Maintaining Arrernte – A Place For Language

Hi everyone,

The website, Apmere Angkentye-kenhe or, in English, ‘a place for language’, is a resource for those interested in learning Central/Eastern Arrernte, a language spoken in Central Australia. It is a telling source for those studying Australian language loss, maintenance and revival, as we have in Topic 5 of LING366/566, since resources like this one and the events organised by its owners would not exist if there were not some real fear that the language might decline in the absence of active attempts to maintain it. One of the goals of Apmere Angkentye-kenhe is to encourage language transfer in the Arrernte community, as English is so prominent that such transfer is not guaranteed; and certain older Arrernte people are not fluent in the language because they grew up in a time when English only was allowed in their schooling (Finnane, 4 July 2017, ‘Respect language and the loss of language’, accessed from

The website contains a Soundcloud recording of 50 important Arrernte words which anyone interested can teach themselves. However, Apmere Angkentye-kenhe is not just a website but an actual place: a yellow shed out of which activities are run, with the aim of ‘revitalising’ Arrernte. The yellow shed is an ‘experimental educational space’ which was first set up in mid-2017 by Watch this Space, in collaboration with Batchelor Institute and Children’s Playground, and advertises more events to come in May 2018. The website contains a gallery of students attending classes run by Apmere Angkentye-kenhe, a shop which sells such things as fridge magnets of Arrernte words, and an audio tour app which allows the purchaser to put on headphones and take a walk around Alice Springs whilst listening to the Arrernte commentary.

This is an excellent resource for those studying linguistics but most importantly for those members of the Arrernte community invested in language maintenance.

Image sourced from

Skye Bryant

This entry was posted in Bilingual Education, Community, Culture, Language Maintenance, Uncategorized, Visual Arts. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s