C13: Kaytetye

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Kaytetye language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Gaididj. Kadda-kie, Kaitidji, Kaitije, Kaitiji, Kaitish, Kaititj, Kaititj(a), Kaititja (Aranda pronunciation), Kaititje, Katitch-a, Katitja, Kat-titch-a, Kat-tit-ya
O'Grady et al (1966)
Kaititja, Kaitije, Katitja, Katitcha, Katitya, Kaitish, Kaddakie
Other sources
Kaytetj, Kayteye, Kaytej, Gaidij, Kaititja, Kaititja; Gaididj, Kadda kie, Kaitidji, Kaitije, Kaitiji, Kaitish, Kaititj, Kaititje, Kat tit ya, Kat titch a, Katitch a, Katitja, Kaititj; Gaididj, Kaddakie, Katitcha, Katitya, Kaiditj, Kaytej; Gaididj, Keytetye, Kaititj; Kaititja, Gaididj, Kattitch a, Kaitej

Kayteytye is an Arandic language C48 variety. Wilkins (in Henderson 2013:12) provides an overview of the Arandic languages with two major sub-groups: Artweye, with one member Kaytetye (C13) and Artwe (~Urtwe) composed of Upper Arrernte (Eastern Arrernte, Western Arrernte C47, Alyawarr C14 and Anmatyerr C8.1) and Lower Arrernte C29. See also Arrernte C8, Pertame C46; Lower Arrernte C29; Ayerrerenge G12; Antekerrepenhe C12 and Akarre C28.

  • Koch, Harold. 2004. The Arandic subgroup of Australian languages. In Australian languages: classification and the comparative method, eds Claire Bowern and Harold Koch, 127-150. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Henderson, John. 2013. Topics in eastern and central Arrernte grammar. Muenchen : LINCOM Europa.
  • Turpin, Myfany, 2000. A learner's guide to Kaytetye. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
  • Turpin, Myfany and Alison Ross. 2012. Kaytetye to English dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

... approximately 300 kilometres to the north of Alice Springs. Its border to the south is near Stirling Station and to the north, the Devil's Marbles (Karlwe-karlwe). The main communities where Kaytetye is spoken are Artarre (Neutral Junction), Ilewarr (Stirling), Alekarenge (Ali Curung), Ankweleyelengkwe outstation, Barrow Creek and Mwengkart (McLaren Creek). There are also some speakers in neighbouring communities, Tennant Creek and in Alice Springs (Turpin 2000:2). West to Hanson River, East to Davenport Range, South to Stirling Swamp, and north to Devils Marble (Grace Koch 2008 p.c.).

Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Birniridjara (A25 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


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

Gaididj (AC,Elkin,AIAS), Kaiditj (Hale), Kaititj (SAW,O'G,BA,T,RLS), Kaitish (Gillen,Ingamells), Kaytej (Koch 1981), Keytetye (Koch)

Classification of the language:

Aranda Group, Artuya subgroup.

Identification codes:

Oates '73: 65

AIAS: C.013

Capell: C10

Present number and distribution of speakers:

Barrow Creek, Neutral Junction, Warrabri, Murray Downs, Stirling, Tea Tree, Tennant Creek

Milliken, 1972 -- 380

Black, 1979 -- 200-380

People who have worked intensively on the language:

Harold Koch, ANU.

Practical orthography:

Experimental (Koch and Wafer). Latest version replaces /ty/ by /j/. May be revised to eliminate apostrophe ' as mark of pre-stopping.

Word lists:

Hale, Koch.

Grammar or sketch grammar:

Wafer, based on Koch's notes.

Material available on the language:

See also references under "Aranda".

Boekel, Patricia. 1978. Kaititja spelling. (a collection of letters to and from her) Warrabri.

Capell, A. 1940. The classification of languages in north and north-west Australia. Oceania 10.3:241-272, 10.4:404-433. tabs. map. (brief comparative vocabularies)

---------- 1953. Notes on the Waramunga language, Central Australia. Oceania 23.4:296-311. (notes on Gaididj for comparison)

Gillen, F.J. Notes on some manners and customs of (Australian) Aborigines, 1894-98. 5v. Ms. folio notebooks. Sydney University. (comparative table of 200 words in 6 languages)

Hale, Kenneth L. 1959. Kaititj (Arandic) notes. 239p. ts.

---------- 197?. Arandic word list. 25p. mimeo. MIT.

---------- Kajtitji 1000 word list in practical orthography. 26p. ts. and ms.

Koch, Harold. 1976. Kaititj nominal inflexion: some comparative notes. 21p. ts. ANU.

---------- [1978]. Notes on Kaititj phonetics and phonology. 1p. ts. ANU.

---------- [1978]. Kaititj (Arandic, Central Australia) Word List, illustrating apical and laminal articulations. 2p. ts. ANU. (82 words in phonetic and phonological transcription, with

English gloss)

Wafer, James. 1978. A simple sketch of the Kaititj language from field notes by Harold Koch. 13p. ts. IAD.

---------- 1978. Report on visit to Warrabri school, 3rd term, 1978. 3p. xerox typescript. IAD.

Literacy material:

Experimental attempts: Warrabri, Neutral Junction.

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

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


3 volumes of 'A Kaytetye Language Resource' video tapes are available from Warlpiri Media Association (produced in 2001)

Adam Kendon, Harold Koch, Myfany Turpin, Papulu Apparr-Kari 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 Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Text Collection Small (20-100 pages) 2
Grammar Small grammar (100-200 pages) 3
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Turpin, Myfany. 2000. A learner's guide to Kaytetye. Alice Springs: IAD Press.


Koch, Harold. 1988. Machine readable files of "Kaytetye Texts" and "Kaytetye Dictionary", ASEDA 0020. Turpin, Amyfany and Ross, Alison. 2004. Kaytetye picture dictionary. Alice Springs: IAD Press.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) Pama-Nyungan Arandic   Kaytetye Kaytetye [dialects: Related to Alyawarr.]
Dixon (2002)   ARANDIC AREAL GROUP   Kaytetj (Kayteye) Kaytetj (Kayteye)
Wurm (1994) Pama-Nyungan Arandic   Kaititj  
Walsh (1981) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Artuya Kaititj  
Oates (1975) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Artuya Gaididj  
Wurm (1972) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Artuya Kaititj  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Pama-Nyungan Arandic Artuya Kaititj