C47: Western Arrarnta

AIATSIS code: 
AIATSIS reference name: 
Western Arrarnta


Thesaurus heading language
Thesaurus heading people
ABN name
Aranda language
ABS name
Horton name
Ethnologue name
Arrarnta, Western, Arrernte, Eastern
ISO 639-3 code
are, aer
Tindale name
Tindale (1974)
Aldolanga, Aldolinga (means easterners; a Kukatja name), Alitera (eastern dialect name), A'randa (valid alternative pronunciation), Aranta, Arinta (of Iliaura), Arranda, Arrinda, Arrundta, Arrunta, Arunda, Arunta, Arunta Ulpma, Herrinda, Ilpma, Jairunda (name as known by hearsay among Wirangu of south coast), Oiljpma (dialect name based on Ilpma name for Bond Springs), Paroola and Burrin-gah (based erroneously on Purula and Purunga two of the eight class terms of their social organization), Pitjapitja (Iliaura name also for Eastern Aranda), Pitjima (Iliaura name for Eastern Aranda), Ulpma, Urrundie, Ur-rundie, Waitjinga (horde of Southern Aranda at Macumba), Wonggaranda, Wongkatjeri (southerners east of lower Finke River), Wychinga
O'Grady et al (1966)
Other sources
Arrente [Broad 2008:172$6427] Arunta (Spencer & Gillen$5402), Arrarnte [Roennfeldt et al. 2005$4879]
Aranda, Tyuretye Arrernte, Western Aranda, Arrarnta, Western Aranta, Arinta, Arranda, Arrinda, Arrundta, Arrunta, Arunda, Arunndta, Arunta, Urrundie, Western Arrernte, Ur rundie, Arandic

Western Arrarnta is a member of the Arandic language C48 family. The establishment of a settlement in 1877 at Hermannsburg (called Ntaria by the locals) drew people from all around Central Australia. A few people came from Dieri L17 country to the south. Others migrated from Parta Tjurritja (the West MacDonnell Ranges) to the north. Quite a large number of Southern Arrarnta or Partaama C46 came to settle at Ntaria too, because their country is adjacent to the south of Western Arrarnta country. Some Luritja C4, C10 people visited, and a few settled down there. A few Pitjantjatjara C6 mingled and stayed. A few Northern Arrarnta and Anmatjirra C8.1 people also settled at Ntaria. (David Roennfeldt, p.c. 19th November 2015).

Wilkins provides a comprehensive overview of the Arandic languages. He describes Tyuretye Arrernte as the Hermannsberg dialect and Pertame C46 as a dialect of Western Arrernte (C47) (in Henderson 2013:12). Breen writes that the name Tyurretye Arrernte is also used for Western Arrernte (C47). It may be that Tyurretye Arrernte is the original Western' Arrernte, and that the distinct dialect now known as Western Arrernte arose from mixing of this dialect (i.e. Tyurretye) with Pertame C46 at Hermannsberg Mission in the early days of European contact (2001:64).

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

Previously, both AustLang and the Thesaurus did not distinguish all Arandic varieties. Consequently there may be items in the AIATSIS collection indexed with the 'Arrernte language C8' heading which may relate more specifically to Western Arrarnta (C47). This also applies to the data in Speakers, Documentation and Classification tabs in the database.


  • Breen, Gavan. 2001. The Wonders of Arandic phonology. In Simpson, Jane, David Nash, Mary Laughren, Peter Austin and Barry
  • Alpher eds. Forty years on: Ken Hale and Austalian languages: Pacific Linguistics 512. Canberra: Pacific Linguistics.
  • Henderson, John. 2013. Topics in eastern and central Arrernte grammar. Muenchen : LINCOM Europa,
  • Roennfeldt, David. 2006. Western Arrarnta picture dictionary. Alice Springs, N.T.:IAD Press.
State / Territory: 
Location information: 

Western Arrarnta country begins on the eastern boundary, at Jay Creek (Iwupathaka). From there the approximate boundary runs westward along the Heavitree Range. Mt Giles (Ltakarlipuka), Ormiston (Kwaarta Tuma), and Mt Sonder (Rrutjupma) are peaks in this range. The boundary includes the area of land close to the community of Mpangara, then it goes southward. The outstation Kulpitaarra is in Western Arrarnta country, as is the settlement of Areyonga. The southern boundary is near Ilamaarta, and runs through Irrpmangkara (Running Waters). It then runs towards the north east, back to Jay Creek. The communities of Wallace Rockhole and West Waterhouse are in Western Arrarnta country (David Roennfeldt with help from the community at Ntaria (Hermannsburg), pc November 2015 ).

Indigenous organisations: 

Western Arrarntaka Yia Aboriginal Corporation

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).

Manuscript note: 
Source Family Group Sub-group Name Language-dialect relationships
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