The list of languages spoken in Australia is as diverse as the land it covers. Australia is almost perfectly split between regional areas. There are 78 Aboriginal languages spoken in Australia today. In the three decades since the first Aboriginal Language Plans were released, the government has made serious efforts to learn and speak the languages of Aboriginal people. From 1982, an Aboriginal Language Board has published many resources and guidelines to help Aboriginal people learn their languages. More than 6000 languages are believed to be spoken around the world. Languages do not exist in isolation, and we all benefit from the exposure to multiple languages. In Australia, and most countries around the world, the majority of languages spoken today have no written system, though in some countries, such as France, multilingualism is required for government and university. We talk languages Our spoken languages are central to our culture and identity. People learn languages differently, and that means how you speak is central to how you understand the world. People speak languages to understand. Learning languages is often described as learning a language, and people do not realise they learn much more than the language itself. Languages are a wealth of knowledge, myths, stories, jokes, vocabulary, ways of getting through life. Learning languages involves talking, listening, discussing. It can be painful, frustrating and embarrassing to go up against people who do not speak your language well. You learn what to say, and what not to say. Learning languages is like learning about the world through conversation. You might try to speak in a language you have never learned, only to find that your attempts at speaking a new language don’t make sense. All languages have a set of rules, so it’s hard to change language rules, or to create your own. Learning multiple languages means you can talk to multiple communities, to make friends and ask questions, and find out things you might not find out otherwise. You might learn languages without even knowing it. Languages can be learned from the friends we make in them, through news, books and films. You can teach your children the languages they know. You can find information, look up words or examples, and listen to the languages you speak, to learn. Research shows that learning a language reduces stress and depression, enhances creativity and learning abilities, and boosts vocabulary. You might be able to get an Australian Certificate of Education in a language other than English, and possibly some other qualifications such as literacy. People speak languages differently. Most of us, I would guess, have spoken two or three languages. Everyone can and does learn to speak at least one new language every decade. Studies show that the spoken languages of Australians differ greatly from each other, in terms of pronunciation and grammar. Speakers of a particular language are different, and more than just a sound or two is needed to understand a conversation. Some languages do not even have a word to describe a kiss or a hug. How you talk is a big part of being in a community, and that language contributes to the way you speak and understand.