The Tiwi feel that maintaining their language is vital if they are to retain their culture. Most Tiwi speak to each other in their own language, not in english. Tiwi Land Council (TLC) Chairman Robert Tipungwuti deplored the decline of what he called “real or old” Tiwi; he said that only a handful of older Tiwi knew how to speak it. When he as asked if Tiwi would be taught a language at the new college, he said ; “It is the Tiwi’s job to teach the Tiwi Language at home to their children not at school.”
The language spoken today incorporates many Australian, and indeed some international expressions and words. Like all modern languages it is constantly evolving. Over the years a number of people have produced dictionaries and teaching guide on the Tiwi Language including Dr C R Osborne, Marie Godfrey and Sister Tess Ward. Today the literacy Centre at Nguiu produces Tiwi Language guides, some of which are for sale.