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Tuesday 26 May 2015 | Published in Regional


SYDNEY – A researcher at the University of Sydney says preserving indigenous languages is good for people’s health.

The preservation of many of the world’s most endangered languages was the focus of a public forum at the university this week.

The forum was triggered by concern from communities in Australia and the French Pacific, amid predictions that as many as half the world’s languages may no longer exist by the end of the century.

The University’s Director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research, Jakelin Tory, says while language keeps a culture alive, it can also do the same for its people.

“It’s demonstrated that where people have their languages supported, and they are able to be educated in their languages, and can speak their languages on a daily basis, it’s interesting that even chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease are reduced. There is evidence in Australia where Aboriginal communities still speak languages those chronic diseases are reduced.”

Dr Tory says people doing business across the Pacific should engage in the local language and not try to assert English as the dominant language.