing began to occur at the beginning of colonization in Australia. The belief was that the natives could be civilized more quickly if their language was eliminated and only the language of England was spoken in Australia. Although there are 250 known Aboriginal languages, only eighteen languages are currently in use as a result of language killing.

As globalization has grown in recent years, the interest in recovering lost languages has flourished. Revivalistics examines language revival from various perspectives including mental health, law, sociology, colonization, architecture, politics, and education.

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Episode also available on Apple Podcasts:

Also Check out these:

Israelit Safa Yafa (Israeli – A Beautiful Language), Am Oved, 2008:

Language Contact and Lexical Enrichment in Israeli Hebrew, Palgrave Macmillan, 2003:

Engaging – A Guide to Interacting Respectfully and Reciprocally with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and their Arts Practices and Intellectual Property, 2015:

Dictionary of the Barngarla Aboriginal Language of Eyre Peninsula, South Australia, 2018:

Barngarlidhi Manoo (Speaking Barngarla Together), 2019.

Part 1:;field=data;id=41076;m=view ,

Part 2:;field=data;id=41096;m=view


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