The linguistic cradle of many Aboriginal children in remote Australia is a multilingual setting involving considerable mixing between languages. Children bring this linguistic background to the task of learning English. This project is the first investigation of a trilingual Indigenous community, Elliott (NT), where children grow up hearing Jingulu, Mudburra and Kriol. It examines how people at Elliott manage multiple languages and how these languages have changed through mixing processes such as creolisation and code-switching. Exploring this dynamic language ecology is crucial to tailoring educational programs to suit the needs of Aboriginal children. It will place Australia at the forefront of studies of complex language change.

Project members

Dr Felicity Meakins

Linguistics Discipline
ARC DECRA Snr Research Fellow
School of Languages and Cultures

Associate Professor Rob Pensalfini

Linguistics Discipline
Associate Professor
School of Languages and Cultures