C22: Jingulu

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Djingili language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
ISO 639-3 code
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Tjingilli, Tjingali, Tjingalli, Chingalee, Chingalli, Tjingale, Tchingalee, Djingili, Djingali, Djinggili, Tjingilu, T(h)ingalie, Leechunguloo.
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Jingili, Djingili, Tjingilli, Jingulu [Top End Handbook] Chingalee (Power) Tjingilli (Spencer and Gillen 1904) [Basedow 1907:3]
Djingulu, Djingili, Jingili, Tjingili, Tjingilu, Tjinggili, Tjingilli, Tjingali, Tjingalli, Chingalee, Chingalli, Tjingale, Tchingalee, Djingali, Djinggili, Tingalie, Leechunguloo

Jingulu (C22) is non-Pama Nyungan language from the Barkly Tableland in the Northern Territory and classified as a member of the Eastern Mirndi group. The Mirndi languages are spread across two geographically non-contiguous areas: Eastern Mirndi, with Jingulu, Ngarnka N121 and 'Wambayan' (see Binbinka N138, Gudanji C26 and Wambaya C19); and Western Mirndi, with 'Jaminjungan' (see Jaminjung N18, Ngaliwurru N19) and Nungali N28 (Harvey, 2008:1-3).

Nordlinger describes the group located in the geographic west: Jaminjung N18, Naliwuru N19 and Nungali N28 and in the geographic east the 'West Barkly' set consisting of Jingili (C22) and the 'Eastern Group' of Ngarnga N121 and the McArthur language (aka 'Wambayan') (1998:4). This language has been referred to as 'Jingili'.

Pensalfini says that Jingili people speak Jingulu (C22) language (1997:17). Harvey says Jingulu is extremely endangered (2008:4).


  • Chadwick, Neil. 1989. The relationship of Jingulu and Jaminjungan. MS 2833.
  • Harvey, Mark. 2008. Proto Mirndi: a discontinuous language family in northern Australia. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Nordlinger, Rachel. 1998. A grammar of Wambaya, Northern Territory (Australia): Pacific Linguistics C-140. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics
  • Pensalfini, Robert. 1997. Jingulu grammar, dictionary and texts. PhD thesis, MIT. MS 4011.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

... the area immediately east of Lake Woods and along Newcastle Creek, and now at the town of Elliott, in the western Barkly Tablelands of the Northern Territory (Pensalfini 2001).

The area of Daly Waters in the north to just wouth of Powell Creek in the south, from west of Lake Woods to almost as far east as Anthony's Lagoon station and the sources of Newcastle Creek (Pensalfini 2003).

Jingulu and Mudburra have mingled in the vicinity of Newcastle Waters and the area of overlap is generally west of the Stuart Highway. The Daly Waters area is in Jingulu country (Avery in Sutton 1995:104). Beginning at the southern end of this 80 km stretch of country, all ten precisely mapped sites west of the Stuart Highway and south of Elliott were identified as Jingili places. As we proceeded north from there, also keeping west of the Stuart Highway, we mapped seven named places along the main Newcastle Waters waterbody, locally known as Longreach Waterhole. North of there, continuing along the western side of the Stuart Highway, nine more places were identified as Jingili, but as we moved north they were increasingly missed with sites of dual Mudburra/Jingili identity, particularly along Newcastle Creek and Bucket Creek (Sutton 1995:106).

Eastward limit: Ucharonidge homestead was associated with Jingulu. Eva Downs homestead was associated with Wambaya. the area around Mundah Waterhole and Mungabroom waterhole was the changeover area from Jingulu to Ngarnka. Northward limit: Daly Waters was associated with Jingulu. Maryfield homestead was not associated with Jingulu. Westward limit: The drainages of Newcastle Creek and Daly Waters Creek. Southward limit: Powell Creek was associated with Jingulu. Renner Springs and Mt Grayling were not associated with Jingulu (Harvey AILEC 0802).


Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981): 

Mangula (A23 ) in Sourcebook for Central Australian Languages (1981).


Names of the language and different spellings that have been used:
Chingalee (R.H.Mathews), Chingalli (RLS), Chingilli (RLS), Jingilu (Chadwick & Ulamari), Djingili (AC,SAW,AIAS,Hale,Chadwick), Tjingili (T), Tjingilu (O'G,RLS), Tyingilu (Hale)
Classification of the language:
Djingiluan (Jingiluan) Family, Djingilic group
Identification codes:
Oates '73: 29
AIAS: C.022
Capell: C9
Present number and distribution of speakers:
Elliott, Newcastle Waters, Beetaloo
Milliken, 1972 -- 179
Black, 1979 -- 50, maybe 15-30 fluent
Chadwick, 1979 -- about 20 with some knowledge
People who have worked intensively on the language:
Chadwick continues study of the Barkly languages.
Ulamari (SAL) may be continuing.
Practical orthography:
None established.
Word lists:
Hale, 1966; Chadwick, 1975
Grammar or sketch grammar:
Chadwick, 1975, 1980.
Material available on the language:
Busby, P.A. 1979. A Classificatory Study of Phonemic Systems in Australian Aboriginal Languages. xii+239p. bibl. diags. maps. tbls. M.A. thesis, A.N.U. (Part I to appear in Pacific
Linguistics.) (uses Ken Hale's Jingilu recordings)
Capell, A. 1952. The Wailbri through their own eyes. Oceania 23.2:110-132. (brief comparative vocabulary in 6 languages)
---------- 1953. Notes on the Waramunga language, Central Australia. Oceania 23.4:296-311. (comparative notes on Djingili)
---------- 1962. Waljbiri grammar, p.15-50 in Some Linguistic Types in Australia. Handbook of Australian Languages, Part II. Oceania Linguistic Monographs No. 7. Sydney: University of
Sydney. (reprints Capell, 1952)
Chadwick, Neil. 1968. A descriptive study of the Djingili language. 321p. ts. M.A. thesis, Monash University. (phonology, grammar, over 1200 word vocabulary) (revised as Chadwick, 1975)
---------- 1968. Djingili (North Australia) in a comparative perspective. Oceania 38.3:220-228. (vocabulary of 34 words compared with common Australian)
---------- 1972. Mathew's Chingalee vocabulary: appraisal and comments. Oceania 42.4:276-282. (commentary on Mathews, 1901)
---------- 1975. (Basic data (morpho-syntactic) analysis: Djingili, Wambaya, Gudandji, Binbinga and Ngarnga). 48p. ms. Canberra.
---------- 1975. A descriptive study of the Djingili language. xiii+130p. bibl. diags. map. tbls. Regional and Research Studies No. 2. AIAS. (revised version of Chadwick, 1968)
---------- 1978. The West Barkly languages: complex morphology. xii+418p. bibl. maps. Ph.D. thesis, Monash University, Melbourne.
---------- 1979. The West Barkly languages: an outline sketch, pp.653-711 in Australian Linguistic Studies, ed. by S.A. Wurm Pacific Linguistics C.54.
---------- & Harold Ulamari. 1979. Experimental orthography for Jingilu. 4+1p. ts. Batchelor & Newcastle Waters. SAL. (NOT TO BE QUOTED)
Gillen, F.J. 1894-98. Notes on some manners and customs of (Australian) Aborigines, 1894-98. 5vol. ms. folio notebooks. Sydney University. (comparative table of 200 words, English-Arunta, Kaitish, Waramangu, Chingili, Umbaia, Gnanji).
Hale, Kenneth L. 1959-60. Mutpurra and Tyingilu field notes. 27p. ms., ts. (pMs 3034, AIAS)
---------- 1960. Djingili field notes. ms., ts. (Ms 869, AIAS)
---------- 1966. Barkly word list. 7p. mimeo. Dept. of Anthropology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona. (15 March 1966)(113 words in 4 languages)
Heath, Jeffrey. 1975. Djingili field notes. ms. (Ms 1180, AIAS)
Mathews, R.H. 1901. Ethnological notes on the Aboriginal tribes of the Northern Territory. Queensland Geographical Journal 16:69-90. (vocabulary and totemism of the Chingalee tribe; see Chadwick, 1972)
Sutton, Peter. 1975. Australia: many languages, not just dialects. 10p. (p 12723, AIAS)
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.

Adam Kendon, Robert Pensalfini, Katherine Regional Aboriginal Language Centre, 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 Medium (100-200 pages) 3
Grammar Large grammar (more than 200 pages) 4
Audio-visual More than 10 3
Manuscript note: 
tape transcription/field note available

Pensalfini, Robert. 2003. A grammar of Jingulu: an Aboriginal language of the Northern Territory: Pacific Linguistics 536. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.


Pensalfini, Robert. 1996. Jingulu-English English-Jingulu draft dictionary, ms. Pensalfini, Robert. 2011. Jingulu texts and dictionary. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.

Source Family Group Sub-group Name Relationship
Ethnologue (2005) West Barkly     Djingili  
Dixon (2002)   MINDI SUBGROUP East Mindi subgroup* Djingulu Djingulu (of Djingili people) Pensalfini (1997)
Wurm (1994) Djingili-Wambayan Djingili   Djingili  
Walsh (1981) Djingili-Wambayan Djingilic   Djingili  
Oates (1975) Djingili-Wambayan Djingilic   Djingili  
Wurm (1972) Djingili-Wambayan Djingilic   Djingili  
O'Grady, Voegelin and Voegelin (1966) Tjingiluan     Tjingilu