A43: Ngaatjatjarra

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Ngaanyatjarra (Ngaadjadjara)
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Jabungadja ('mountain Ngadja' i.e. Ngadadjara of Rawlinson Ranges), Ku:rara (name given by Pitjandjara to people of Rawlinson Ranges), Nadadjara, Nga:da (short form of name), Nga:dapitjardi (name applied by western people to hordes near Blackstone Ranges), Ngad-adara, Ngadatara (Pitjandjara term), Ngadatjara, Ngadawongga, Ngadjatara, Nganadjara (name used by Warburton Range hordes for those northeast toward the Rawlinson Ranges also shortened to Ngan:a), Ngatatara (misprint), Ngatatjara, Rumudjara, Teitudjara (name used by Nan:a to west), Wan:udjara (eastern Ngadadjara name for their northern hordes at Giles ['Julia] in the Rawlinson Ranges), Warara (name used for the northeastern hordes), Wirtjandja (alternative name), Witjandja (name of the people of the Warburton Range horde)
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Ngaatjatjarr, Ngaanyatjarra, Ngaadjadjara, Ngatatjara, Ngadadjara, Bidungu, Madutjara, Maliar:a, Nalada, Ngaatjatarra, Ngada, Ngadawangga, Ngadawongga, Ngadhawonga, Ngaiawongga, Ngaiu wonga, Ngajawonga, Ngarawonga, Ngarga, Ngargawonga, Ngayawangga, Nyadadjara, Pidungu, Tekateka, Wallawee, WaulaNgaadadjara, Ngadatjara, Jabungadja, Ku:rara, Nadadjara, Nga:da, Nga:dapitjardi, Ngad adara, Ngadatara, Ngadjatara, Nganadjara, Ngatatara, Rumudjara, Teitudjara, Wan:udjara, Warara, Wirtjandja, Witjandja

This is very close to Ngaanyatjarra A38, another dialect of the Western Desert language A80. The language names Ngaanyatjarra and Ngaatjatjara illustrate the difference between the two in the demonstrative 'this, here': ngaanya and ngaatja, both followed by the 'with' or 'having' suffix  -tjarra (Glass & Hackett, 2003: 1.3).


  • Glass, Amee and Dorothy Hackett. 2003. Ngaanyatjarra-Ngaatjatjarra to English dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Before the establishment of the Warburton Mission, Ngaanyatjarra was spoken in the region of Warburton and possibly as far east as the Jameson Range. Ngaatjatjarra [A43] was spoken in the Jameson and Blackstone ranges area, and as far as the Rawlinson Ranges to the north and to Lake Hopkins in the north-east. Pitjantjatjara [C6] was spoken at Wingellina in the Tomkinson Ranges, and in areas to the east and north-east (Glass & Hackett, 2003: 1).



Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Mangu (A34 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:

Nalada (?), Ngaatjatjara (Glass & Hackett) (from /ngaatja/ 'this'), Nga:dadjara (T), Ngadadjara , (AIAS, de Graaf), Ngada (-jara) (-wanga) (AIAS), Ngadatjara (AC,SAW,O'G), Ngarga (?), Ngatatara (Roheim), Nyadadjara (Worms)

Dialects: (A. Glass)

Rawlinson Ngaatjatjarra (closer to Ngaanyatjarra)

Blackstone Ngaatjatjarra

Further possible dialect:

Mantjintja (see Oates 1973)

Alternative spellings:

Mandjindja (Elkin), Mandjindja(-djara) (AIAS), Mandjindja(-wanga) (AIAS), Mandjindjindji (Berndt, Davidson), Munjinda (Daisy Bates)

Classification of the language:

Western Desert Group, Wati subgroup

Identification codes:

Oates '73: 56.4b, 56.4c (Mantjintja)

AIAS: A43, A33 (Mantjintja)

Capell: A38 (both Ngaatjatjara and Mantjintja)

Present number and distribution of speakers:

Traditionally probably from Wingellina (Winkilina) to Jameson Range, and possibly to Rawlinson Ranges (Glass & Hackett).

Mantjintja traditionally south of Warburton Ranges (Davidson), far east of Laverton, north of Great Victoria Desert, south of Livesay Range (Herrman).

Now at Warburton.

Black, 1979 --

People who have worked intensively on the language:

Amee Glass

Practical orthography:

Word lists:

Grammar or sketch grammar:

Material available on the language:

de Graaf, Mark. 1968. The Ngadadara at the Warburton Ranges. 146p. tbls. ts. Perth. (AIAS restricted use)

Douglas, W.H. 1964. An Introduction to the Western Desert Language. Oceania Linguistic Monographs No. 4. (Revised). [1st edition, 1958] Sydney: Oceania (University of Sydney).

---------- 1971. Dialect differentiation in the Western Desert -- a comment. Anthroplogical Forum 3.1(November), 79-82.

Gould, R.A. 1968. Preliminary report on excavations at Puntutjarpa rockshelter, near the Warburton Ranges, Western Australia. Archaeology & Physical Anthropology in Oceania 3.3:161-185. pls. diags. map. Appendix 1: Ngatatjara text - a partial account of the totemic goanna tradition at Puntutjarpa, by Glass & Hackett (with interlinear transcription).

Miller, Wick R. 1971. Dialect differentiation in the Western Desert language, 61-78. A reply to Douglas's comment, 83-85. Anthropological Forum 3.1(November).

Mountford, C.P. 1938. Gesture language of the Ngada tribe of the Warburton Ranges, Western Australia. Oceania 9.2:152-155. diags.

ten Raa, Eric & S.T. Woenne. 1974. Research Dictionary of the Western Desert Language of Australia. Department of Anthropology, University of Western Australia. (I 11988)

Tindale, N.B. 1931-1937. Vocabulary of Pitjandjara, the language of the natives of the Great western Desert. Adelaide. 138p. ts. (some words of Nga:dadjara)

---------- 1933. Journal of an anthropological expedition to the Mann and Musgrave Ranges, north west of South Australia, May-July 1933... 745p. + suppl. notes. ts., ms. (2830 vocab. entries in Pitjandjara, Pintubi, Ngalia, Kukatja and Ngadadjara)

---------- 1935. Journal of a visit to the Warburton Range, Western Australia. Jul-Sept. 515p. ts., ms. (vocabulary data for Ngadadjara, Nana, Mandjinda, Nangatadjara tribes)

---------- 1951. Second visit to Ooldea, to study the Aborigines. Apr. 1951. 85p. ts., ms. (vocabulary of 90 additional words in Ngalea, Pitjandjara and Ngadadjara)

---------- 1936. Legend of the Wati Kutjura, Warburton Ranges, Western Australia. Oceania 7.2:168-185. diags. maps. (Songs with texts in Ngadadjara with interlinear translation.)

---------- 1963. Journal of a visit to the Rawlinson Range area in the Great Western Desert. Oct-Nov 1963. 227p.+suppl. notes. Ms. (Vocabularies in separate books for Nakako, Ngadadjara and


---------- 1966. Journal of a trip to Western Australia in search of tribal data. Mar-Apr. 1966. 350p.+suppl. data. Ms. (Distribution data on Ngadadjara (of Teka-teka), Kalamaia, and 95 other tribes.)

---------- 1974. Aboriginal Tribes of Australia. Los Angeles: Unversity of California Press, and Canberra: A.N.U. Press. (p.14ff has kinship terms, etc.)

Literacy material:

Kathy Menning (comp.) and David Nash (ed.) 1981. © IAD Press

AIATSIS gratefully acknowledges IAD Press for permission to use this material in AUSTLANG.

Amee Glass & Dorothy Hackett (Ngaanyatjarra Bible Project), Richard Gould, Laurent Dousset (mainly on kinship and social relationships.)
Indigenous organisations: 
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 Large (more than 200 pages) 4
Text Collection Less than 20 pages 1
Grammar Sketch grammar (less than 100 pages) 2
Audio-visual 1-10 2
Manuscript note: 
not available

de Graaf, Mark. 1968. The Ngadadara at Warburton Ranges, University of Western Australia: BA (Hons).


Glass, Amee, Dorothy Hackett and Bernard Newberry. 2003. Ngaanyatjarra & Ngaatjatjarra to English Dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Glass, Amee, Dorothy Hackett. 2019. Ngaanyatjarra-Ngaatjatjarra to English dictionary. 2nd edition. Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005)          
Dixon (2002)       Ngaatjatjarr 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) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Ngaadjadjara  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wati/Western Desert Ngaadjadjara  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Western Desert Proper Wati Ngaadjadjara  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Western Desert Language Ngadatjara  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Wati Ngadatjara