Preserve First Nations languages

Keep Indigenous culture alive with these apps.

Did you know that there were once over 250 Indigenous languages spoken across the continent now called Australia? Today, there are less than 120 still in use, and all are in danger of extinction.

Indigenous languages play a vital role in the cultural identity of First Nations people, linking them to their lands and communities. Their languages express knowledge about all facets of life, from family and relationships to identity and caring for Country.

Helping to preserve these languages for future generations is a selection of language learning apps on the App Store. While there’s not yet an app for every language, this collection can help you get started in over 18 First Nations languages.

Learn Arrernte and Luritja

Arrernte is the traditional language from the Arrernte lands at Mparntwe (Alice Springs) and the Central Australia region of the Northern Territory. The Luritja dialect is spoken by their close neighbours, the Luritja peoples west of Mparntwe.

The Children’s Ground app supports learning both Arrernte and Luritja languages. Through e-books and games, it also offers a chance to explore the Central Australian landscape and its creatures.

For something more playful, Indigemoji gives you a sticker set of 90 emoji representing the life, culture and language of Arrernte Country. Each emoji includes an Arrernte name, including an audio pronunciation.

Learn Bundjalungm, Gamilaraay, Wiradjuri and more

In 2017, the Aboriginal Languages Act was passed to help recognise and invigorate over 35 First Nations languages spoken across New South Wales. The NSW AECG languages app is turning that initiative into action.

It features dictionaries for the Bundjalung, Gumbaynggirr, Gamilaraay, Murrawarri, Paakantji and Wiradjuri languages, plus games and colourful drawings to make learning fun.

Learn Pitjantjatjara

Pitjantjatjara is one of the most common languages spoken by the Pitjantjatjara people (who call themselves Anangu). They reside in the Central Australian desert across far north-west of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.

For a playful introduction the the language, Maḻpanya mai uwa! explores Pitjantjatjara letters and sounds through adorable interactive games.

Learn more First Nations languages

More places to listen and learn

Expand your knowledge of Indigenous languages with the Word Up podcast in ABC listen, which shares the diverse First Nations languages, one word at a time.

Little Yarns, from the ABC KIDS Listen app, explores the diverse languages, stories and Countries of Indigenous Australia. And ABC Education Good Mornings on ABC iview features children from around Australia sharing greetings in their Indigenous languages.

The artwork on this page was created in collaboration with Gunu Baakandji artist Maddison Gibbs.

Apple acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connection to land, culture and community. We pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.