A54: Putijarra

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
ABS name
Western Desert Language, nec (Putijarra)
Horton name
Mardu (Budijarra/Potidjara)
Ethnologue name
Martu Wangka [Puditara]
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Potitjara, Putitjara, Budidjara, Bududjara, Purdi-tara, Budidjara, Pawutudjara, Paodudjara, Patudja, Pa-tudjara, Partutudjara, Bawndudjara, Partutu (of the Walmadjari among whom some appeared coming from the south), Ngondidjara (Kartudjara name), Kaltalbudara (of Mandjildjara), Kaltalbudjara, Kaltalbudjira, Poroko (name used by Kokatja at Balgo Mission), Partutu (descriptive term 'lake people' applied to people associated with lake country; for example, by the Ngardi to the Pintubi; it appears as a suffix in such names as Kanapartu [Lake Mackay]), Bardu-wonga, Badu, Pardu, ? Tutudjara.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Putijarra [Marsh 1972]
Western Desert Language, Martu Wangka, Pawututjara, Potitjara, Putitjara, Budidjara, Bududjara, Purdi tara, Pawutudjara, Paodudjara, Patudja, Pa tudjara, Partutudjara, Bawndudjara, Partutu, Ngondidjara, Kaltalbudara, Kaltalbudjara, Kaltalbudjira, Poroko, Bardu wonga, Badu, Pardu, Tutudjara

Marsh says that Putijarra is one of the languages (in addition to Kartujarra A51 and Manjiiljarra A51.1) on which the Jigalong communilect Martu Wangka A86 is based (in Thieberger 1993). Further, the Handbook notes that the name Martu Wangka is sometimes also used as an alternative name for languages spoken by Martu people such as Kartujarra and Manjiljarra, though Putjiarra is not explicitly mentioned (Thieberger 1993:194, 202).




  • Berndt, Ronald. 1959. The concept of the tribe in the Western Desert of Australia. Oceania 30(2):81-107.
  • Dixon, Sally. 2011. How to read and write Pilbara languages. South Hedland: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.
  • Liberman, Kenneth B. 1978. Tjankultjanu: an ethnography of a country without a people: (a report to the Registrar of Aboriginal Sites on the impact of the Yeelirrie uranium development). Leonora, WA. (MS 2302).
  • Sutton, Peter. 1995. Country: Aboriginal boundaries and land ownership in Australia. Canberra: Aboriginal History Inc.
  • Thieberger, Nick. 1993. Handbook of WA Aboriginal Languages. 
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Different sources provide conflicting locations for this language: East of Wiluna based on the map given by Berndt (1959) and Liberman (MS 2302); and south of Jigalong based on the map by Wangka Maya, Tonkinson (1995) and a part of Tindale.

Jigalong people place Putijarra south of Savory Creek, which separates their territory, from the Nyiyaparli (Tonkinson in Sutton 1995:156).

Contemporary location: Wiluna, Jigalong, Newman (Dixon 2011:52).


  • Berndt, Ronald. 1959. The concept of the tribe in the Western Desert of Australia. Oceania 30(2):82-107
  • Tindale, Norman. 1974. Tribal boundaries in Aboriginal Australia. Canberra: Division of National Mapping, Department of National Development.
  • Tonkinson, Robert. 1991. The Mardu Aborigines: living the dream in Australia's desert, 2nd edn. Fort Worth, Texas: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
James Marsh, Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre
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 Small (20-100 pages) 2
Text Collection Small (20-100 pages) 2
Grammar A few articles 1
Audio-visual Less than 1 1
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available -unclear status

Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2004. Putijarra-English wordlist, English-Putijarra finder topical wordlist & sketch morphology. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.

Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre. 2011. Putijarra interactive dictionary. South Hedland, WA: Wangka Maya Pilbara Aboriginal Language Centre.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wati Martu Wangka [Puditara] Martu Wangka [dialects: Manyjilyjara (Mantjiltjara), Kartujarra (Kartutjara, Kardutjara, Kadaddjara, Kardutjarra, Kiadjara, Gardudjara, Gagudjara), Puditara (Budidjara, Putujara), Yulparitja (Yilparitja, Yulbaridja), Wangkajunga (Wangkajungka). Mantjiltjara and Kartutjara are two ethnic groups speaking almost identical dialects. High inherent intelligibility between Yulparitja and Wangkajunga. Speakers of the 4 dialects can use the same written language with possible minor adjustments, including vocabulary change, partly needed because of cultural identity factors.]
Dixon (2002)          
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan South-West   Budidjara  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan South-West Wati/Western Desert Budidjara  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Western Desert Proper Wati Burdidjara  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Southwest (or Nyungic) Western Desert Language Pawututjara  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Southwest Wati Pawututjara