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ERIC Number: EJ1129100
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0005-3503
Embracing Babel: The "Framework for Australian Languages"
Troy, Jaky; Walsh, Michael
Babel, v48 n2-3 p14-19 2013
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has been developing language-specific curricula for a range of languages in the "Australian Curriculum: Language"s and has also undertaken development of a "Framework for Australian Languages", to provide guidance for the development of curricula for specific Australian Languages (Aboriginal languages and Torres Strait Islander languages) to accommodate the varied situations across Indigenous Australia. Foremost among the challenges for the "Framework for Australian Languages" is the multiplicity of languages potentially to be covered. It is estimated that there were some 250 Australian Languages at the time of the first sustained contact with outsiders. Of these only about 20 are still spoken "right through". The other languages are in various states ranging from minimal documentation and language use through to significant advances in language revitalisation (Walsh, 2001). Because there are so many languages, the framework is not, and cannot be, a language-specific curriculum. The learner pathways for the framework are: first language learner, language revival learner and second language learner. Typically the first language learner pathway will be for Indigenous students "on country" in more remote parts of Australia. The second language pathway, on the other hand, will typically be learned 'off country' as is the case for Pitjantjatjara in places like Adelaide and other centres in South Australia quite distant from the Pitjantjatjara homelands. The largest array of languages is in the language revival learner pathway, which will most often be studied by non-Indigenous as well as Indigenous students. In this article we explore some of the framework's challenges in embracing the concept of Babel--from the Biblical story of the scattering of people across the earth and the "confounding" of communication through the introduction of multiple languages.
Australian Federation of Modern Language Teachers Associations. Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia. Tel: +61-29351-2022; e-mail:; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A