Out of the Mouths of Babes: The Role of Indigenous Children in Language Change (2014–2017)
Over the last 225 years, English has left an indelible footprint on the linguistic landscape of Australia. Many
Indigenous languages now learnt by children have undergone restructuring under the influence of English.
One of these languages is Gurindji. This project is the first diachronic investigation of cross-generational
language change in an Indigenous language. It examines the linguistic input Gurindji children received from
their caregivers as infants and charts its influence on their subsequent language use. Exploring these
changes is crucial to understanding language shift, and to tailoring educational programs to suit the needs of
Indigenous children. It will place Australia at the forefront of studies of complex language change.