A103: Wangkatja

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Wangkayi, Wangkatha [Wangka Maya 2008]
Wangkatha, Wangkayi
Wangkatja, Pindiini A102 and Wangkatha A12 are all listed as separate dialects of the Western Desert language A80 in this database but they appear to be very close to each other and hardly distinguishable. According to the WA Handbook, Glass (1990 p.c.) notes that the term Wangkatja is confusing, 'because all the Western Desert speaking Aborigines of the Eastern Goldfields and surrounding desert areas call themselves Wangkatja'. Yet Douglas (1990 p.c.) and Glass (1990 p.c.) point out that Wanggatha A12 from around Mt Margaret and Leonora is different to Wangkatja at Cundelee and Coonana. Fasolo (2008) says that the Wangkatja people were known as the Nyanganyatjarra A17 people (also Puntutjarra people) because they used the word nyanganya ('this here'). However, Tindale lists Nagatadjara A17 as a separate group and locates it north-east of Wangkatja. In fact, it appears that Nyanganyatjarra is a sub-group of Wangkatja - Oates (1975:111), citing Glass and Hackett, says that Njanganjadjara A17 was originally at Mt Margaret, Wangkatja country, but its present location is north-east of Laverton. Tindale's Pindiini may be the equivalent of Wangkatja or Wangkatha A12 - he lists Wanggada as an alternative name of Pindiini but it is treated as a separate dialect in this database on the basis of Tindale's distinct location for each of these. Between Pindiini A102 and Wangkatha, Tindale's map shows two other groups, Murunitja A8 and Tjeraridjal A7, but the validity of these groups is uncertain. Wangatha A12 or Wangkatja A103 may have been spoken there. Fasolo (2008:1) notes that Cundeelee Wangka dialects have been referred to as Wangkatja. Hanson reports that speakers say Wangkatja is the same as Kuwarra A16 and that Kuwarra is also another name for Tjupan A31 (Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre 2008). According to Marmion (in Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre 2008), Wangkatja now refers to a speech variety spoken by Western Desert people around Laverton-Kalgoorlie. The ABS treats Wangkatja as an alternative name of Wangkatha so Census data on Wangkatha may be relevant. Documentation on Wangkatha may also be relevant since the Thesaurus does not distinguish Wangkatja from Wangkatha. This database treats Wangkatja as a distinct variety, which is sometimes referred to as Cundeelee Wangka.
  • Fasolo, Silvano. 2008. Basic Wangkatja grammar. Kalgoorlie, WA: Karlkurla Language and Culture Aboriginal Corporation.
  • Oates, Lynette F. 1975. The 1973 supplement to a revised linguistic survey of Australia. Armidale: Armidale Christian Book Centre.
  • Thieberger, Nicholas. 1993. Handbook of Western Australian Aboriginal languages south of the Kimberley region: Pacific Linguistics C-124. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Wangkatja dictionary 2008. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 
Cundelee and Coonana (WA Handbook) Eastern Goldfields, around the Linden/Mulgabbie area, Cundelee (Fasolo 2008) Contemporary location The people spread to the towns of Laverton, Leonora, Menzies, and then on down to other Goldfields towns where many of them still live today. (Fasolo 2008:1)
Silvano Fasolo, Tindale, Wilfrid Douglas
Indigenous organisations: 

Karlkurla Language & Culture Aboriginal Corporation
288 Hay St
Kalgoorlie WA 6430
Ph (08) 9091 4705

Year Source Speaker numbers

Speaker numbers were measured differently across the censuses and various other sources listed in AUSTLANG. You are encouraged to refer to the sources.

Speaker numbers for ‘NILS 2004’ and ‘2005 estimate’ come from 'Table F.3: Numbers of speakers of Australian Indigenous languages (various surveys)' in 'Appendix F NILS endangerment and absolute number results' in McConvell, Marmion and McNicol 2005, pages 198-230 (PDF, 2.5MB).

Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list None 0
Text Collection None 0
Grammar Sketch grammar (less than 100 pages) 2
Audio-visual None 0
Manuscript note: 

Fasolo, Silvano. 2008. Basic Wangkatja grammar. Kalgoorlie, WA: Karlkurla Language & Culture Aboriginal Corporation.

Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2008. Wangkatja dictionary 2008. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)
Dixon (2002) Wangkatja The Western Desert language. dialects: (a) Warnman, (b) Yulparitja, (c) Manjtjiltjara (or Martu Wangka), (d) Kartutjarra, (e) Kukatja, (f) Pintupi, (g) Luritja, (h) Ngaatjatjarr, (i) Ngaanjatjarra, G) Wangkatha, (k) Wangatja, (l) Ngaliya, (m) Pitjantjatjarra, (n) Yankuntjatjarra, (o) Kukarta
Wurm (1994)
Walsh (1981)
Oates (1975)
Wurm (1972)
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966)