SIL International Media Release

Publication of Eastern and Central Arrernte Picture Dictionary celebrated in Australia

Poster for the invitation to the book launch for the Eastern and Central Arrernte Picture Dictionary (September 2008) The publication of the Eastern and Central Arrernte Picture Dictionary was celebrated as part of the Irrkerlantye Festival Night on 17 September in Alice Springs, Australia. Arrernte-speaking communities and an SIL linguist worked together to compile this most recent addition to the series of nine illustrated Aboriginal dictionaries. Published by IAD Press, Australia's oldest independent Aboriginal publishing house, these volumes comprise a significant contribution to Australia's cultural wealth and knowledge base. The series includes all the major languages of Central Australia.

Eastern and Central Arrernte Picture Dictionary cover The 192-page Eastern and Central Arrernte Picture Dictionary is a valuable literacy tool based on aspects of Arrernte culture, both past and present. It is a resource for school children and their teachers, for Arrernte speakers wanting to become literate in Arrernte, and for anyone wanting to learn about the Arrernte language. The Dictionary contains a pronunciation guide and each word entry includes a sample sentence and is associated with an appropriate illustration.

Eastern and Central Arrernte communities enlisted the assistance of an SIL linguist to compile the Dictionary which contains over 600 key Arrernte words with more than 400 black and white accompanying illustrations. It draws on Arrernte elders' knowledge of the ethnobiology and natural history of their lands as well as kinship systems and the groups relating to their social structure. The traditional Eastern and Central Arrernte region stretches across central Australia and encompasses Alice Springs and the East MacDonnell Ranges.

Arrernte men Roughly 1,800 people speak Arrernte, making it one of the largest populations of any Australian language. It is taught in schools and used in local media and government. The local government is recognizing that mother tongue languages are integral to the sense of identity of all Aboriginal people, and that meaningful communication must address issues related to the maintenance of their language and culture.

Arrernte workshop The Dictionary project was supported by the Australian Government under the Indigenous Culture Support Program of the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. IAD Press is a not-for-profit organization and is the publishing arm of the Institute for Aboriginal Development Inc. based in Alice Springs, Central Australia. The Institute for Aboriginal Development Inc. is assisted by the Australian Government through its arts funding and advisory body of the Australia Council.

The Alyawarr and Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara picture dictionaries were also compiled with SIL linguist consultation, and are part of a series of nine illustrated Aboriginal language dictionaries.

Alyawarr Picture Dictionary cover Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara Picture Dictionary cover


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