Languages

There are between 14 and 16 distinct Aboriginal languages in the Goldfields region of Western Australia. The work on recording, linguistically analysing and preserving these languages in dictionaries and grammar documents is still in the early stages. Once the work on each language has been undertaken, we will be able to say for sure how many languages there are or which languages are dialects of each other.

GALC has released a paper ‘Languages and Dialects of the Goldfields Region’, January 2018, by linguist Sue Hanson about the names of the languages of the region.

The GALC 30-page booklet ‘How to Read and Write Goldfields Languages’ is available as a free download here. Or can be purchased at GALC’s office. This booklet contains the alphabets for all Goldfields languages and information on why particular letters have been chosen to represent the sounds.

Map of Goldfields Languages
NOTE ON MAP: The location of language names are approximate and may not be located on traditional land. The names and locations are for illustration purposes only

Since 2011, linguistic work has been undertaken on: (click on the language name to go to the language info page)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Tjupan

    AIATSIS code A31 (of Western Desert language A80)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Kaalamaya

    AIATSIS code A4 (Kaalamaya language of the Gubrun people)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Ngadju

    AIATSIS code A3 (Ngatjumaya/Ngadjumaya)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Ngalia

    AIATSIS code C2 (of Western Desert language A80)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Cundeelee Wangka

    no code, speakers describe as a southern Pitjantjantjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Kuwarra

    AIATSIS code A16 (of Western Desert language A80)

Then in 2016, with an increase in funds from the Commonwealth Government, linguistic work began on the languages:

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Maduwongga

    AIATSIS code A86

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Manyjilyjar

    A32 AIATSIS reference name Nakako

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Wangkatja

    AIATSIS code A12 and A103, possibly is also Pindiini AIATSIS code A102 or dialects of

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Mirning

    AIATSIS code A9

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Marlpa

    no AIATSIS code, appears to be a dialect or variant of Ngaju

Several languages cross state borders. The languages that have been well documented in NT and SA and which are also found in the Goldfields WA are:

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Ngaanyatjarra

    AIATSIS code A38

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Nyanatjarra

    a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Ngaatjatjara

    AIATSIS code A43, a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Pitjantjantjarra

    A80 AIATSIS code C6

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Yankunytjatjara

    AIATSIS code C4 A80

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Pintupi

Other language names that have arisen and need investigation with Goldfields speakers are:

  1. Natingero

  2. Nugara

  3. Watjanmay

  4. Tjapanmay

  5. Gula

  6. Djalgandi

  7. Mudalga

  8. Marawa

  9. Tjeraridjal

  10. Murunitja

  11. Marawa

  12. Kalaako, Kaalako

  13. Nganta

  14. Pindiini

  15. Mudalga

  16. Mankulatjarra

  17. Tjalkatjarra