A39: Wajarri / Wadjarri

AIATSIS code: 
A39
AIATSIS reference name: 
Wajarri / Wadjarri

tabs_horizontal

Name
ABN name
Wajarri language
ABS name
Wajarri
Horton name
Watjarri
Ethnologue name
Wajarri
ISO 639-3 code
wbv
Tindale name
Wadjari
Thesaurus heading language
Wajarri / Wadjarri language A39
Thesaurus heading (old)
Wajarri / Watjarri language (A39) (WA SG50-7, SG50-11)
Tindale (1974)
Wadgaree, Wadjeri, Wajeri, Wajjari, Wajari, Waian-wonga, Baialdju (Widi name), Pidong (general term of disrespect meaning 'rock hole people' applied to those who depend on precarious water supplies), Wad'arri, Iirrawad-'ari, Irawadjari, Kurduwongga (see above), Kurduwonga, Maliara (means 'east' and is merely a directional term applied to some hordes in the Sanford River area), Miliarra, Miliara, Cheangwa (a place name south of the middle Sanford River), Wardal (of the Barimaia, means 'west,' hence by extension 'westerners'), Yajeri (typographical error for Wajeri), Jamadji (general term for aborigines in contrast with white men-not a tribal term), Yamaidyi.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Wajeri, Waianwonga
Glottocode
waja1257
Other sources
Wadyarri, Witjari, Watjarri, Yamaji (people) (Mackman, 2011:231)
Synonyms
Watjarri, Bidungu, Irawadjari, Mulyara, Nokaan, Wadjari, Waiawonga, Baialdju, Batiga, Cheangwa, Dhauerngu, Iirrawadari, Jamadji, Kurduwonga, Kurduwongga, Maliara, Miliara, Miliarra, Pidong, Wadari, Wadarri, Wadgaree, Wadhari, Wadjeri, Wadyari, Waian, Waianwonga, Wajari, Wajeri, Wajjari, Wajjiri, Wanmala, Wardal, Watjari, Wodjeri, Yabbaroo, Yabbooroo, Yajeri, Yamadgee, Yamaidyi, Yamaji, Wadyarri, Witjari, Waian wonga, Iirrawad ari
Comment
Comments: 
There appear to be several dialects of Wajarri / Wadjarri though the details are uncertain. According to Vaso Elefsiniotis of the Irra Wangga - Geraldton Language Program (2007 p.c.), the current understanding is that there are five recognised dialects of Wajarri (A39): Byro Wajarri in the east around Byro plains; Boolardy or central Wajarri around Boolardy/Wooleen stations; Ngunuru Wajarri around Belele station; Birdungu Wajarri to the north-east of Boolardy where the Murchison and Gascoyne Rivers begin; and Nharnu Wajarri. Elefsiniotis also comments that Birdungu is the name given by others to the Wajarri people who traditionally lived at the eastern or north-eastern boundary of Wajarri country, depending on the observer's perspective. According to Marmion (1996:6-7) there are at least three dialects of Wajarri (A39). The dialect which covers most of Wajarri country appears to have no particular name other than Wajarri (Marmion uses 'Southern Wajarri' (and occasionally 'Central Wajarri') to disambiguate it from other varieties). The other two are Nhugarn A71 and Birdungu A40. Marmion (2007 p.c.) later says that Birdungu A40 is a compass term and is used to refer to people from around Meekatharra who are not Wajarri (or at least, not central Wajarri). The Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation web site lists 'some' of the Wajarri (A39) dialects as Birdungu A40, Nharnu A115, Nhugarn A71, Byro A113, Mileura A114 and Ngunuru A112. Marmion (2015 p.c.) notes that in more recent times Wajarri (A39) varieties have been referred to by station names in the area, such as Byro station and Mileura station. In this way, some names may exist in parallel with older names: Byro Wajarri A113 is probably equivalent to Nhugarn A71, Mileura Wajarri A114 to Ngunuru A112. He also notes the ambiguous nature of the name Birdungu, meaning 'easterners'. Marmion says that more recently it has been used to refer to Ngunuru A112 but that it may also include Nharnu A115, this likely being the case for von Brandenstein's use of the term. Watjanti (W13) may also be a dialect of Wajarri / Wadjarri. Douglas (1981:199) says that a comparison of Curr's Watchandie W13 data is obviously related to Watjarri (A39). Blevins (2001:3), though, says that Watchandi W13 is a dialect of Nhanda W14. Muliara (W18) is another possible dialect of Wajarri / Wadjarri. Marmion (2006 p.c.) says that mulyara means 'east' and it could refer to a dialect of Wajarri A39 or a Western Desert language A80 variety, based on what Tindale (1974) and Douglas (1981) say. Jaburu (W55) has also been linked to Wajarri / Wadjarri as a dialect, though its identity is uncertain as the name means 'north' in many languages of area. Dixon (2002) lists Ngarluwangka as a possible dialect of Watjarri (A39) but notes that it may be a separate language. This may in fact be Ngarla A48, previously known as Ngarlawangka. The locations appear to be adjacent.
References: 
  • Douglas, Wilfrid. 1981. Watjarri. In Handbook of Australian languages, Vol. 2, eds R. M. W. Dixon and B. J. Blake, 196-272. Canberra: ANU Press.
  • Mackman, Doreen. 2011. Wajarri dictionary: the language of the Murchison Region of Western Australia: Wajarri to English, English to Wajarri. Geraldton, WA: Irra Wangga Language Centre.
  • Marmion, Doug. 1996. A description of the morphology of Wajarri, University of New England: BA (Hons). (MS 4096).
  • Tindale, Norman B. 1974. Aboriginal tribes of Australia: their terrain, environmental controls, distribution, limits, and proper names. Berkeley: University of California Press/Canberra: Australian National University Press.
Status: 
Confirmed
Location
State / Territory: 
WA
Location information: 
... the country originally inhabited by the Wajarri appears to have extended from between the Wooramel and Gascoyne Rivers south to between the Murchison River and the Geraldton-Mt. Magnet road; in the west it approached the coastal highway and in the east it extended to around Mileura Station (Marmion 1996:2). North to the hills overlooking the head of the Lyons River, Teano Range, Mount Isabella, Waldburg Range; on upper Gascoyne River west of Three Rivers; at Erivilla and Milgun; south to Cheangwa and the Roderick and upper Sanford rivers (Tindale 1974). ... along the upper reaches of the Murchison river, from around Yallalong Station in the west, to near Meekatharra in the east, from north of Mt Augustus, to south of Talarang Peak (sic, gazetted as Tallering Peak) (Mackman 2011:231). Contemporary location: Carnarvon, Geraldton, Mullewa, Northampton, Meekatharra, and Yulga Jinna Community and Pia Wadjarri on traditional Wajarri land (Mackman 2011:227).
Maps: 
  • Tindale, Norman. 1974. Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Division of National Mapping, Department of National Development.
  • Douglas, Wilfrid. 1976. The Aboriginal languages of the south-west of Australia, 2nd edn. Canberra: AIAS
  • Douglas, Wilfrid. 1981. Watjarri. In Handbook of Australian languages vol. 2, eds RMW Dixon and B Blake, 196-272. Canberra: ANU Press
  • Marmion, Doug. 1996. A description of the morphology of Wajarri, University of New England: BA (Hons)
  • Mackman, Doreen. 2011. Wajarri dictionary: the language of the Murchison Region of Western Australia: Wajarri to English, English to Wajarri. Geraldton, WA: Irra Wangga Language Centre.
Catalogue
Links
Programs
Activities: 
Through work of Yamaji Language Centre (now defunct), Irra Wangga language Centre, and the Ministry of Education's Languages other than English (LOTE) programme, there are audio and print materials available and language classes conducted in local schools. (Mackman 2011:232$7450)
People: 
Wilfrid Douglas, Doug Marmion, Irra Wangga - Geraldton Language Programme (formally Yamaji Language Centre), Doreen Mackman
Indigenous organisations: 
-
Speakers
Year Source Speaker numbers
1975Oates300
1984Senate-
1990Schmidt50
1996Census-
2001Census-
2004NILS20
2005Estimate20
2006Census86
2011Census92
2016Census145

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).

Documentation
Type Documentation Status Documentation Score
Word list Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Text Collection Less than 20 pages 1
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available
Grammar: 

Douglas, Wilfrid. 1981. Watjarri. In Handbook of Australian languages, vol. 2, eds RMW Dixon and B Blake, 197-272. Canberra: ANU Press.

Marmion, Doug. 1996. A description of the morphology of Wajarri, University of New England: BA (Hons).

Mackman, Doreen<7450/a>. 2011. Wajarri dictionary: the language of the Murchison Region of Western Australia: Wajarri to English, English to Wajarri. Geraldton, WA: Irra Wangga Language Centre.

Yamaji Language . 1992. Wajarri wangga = wajarri words. Geraldton, WA: Yamaji Language Centre. Mackman, Doreen. 2011. Wajarri dictionary: the language of the Murchison Region of Western Australia: Wajarri to English, English to Wajarri. Geraldton, WA: Irra Wangga Language Centre.
Classification
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wadjari Wajarri Wajarri [dialects: Related to Badimaya.]
Dixon (2002) MOORE RIVER TO GASCOYNE RIVER GROUP Watjarri/Parti-maya subgroup* Watjarri Watjarri Douglas (1981), Marmion (1996) further dialects: Birdungu, Nhugarn; and possibly Ngarluwangka (or may be separate language)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wadjari
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wadjari Wadjari
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Pilbara-Nyungar (Southwest) Wadjari Wadjari
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Kardu | Nyungar Wadjeri | Watjari
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Kardu Wadjeri