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During Multicultural Queensland Month, we are encouraging everyone to take a closer look at language and put inclusion into action by celebrating language diversity, breaking down language barriers and choosing to use inclusive language every day.

The following information, links and resources may offer you some new ideas and perspectives to share and discuss with colleagues, family and friends.

Celebrate language diversity

As Queenslanders, we speak an incredible number of languages and dialects.

  • Did you know, there are over 150 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander language groups in Queensland? Find out more with the State Library of Queensland's interactive languages map.
  • In addition to First Nations languages, Queenslanders speak more than 180 languages other than English. Discover the diversity of your local area with the Search Diversity Queensland tool.
  • In this fascinating TED Talk Cognitive Scientist Lera Boroditsky explores the way language shapes the way we think about the world around us.
  • The Diversity Council of Australia shares their perspectives on multilingualism, including the many benefits of speaking more than one language.
  • Auslan is the language of the Australian Deaf community in Australia. It was not invented by any single person, hearing or deaf. Any language, whether spoken or signed, grows and develops spontaneously in response to the communication needs of its users. Find out more about Auslan at Deaf Connect or learn how to sign many different words at Signbank (auslan.org.au)
  • The Decade of Indigenous Language (2022-2032) builds on the lessons learnt during the International Year of Indigenous Languages (2019). The Los Pinos Declaration, designed to inspire a global plan of action for the Decade, recognises the importance of Indigenous languages to social cohesion and inclusion, cultural rights, health and justice. Current data indicates that at least 40% of the 7,000 languages used worldwide are at some level of endangerment. While reliable figures are hard to come by, experts agree that Indigenous languages are particularly vulnerable because many of them are not taught at school or used in the public sphere.
  • According to Professor Greg Hainge, Head of the School of Languages and Cultures at the University of Queensland: “Language and culture go to the heart of what it is to be a human being. It's of relevance to all of us, no matter what our area of interest. Indeed, in a world where relations between people at all levels of interaction remain fraught, where people are marginalised through the loss of languages, and as technologies offer means of communication that can enable new connections yet simultaneously potentially exhaust us, it is clear we have some way to go to better understand others and ourselves. The study of languages and cultures is an important piece of that puzzle.” Find out more about the University of Queensland School of Languages.
  • Learn more about Queensland's diversity from the results of the 2021 Census.

Break down language and communication barriers

  • The pervasive problem of 'linguistic racism' - Not everyone who speaks English is treated the same way. What happens when accent discrimination creeps in to our conscious and unconscious – and what do we do about our biases?
  • Learn how to access accredited translating and interpreting services by tuning into our webinars presented by 2M Language Services and NAATI.
  • The Queensland Language Services Policy (PDF) outlines the Queensland Government's commitment to use interpreters and translated information to improve access to the full range of government and government-funded services for people with difficulty communicating in English.
  • The Interpreter Training Boost program has been established to provide new job opportunities for Queensland interpreters in priority languages and better communication outcomes for multicultural communities.

Put inclusive language into action

  • The Welcoming Cities Inclusive Communications Toolkit supports councils to strengthen engagement and relationships with diverse communities. It provides advice and information for councils on how to speak to everyone, no matter where we are from, or what language we speak.
  • Language is a powerful tool for building inclusion or exclusion at work. It can be used to create a sense of being valued, respected and one of the team, or of being under-valued, disrespected, and an 'outsider'. The Diversity Council of Australia has developed a WordsAtWork* campaign for workplaces to show how inclusive language can improve workplace culture and drive productivity.
  • Read the Australian Bahá'i community's Creating an Inclusive Narrative publication, produced following a series of roundtable conversations with hundreds of people across the country seeking to identify how we can work towards a more socially cohesive society.
  • Learn about the importance of inclusive language and creating a culture that supports bystander action with the Griffith University MATE program webinars.
  • Words THAT work – read about the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre's research (PDF) to find words that change the debate around people seeking asylum.

* WORDSATWORK is a Registered Trade Mark of Diversity Council Australia Limited. - Diversity Council Australia, WordsAtWork - Building Inclusion Through the Power of Language, Sydney, Diversity Council Australia, 2016.

Put inclusive language into action Podcast series

Our MQM22 Media partner, Radio 4EB, delivers a special podcast series exploring the power of creating an inclusive society.

Communities thrive when we all work together to ensure everyone can connect, contribute and belong. Radio 4EB encourages you to tune in to find out how we can all help to create a society and culture that connects, rather than divides.