The National Indigenous Languages Survey (NILS) Report 2005 provides a summary
and analysis of the results from a survey of Indigenous languages vitality status and
resources that was carried out in 2004.
The survey itself was innovative in that it was an Internet survey with respondents providing online answers to a questionnaire, with assessments able to be processed as numbers or free text commentary. Telephone interviews and meetings supplemented the information gained from the questionnaire. A separate
survey questionnaire was circulated to collecting institutions, and assessment of the AIATSIS audio-visual collection was also conducted.
The analysis of NILS was carried out using ten indicators of the vitality of languages, resources, attitudes and practice. The indicators were based on a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Expert Groups proposals on assessment of language vitality (UNESCO 2003). In developing the NILS Report language endangerment indicators, which are detailed in Appendix A, reference was also made to work on the State of Indigenous Languages (SOIL) report for Australia (McConvell & Thieberger 2001).
The NILS questionnaire provides a more detailed picture of language proficiency and use for a sample of languages than the Australian census. It is recommended that detailed surveys be carried out on a rolling basis in Australian regions in the future.
Download: NILS Report
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