It is estimated that at the time the First Fleet sailed into Botany Bay in 1788, over 200 different languages were spoken in Australia. Today, less than 100 have any surviving speakers (and less than 20 are '"living" languages, used in everyday life and being transmitted to the next generation). Fi1-,rure 12.1 indicates approximately where those languages referred to in this paper arc spoken. The indigenous languages of Australia are as different from one another in their lexicon and in their grammar as to he mutually unintelligible. However, they share a nnmher of striking similarities in their phonology and in their phonetics, which set them apart from most other languages of the world.