The Linguasphere Register

of the world’s languages and speech communities

The linguascale

Change sector or zone

Geosector 0= AFRICA

Phylosector 1= AFRO-ASIAN

Geosector 2= AUSTRALASIA

Phylosector 3= AUSTRONESIAN

Geosector 4= EURASIA

Phylosector 5= INDO-EUROPEAN

Geosector 6= NORTH-AMERICA

Phylosector 7= SINO-INDIAN

Geosector 8= SOUTH-AMERICA

Phylosector 9= TRANSAFRICAN

Geosector 2= AUSTRALASIA



Covers the "Transaustralia" reference area, composed of the "Pama-Nyungan" hypothesis (sets 29-A to 29-X, within the wider "Australian" hypothesis) plus the "Tasmanian" notional set of extinct languages (29-Y); togethe.

Comprising a total of 25 sets of languages (213 outer languages) spoken or formerly spoken by small hunter-gatherer communities, originally occupying the whole of Australia and Tasmania (except the far-north, covered by geozone 28=).

The scantily documented languages of Tasmania (29-Y) were effectively extinct before 1900, and this set is therefore excluded from totals of languages spoken during the 20th cent. The Australian mainland languages covered by phylozone 29= (sets 29-A to 29-X) account for approximately one third of all outer languages which have become extinct throughout the world during the 20th century. This destruction of indigenous speech-communities has resulted from the occupation and ethnic-clearance of their traditional space, primarily by sea-borne speakers of [52] English.

Traditional speech communities in Australia were always small, and only 14 among 298 surviving outer-languages in zones 28= and 29= (marked ¸ in column 2) are likely to have totalled 1,000 or more voices each in the year 1999. The intensified study, development and teaching of those languages would appear to be an educational, scientific and cultural priority in the 21st century.

Most surviving speech-communities of this zone are bilingual, with primary fluency - especially among younger speakers - in [52] Australian creole and/or English.

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