Ketyeye akweke angkentye akaltye-irreme

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What is the project about?

This project is about the kinds of words, sounds and grammatical patterns children in Arrernte and Warlpiri families in Alice Springs learn.

We ask families which words they use with their children. We record families talking about picture books and playing with toys. We want to make a word-list-you-can-hear so that families can show the words their children know at different ages.

We would like families to play some games about sounds, to show the sound patterns their children are learning.

The project is an ARC Future Fellowship project ‘Tracking language development of Indigenous children in Central Australia’. It aims to identify the language development paths of Indigenous children in Central Australia by examining the spoken language, sign and gesture of children’s early interactions.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the lands on which we meet and which our team members belong to: Arrernte, Warlpiri and Ngunnawal peoples.

Ethics approval has been gained from the Central Australian Human Research Ethics Committee (#CA-20-3633) and the ANU Human Research Ethics Committee (#2019-183).

Who is in the project?

First Peoples researchers at

The Tangentyere Research Hub (Vanessa Davis and Denise Foster)

Red Dust Role Models (Jessie Bartlett and Alice Nelson)


Research team leader Dr. Carmel O’Shannessy

Interested stakeholders

Children’s Ground

Central Australian Aboriginal Congress

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