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Aboriginal English is spoken by an estimated 80 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and is the first and only language spoken by many Aboriginal children.

While many people misinterpret Aboriginal English as ‘poor’ English, the grammatical differences are not in fact errors but are correct given the rules of Aboriginal English. In fact, Aboriginal English has its own structure and the same potential as any other linguistic variety. 

However, the lack of understanding around Aboriginal English has resulted in many Indigenous children facing extra barriers at school, as well as the ongoing misunderstanding that ‘simple’ English is the best way to communicate with Indigenous communities. 


Produced By: Sophie Bennett

Featured In Story: Glenys Dale Collard, honorary research fellow at UWA, and Dr Celeste Rodriguez Louro, linguistics expert at UWA

First aired on The Wire, Tuesday 17 August 2021