Goldfields Aboriginal Language Centre


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.

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

This booklet is copyright to GALCAC and no part may be copied, reproduced or transmitted into any other format without written permission of GALCAC.

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


    AIATSIS code A31 (of Western Desert language A80)

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code A4 (Kaalamaya language of the Gubrun people)

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code A3 (Ngatjumaya/Ngadjumaya)

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code C2 (of Western Desert language A80)

  • Brown Meeting Place

    Cundeelee Wangka

    no code, speakers describe as a southern Pitjantjantjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place


    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


    AIATSIS code A86

  • Brown Meeting Place


    A32 AIATSIS reference name Nakako

  • Brown Meeting Place


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

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code A9

  • Brown Meeting Place


    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


    AIATSIS code A38

  • Brown Meeting Place


    a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code A43, a dialect of Ngaanyatjarra

  • Brown Meeting Place


    A80 AIATSIS code C6

  • Brown Meeting Place


    AIATSIS code C4 A80

  • Brown Meeting Place


Other language names have arisen in historical documents and have been investigation with Goldfields speakers. These obsolete names and other language names that have arisen are detailed in the GALCAC paper ‘Historical Language Names of the Goldfields Region, Western Australia: A preliminary investigation’.

  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