Skip to main content
Start of main content

Northern Institute event

Creating a World that Sustains its Languages

Presenter Steven Bird, Professor, Northern Institute
Contact person
Northern Institute
T: 08 8946 7468 E:
Location Northern Institute's Savanna Room (CDU Casuarina Campus, Yellow 1.2.48)
Open to CDU staff and students, Public

This seminar is part of the People.Policy.Place Seminar Program 2024.


Language Party Storeytellers

To many in academia, myself included, the world’s language crisis has been an opportunity for three decades of initiatives to ‘save languages’. Common activities are to record, transcribe and translate large quantities of primary linguistic data, to engage communities in formal language revitalisation programs, and to supply the languages with basic speech recognition and machine translation technologies. 

In this presentation, I ask: how do these various initiatives work when viewed from the standpoint of participants? How do these initiatives take local understandings of ‘language’ and ‘vitality’ seriously and play into the local linguistic ecology with its vehicular and vernacular languages? I report on new initiatives with my colleagues to rethink the dynamics of language use, leading to creative new ways for locals and newcomers to work together to keep minoritised languages strong, such as ‘Language Parties’.


Professor Steven Bird

Steven Bird has spent over 30 years working with minoritised people groups and developing ways to keep oral languages and cultures strong, including fieldwork in Africa, Melanesia, Amazonia, and Australia. He has held academic appointments at U Edinburgh, U Pennsylvania, UC Berkeley, and U Melbourne. Since 2017, Steven has been a research professor at Northern Institute, CDU, where he directs the Top End Language Lab. He pursues other language-related projects at


In-person: Please RSVP to attend in person—limited seating (30ppl).  RSVP
Online: Once you register, you will receive an individual link from Zoom <> Register

Getting there

Northern Institute's Savanna Room
CDU Casuarina Campus, Yellow 1, Level 2, Room 48
Google Maps Location or How to get to Savanna Room.

Related Events

  • Paul Gurrumuruwuy Wunuŋmurra and family at christmas time
    Casuarina campus

    Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit

    Join us for this special screening of “Manapanmirr, In Christmas Spirit”, Thursday 7 December at Mal Nairn Auditorium. 

    Art/exhibition/public program
    Read more about Manapanmirr, in Christmas Spirit
  • CDU Engaging Governance Facilitators
    Casuarina campus

    Engaging Governance

    This workshop is for Indigenous HDR Students & CDU Students/Researchers who are interested in policy and First Nations governance. Gain personalised support for research projects, professional development, and networking opportunities.

    Read more about Engaging Governance
  • Dr Tracy Woodroffe Newsroom

    Higher Education and First Nations Students: The CDU Story

    Join NI & Faculty of Arts and Society researchers to discuss an update on their HEPPP Higher Education Experience for First Nations Students at CDU project. 

    Read more about Higher Education and First Nations Students: The CDU Story
Back to top